Cataract extraction surgery: All you need to know

Just In

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Cataract extraction surgery removes the natural lens of the eye, which may have become cloudy or opaque. This cloudy or opaque lens is known as a cataract. During this procedure, the cloudy lens is replaced. It is then replaced with an artificial lens. This artificial lens is known as an intraocular lens (IOL). The primary goal of this replacement is to effectively restore clear vision.

Typically, surgeons perform the surgery on an outpatient basis and make a small incision in the eye to access the cataract. A surgeon uses a special device to break up the cloudy lens into small pieces. They then remove them from the eyes using suction. Once they remove the cataract, they insert the IOL into the eye through the same small incision. Cataract surgery is a common and relatively safe procedure that can be performed with local anaesthesia. It typically takes less than 30 minutes, and patients can usually return home the same day. After the surgery, patients may need to use eye drops and take other precautions to prevent infection and ensure proper healing.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye, which is normally clear and transparent. The lens is located behind the iris, the coloured part of the eye, and helps to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye. When the lens becomes cloudy, it can cause blurred vision, glare, halos around lights, and difficulty seeing in dim light. Cataracts are a natural part of ageing, but they can also develop due to injury, certain medications, and medical conditions such as diabetes.

Cataracts are a progressive condition and cannot be reversed or cured without surgical intervention. However, certain lifestyle changes and measures can help slow down the progression of cataracts and delay the need for surgery. These measures include:

  • Wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants
  • Managing other health conditions such as diabetes avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption,
  • Getting regular eye exams to monitor the progression of the cataract.

These measures may slow down the cataract progression. However, they cannot stop or reverse the condition. Once cataracts have developed, these measures are no longer effective. Once the cataract has significantly affected the patient’s vision and quality of life, cataract surgery is the most effective and only option for restoring clear vision.

Are there alternatives to cataract surgery?

Some non-surgical treatments, such as wearing prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, may help improve vision in the early stages of cataracts. However, as it progresses, surgery is the only effective treatment. There are no alternative treatments that can cure or reverse the condition. If a patient is not a candidate for surgery due to other medical conditions or complications, the ophthalmologist may recommend other treatments like anti-glare glasses or magnifying lenses to manage the symptoms. However, these treatments do not address the underlying cataract and may provide only temporary relief. Patients should discuss their options with an ophthalmologist. Doing so can help them make an informed decision about their treatment. It is important to weigh the potential risks and benefits of cataract surgery before making a decision.

If cataract surgery is not performed in a timely manner, the cataract can progress and lead to a number of vision problems that can affect a person’s quality of life. Some of the risks associated with delaying cataract surgery include:

Difficulty performing daily activities

As the cataract progresses, it can make it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities.

Increased risk of falls and accidents

Cataracts can cause blurred or double vision, which can increase the risk of falls and accidents, particularly in older adults.

Reduced quality of life

Cataracts can significantly affect a person’s quality of life, leading to decreased social interaction, depression, and feelings of isolation.

Secondary cataract:

In some cases, a secondary cataract can develop after cataract surgery if the capsule that holds the new lens in place becomes cloudy. Delaying cataract surgery can increase the risk of developing a secondary cataract.

Increased surgical risks

If the cataract is allowed to progress and become more advanced, the surgical risks associated with cataract surgery may increase.

Delaying surgery may be appropriate in certain cases. However, it is generally recommended to undergo cataract surgery as soon as the cataract begins to significantly affect vision and quality of life.

How does diabetes complicate cataract extraction surgery?

Diabetes can affect cataract surgery in several ways. Patients with diabetes have an increased risk of developing cataracts. They may also experience a higher risk of complications during and after cataract surgery. Some of the ways in which diabetes can affect cataract surgery include:

  • Delayed healing: Patients with diabetes may have a slower healing process after surgery, which can increase the risk of complications such as infection or inflammation.
  • Increased risk of infection: Diabetes can weaken the immune system, making patients more susceptible to infections after surgery.
  • Increased risk of retinal detachment: Diabetes can increase the risk of retinal detachment. This is a serious complication that can occur after cataract surgery.
  • Increased risk of glaucoma: Diabetes can also increase the risk of developing glaucoma. It is a condition that can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss.
  • Difficulties in controlling blood sugar levels: Patients with diabetes may have difficulties in controlling their blood sugar levels during and after surgery. It can affect the healing process and increase the risk of complications.

Patients with diabetes who are planning to undergo cataract surgery should discuss their condition with their ophthalmologist and primary care physician. The ophthalmologist may recommend additional preoperative testing, such as a dilated eye exam, to assess the health of the eyes and minimize the risk of complications. Patients with diabetes should also closely monitor their blood sugar levels before and after surgery, follow their doctor’s instructions for postoperative care, and attend all scheduled follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and monitor for any potential complications.

How to prepare for a cataract removal surgery?

It is important for patients to follow all preoperative instructions provided by the ophthalmologist and to notify the surgeon of any changes in their health or medications leading up to the surgery. By following these steps, patients can help ensure a safe and successful cataract surgery.

Preparing for cataract surgery involves several steps, including:

Consultation with an ophthalmologist

The first step in preparing for cataract surgery is to consult with an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will evaluate the patient’s overall health and the severity of the cataract to determine if surgery is necessary and if the patient is a good candidate for the procedure.

Medical history review

The ophthalmologist will review the patient’s medical history, including medications, allergies, or underlying medical conditions that may affect the surgery.

Preoperative testing

The ophthalmologist may order additional testing such as a dilated eye exam or blood tests, to evaluate the health of the eyes and ensure that the patient is in good overall health for surgery.

Medication adjustments

The ophthalmologist may recommend adjusting or discontinuing certain medications before surgery, particularly blood thinners or medications that can affect blood sugar levels.

Fasting

Doctors typically instruct patients to fast for several hours before surgery, usually starting at midnight the night before the procedure.

Transportation arrangements

Patients should arrange for transportation to and from the surgical centre, as they will not be able to drive themselves after the procedure.

Preoperative instructions

The ophthalmologist will provide detailed instructions for preparing for surgery, including what to expect during the procedure, how to care for the eyes after surgery, and when to attend follow-up appointments.

Diabetic patients who are preparing for cataract removal surgery need to take special precautions to ensure a successful outcome. Here are some tips to help diabetic patients prepare for cataract surgery:

  1. Control blood sugar levels:

Patients with diabetes should work with their healthcare provider to ensure well-controlled blood sugar levels before the surgery. High blood sugar levels can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of complications.

  1. Inform the surgeon:

Patients should inform their surgeon of their diabetes status and provide a list of all their medications, including insulin and any other diabetes medications. The surgeon may need to adjust the patient’s medications before or after the surgery.

  1. Manage medications:

Patients who take blood thinners, such as aspirin, should consult with their healthcare provider to determine if they need to temporarily stop taking these medications prior to surgery.

Pre-operative preparedness is crucial for patients undergoing cataract surgery because it helps to ensure the procedure is successful and the patient has a smooth recovery. For diabetic patients, pre-operative preparedness is even more critical to ensure a safe and successful cataract surgery.

What is the recovery schedule like after a cataract surgery?

Recovery from cataract surgery typically involves a few weeks of postoperative care to allow the eyes to heal. Here are some of the general steps involved in the recovery process:

Rest and recovery

After cataract surgery, patients will be monitored in a recovery area for a short period before being discharged to go home. Patients should plan to rest and avoid strenuous activities for the first few days after surgery.

Eye drops

Patients will be prescribed eye drops to prevent infection and reduce inflammation, and they will be instructed on how and when to use them. Eye drops are typically used for several weeks after surgery.

Follow-up appointments

Ophthalmologists will schedule the patients for follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process and ensure that there are no complications. These appointments are typically scheduled for a day or two after the surgery, one week after the surgery, and several weeks after the surgery.

Avoiding certain activities

Patients should avoid activities that can increase the risk of infection or cause injury to the eye, such as swimming, using hot tubs or saunas, or rubbing the eyes.

Using eye protection

Doctors may instruct patients to wear a protective eye shield or glasses to prevent injury or to avoid rubbing the eyes while sleeping.

Vision improvement

In most cases, patients will notice an improvement in their vision within a few days after surgery. However, it may take several weeks for the vision to stabilize fully.

Overall, recovery from cataract surgery is generally quick and uncomplicated. However, in addition to the above, it is important to follow certain precautions during the recovery period.

What are the things to avoid after a cataract surgery?

Here is a list of things to not do immediately after you should not do immediately after cataract surgery.

Do not touch or rub your eye

Avoid touching or rubbing your eye, even if it feels itchy or uncomfortable. This can cause irritation, infection, or damage to the healing incision.

Do not drive

You must not drive yourself home after surgery as the anaesthesia and sedatives used during the procedure can impair your vision and reaction time.

Bending or lifting heavy objects is a NO!

Avoid bending or lifting heavy objects for several days after surgery, as this can increase pressure in the eye and cause bleeding or other complications.

Do not participate in strenuous activities

Avoid activities such as jogging, swimming, and heavy exercise for several weeks after surgery, as these activities can increase pressure in the eye and affect the healing process.

No eye makeup

Do not wear eye makeup for at least a week after surgery, as it can cause infection or irritation.

Do not expose your eye to water

Avoid exposing your eye to water, such as taking a shower or swimming, for at least a week after surgery to prevent infection.

Do not skip follow-up appointments

It is important to attend all follow-up appointments with your eye doctor to ensure that your eye is healing properly and to monitor any potential complications.

By following these precautions and any other instructions provided by your doctor, you can help ensure a successful recovery after cataract surgery. Follow your doctor’s instructions for postoperative care to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is generally considered a minor surgery, as surgeons typically perform it as an outpatient procedure. This procedure does not require general anaesthesia. The surgery is usually performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs the eye, and the patient can return home the same day. The procedure involves making a small incision in the eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens. The surgery typically takes less than 30 minutes with minimal pain and discomfort. While all surgeries carry some degree of risk, cataract surgery is a relatively safe and effective procedure with a high success rate. Overall, cataract surgery is a common and routine procedure that can significantly improve a patient’s vision and quality of life.

But still, as with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. Some of the possible risks of cataract surgery include:

Infection

There is a small risk of infection after cataract surgery, which can lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Bleeding

Some bleeding can occur during or after surgery, which can increase the risk of infection or other complications.

Swelling

Swelling of the eye or the surrounding tissues can occur after surgery, which can affect the healing process.

Retinal detachment

In rare cases, cataract surgery can increase the risk of retinal detachment, which can cause vision loss.

Glaucoma

Cataract surgery can increase the risk of developing glaucoma, a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss.

Vision loss

While rare, cataract surgery can lead to permanent vision loss due to complications such as infection or bleeding.

It is important to understand that some of the above risks like vision loss are uncommon unless the surgery is performed in an unhygienic condition or without the necessary skills and medicine. Hence, always find an experienced ophthalmologist and discuss these risks with their ophthalmologist before deciding to undergo cataract surgery. The ophthalmologist will evaluate the patient’s overall health and the severity of the cataract to determine the best course of treatment and minimize the risks of complications.

What to ask your doctor before a cataract surgery?

If you are scheduled to undergo cataract surgery, it is important to talk to your doctor and ask any questions you may have. Here are some questions you can ask your doctor before cataract surgery:

  • What type of cataract surgery will I have, and what are the benefits and risks of this procedure?
  • What are the possible complications of cataract surgery, and how are they treated?
  • What should I expect before, during, and after surgery?
  • What type of anaesthesia will I receive, and how will it affect me?
  • How long will the surgery take, and when will I be able to go home?
  • What type of follow-up care will I need, and how long will it take for my vision to improve?
  • Are there any restrictions or precautions I need to take before or after surgery?
  • Can I continue taking my current medications before and after surgery, or do I need to make any changes?
  • What is the expected outcome of the surgery, and will I need any additional treatments for my vision after surgery?
  • Are there any special considerations for my specific medical history or conditions?

It is important to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have about the procedure. Your doctor can help you understand the process and what to expect, which can help you feel more prepared and comfortable with the surgery.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

History
First published on:

More in

Questions
Fact Check
Interviews
Stories
Videos

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

More in

Questions
Fact Check
Interviews
Stories
Videos

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

- Advertisement -spot_img
Team THIP
Team THIP
This is a group author account of THIP Media's editorial team. The team consists of experienced editorial and medical professionals. The team members can be https://www.thip.media/team/
Read More