Guide to cataract eye surgery

One of the most common degenerative eye conditions is cataracts. Cataracts in the eyes are nothing more than opacities in the lens, which in most cases is transparent.

The result is that people who have cataracts, when seeing through opaque lenses, have blurred, unclear vision. This generates difficulty in many daily tasks from reading to driving.

These appear progressively, slowly, until reaching a point where their symptoms lead them to go from wearing glasses to alleviate some of their symptoms to considering cataract surgery. This safe, fast and effective surgery manages to alleviate the effects of cataracts in the eyes.

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Symptoms of cataracts in the eyes

In most cases, cataracts in the eyes arise due to degenerative factors, due to aging. The fibers of the lens begin to break down and generate cloudy vision. It is not the only one, since this degeneration can also be caused by genetic causes.

Either way, the effects are the same. The lens, located behind the iris, is responsible for focusing light and ensuring that images reach the retina. Therefore, the symptoms are progressive. As the cataract develops, cloudy vision and opacity increase.

It usually occurs in both eyes, but they do not always do so at the same rate, this causes differences in vision that must be evaluated at the time of the operation.

Therefore, the main symptoms of cataracts in the eyes are the following:

  • cloudy vision.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Increased night vision difficulty.
  • Need for help, such as brighter light, when doing activities such as reading.

As the cataract increases, the distortion of light is greater and the symptoms of the cataract are more important and visible. 

How is the vision with cataracts in the eyes?

As we have anticipated, a cataract is a crystalline lens that, as it degenerates, becomes thicker, more rigid, and less transparent.

All this generates not only a blurry vision that causes vision problems in activities such as reading but also, which is especially risky for some activities, a greater sensitivity to light.

This entails an increasing difficulty for day-to-day, which leads to the use of glasses ending up barely correcting this problem and that a cataract operation is sought to solve it.

Cataract eye surgery

Cataract surgery is considered when they affect your quality of life. It is no longer just about having greater difficulty but in many cases preventing certain activities such as driving.

For this reason, the urgency of the cataract operation is given by how it conditions day to day, although it must be taken into account that cataracts are progressive, and in some cases, such as when you have diabetes or high blood pressure, the worsening can Be faster.

One of its clear advantages is that the cataract operation is performed on an outpatient basis in most cases. Its procedure is simple:

  1. The surgeon will use a few drops to dilate the pupil.
  2. Local anesthesia is applied to numb this area.
  3. The cloudy lens is removed.
  4. The artificial lens is implanted, usually flexible so that the incision is smaller.

There are different methods to do it, generally, phacoemulsification by which the cataract is “broken” through a probe and the pieces are extracted, or extracapsular extraction. In the latter, an incision is made and the entire lens is removed.

After extracting the cataract by one method or another, the artificial lens is implanted in the empty lens capsule.

Frequently asked questions about cataract surgery

Although it is a simple operation, it is also very common and raises doubts, especially since it affects an area as delicate as the eyes. These are the most common.

What does it consist of and preoperative?

The preoperative, although simple, has two parts, the preparation for the operation itself, especially the choice of lens, and that of the patient.

In preparation for the operation, an ultrasound of the eye may be done a few weeks before to prepare for the surgery.

In addition to that, the key point is in the choice of the lens, since there are different varieties. These are made of plastic or silicone, flexible if possible so that their placement is simple, but they differ in their characteristics. So we can find these types of lenses:

  • Monofocal: it only has one point of focus for far vision, so glasses must be used to see up close.
  • Accommodative monofocal: maintains that it only has one point of focus, but responds to the eye muscles, which allows the focus to be changed to distant and near objects.
  • Multifocal: its operation is similar to progressive glasses, with different focus points that allow you to see at short, medium, and long distances.

In addition to all this, the surgeon may recommend that you do not eat or drink for about 12 hours before surgery and that you discontinue the use of medications that may increase the risk of bleeding.

The use of antibiotic drops a few days before surgery is also very common with insurance.

Is it painful?

The cataract operation is not painful, it is performed under anesthesia that is generally local.

While the operation is being carried out, you can feel pressure, but never pain.

How long does it last?

Cataract surgery is very fast, and its duration is 15 to 20 minutes if the phacoemulsification technique is used, it is the most common.

It is an outpatient operation in the vast majority of cases, hospital admission is not necessary and after it, you return home to recover.

How is the postoperative period and how many days off do I need?

After the operation, certain care must be taken, such as not driving or performing dangerous activities. It is also common to avoid bending over or lifting weights for the next 5-7 days.

It is also important during the cataract postoperative period to avoid rubbing your eyes in the first few days.

In those first days, it is common to feel itching and small discomforts that usually disappear after two or three days.

The ophthalmologist will monitor the postoperative process of cataracts with periodic visits in which he will verify that the eye is healing. At that time she may indicate the use of drops to prevent infection, reduce inflammation, or reduce eye strain.

When does it look good?

The recovery of vision depends on each patient, it is generally blurry at the start, it improves after a few days, and about a week, when the eye “adjusts” it will have completely recovered.

Sometimes you can feel eye roughness due to greater dryness, but these discomforts usually disappear with the passing of days. Increased sensitivity to light is also common. 

Total recovery depends on the patient, but in the most extreme cases, it does not take a few weeks.

What happens if you don’t have cataract surgery?

Waiting to undergo surgery does not pose a greater risk to the eye, but spending more time with the limitations of cataracts in the eyes.

If the vision is good you can estera. If it is important that if both eyes are operated on, leave a time between operations for correct recovery of each one.

Cataracts with eye meds are very common, and cataract surgery is simple and with minimal risks. If you know someone who is going to have surgery, you can share this post.

Information and medical advice will always lead to the best results.

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