What can I expect after my cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery has a success rate of 98%, with 99.5% of patients experiencing no severe complications after surgery. Due to its high success rate, and the fact that it is one of the safest surgical options available, cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed operations in the nation. In fact, significant vision improvement through this procedure is seen by over 3 million people each year in the United States.
Patients are able to return home immediately after the procedure. This is, of course, not without detailed eye care instructions provided by their doctor. During the first week post-surgery, it is typically recommended to limit activities such as bending or heavy lifting. However, light activities such as walking, ascending stairs, and light chores can still be easily performed.
It is normal to experience mild discomfort, itching, light sensitivity, and mild discharge the days following surgery. In order to avoid the temptation of itching or rubbing the eye, your doctor may suggest you wear an eye patch the day of the surgery until discomfort subsides. Medication in the form of eye drops may be prescribed not only to prevent inflammation and infection, but also to control eye pressure. Any discomfort experienced will subside within a few days, with complete healing occurring in 8 weeks. During this healing period, you will meet with your doctor and optometrist multiple times in order to monitor your eye health and vision.
Although the time it takes to adjust to the multifocal lenses may vary between patients, the majority of patients experience improved vision one day after surgery. However, if patients experience worsening vision, it is due to a complication called posterior capsule opacification (PCO). This occurs when the part of the lens that holds the artificial lens in place thickens and becomes cloudy. While PCO is a fairly common complication, it can be treated within 5 minutes using a laser procedure called yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy. This laser treatment is effective by creating an opening in the clouded capsule in order to allow light to pass through. This simple procedure will resolve the issue, allowing patients to experience the full effect of the cataract surgery. Further complications due to cataract surgery are very rare.
Nine out of 10 individuals who have undergone this surgery regain vision between 20/20 and 20/40. In order to experience optimal vision, contact lenses or glasses may be paired with surgical results.The effects of cataract surgery are permanent.