What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the supposedly clear lens of the eye. The opacity of the lens blurs and scatters light that normally focuses on the retina, resulting in decreased vision. In general, the most common cause of cataracts is natural aging, and the incidence of cataracts increases with age. But it can also occur at a younger age, if the patient has familial inheritance, or has had previous eye injuries or eye surgery.

How do I know if I need cataract surgery?

Usually, patients decide whether to undergo cataract surgery according to their vision conditions and the impact of cataracts on daily life. The patient’s vision may begin to interfere with normal daily activities, such as driving, watching TV, and using a computer. The power of the patient’s glasses changes over a short period and vision cannot be corrected to 1.0 (100%) with glasses.

The previous concept is to wait until the visual acuity drops to 0.1 (10%) before surgery because the previous technology is backward, but now because the minimally invasive phacoemulsification technology is used, as long as the visual acuity drops to 0.8 (80%), surgery can be performed. Cataract surgery can be performed earlier for patients with glaucoma, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. Your eye specialist will discuss your symptoms and the need for surgery.

What is the procedure for cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is usually a same-day operation performed in the hospital. The surgery is performed under local anesthesia. Because the patient will not be able to drive after the surgery, it is important to arrange transportation for transportation on the day of the surgery.

The procedure involves phacoemulsification of the cataract (cloudy lens) through a small, minimally invasive incision, which is then replaced with a clear acrylic lens implant. Lens implants are permanent and do not need to be replaced. The surgery takes 10-20 minutes. Minimally invasive incisions are usually so small that sutures are not even required.

Cataract surgery is not painful under local anesthesia, but the patient may experience pressure in the eye during the procedure. To ensure that the surgical area is clean, the patient’s face and another eye will be covered with sterile hoods, but the nose and mouth will be able to breathe normally with fresh air. Doctors use special instruments to keep the eye that needs surgery open, so patients don’t have to worry about keeping their eyes open for long periods. It is important to remember not to move suddenly during the procedure.

Usually, due to local anesthesia, some patients only see a blue or purple ring light during surgery. The doctor will discuss how to communicate with the patient during the operation. The patient can choose to hold the nurse’s hand. If there is any special situation that needs to be communicated with the doctor, you can squeeze the nurse’s hand. Of course, if the patient feels the need to cough or sneeze, please tell the doctor or nurse ahead of time, but be careful not to move your head by yourself, but be careful not to move your head by yourself until your doctor’s permission.

When is it safe to drive after cataract surgery?

It depends on many factors, including the vision of the patient’s other eye. It is best to ask your doctor before surgery as he/she can answer questions based on your situation. Usually, doctors recommend not driving for 5 days.

Do I need to wear glasses after surgery?

In most cases, intraocular lenses are implanted to provide good distance vision, but reading glasses are commonly required for near viewing. Within 4 to 6 weeks after cataract surgery in both eyes, patients will need to have their vision re-examined and replaced with new glasses.

If the patient is very unwilling to wear glasses after cataract surgery, the ophthalmologist can advise and offer the patient different options including multifocal or extended distance intraocular lenses or binocular vision.

Post-operative precautions

  • Do not rub or press on the eyes
  • To clean the eyelids, gently cleanse with a clean, moist facial cleanser while closing your eyes
  • Do not get soap or water in eyes
  • Do not wash your hair with shampoo for a week.
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors, preferably with side shields
  • Avoid dusty areas
  • Tape to sleep for a week and try not to sleep on the side of the surgery.
  • Do not drive for 5 days
  • Do not vacuum the room for 2 weeks after surgery
  • No swimming or hydrotherapy for 4 weeks after surgery
  • Avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for 4 weeks
  • Please bring eye drops to all appointments after surgery

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