By arming yourself with what you need to know before you have cataract surgery, you make the entire process easy and achieve runaway success.
With proper preparation, you can ease through a cataract operation with least amount of hassle.
In its simplest form, a cataract is an eye condition that clouds up the lens in your eye, causing you to have blurry vision that is not correctable with contact lenses. It is common in senior citizens but can happen to just about anyone. Studies show that by the time they get to 80 years, more than half of Americans undergo surgery to remove cataracts. Cataracts are clumps of protein that occlude as a small area of the lens that grows with time, making it harder to see as you age. Scientists concur that the condition results from the regular wear and tear in the eye, but diabetes and smoking could also cause the condition. The lens in your eye is comprised of water and proteins, so when the protein clumps up, it lowers the amount of light getting into the eye, leading to blurry vision. As the size of the cluster grows, you start experiencing greater challenges with your eyesight. Left to fester for long, cataracts might render you legally blind. Over time, the lens might acquire a brownish or yellowish tinge, making it difficult to identify certain colors such as purples and blues. Consulting a specialist equips you with all you need to know before you have cataract surgery.
Not all instances of cataracts call for surgery, as you may not even notice changes in your eyesight, especially if you’re using prescription glasses. So identifying the signs is part of what you need to know before you have cataract surgery. If you begin experiencing a blurry, dim yellow or double vision that makes it hard to read or use a computer and are unable to withstand light glares, you need to seek medical attention. At this stage, you have a hard time driving at night since you have poor night vision. If you take your driver’s test with advanced cataracts, you are likely to fail the vision part. At this stage, you are sensitive to bright lights and the sun’s glare in addition to seeing a halo around any bright lights. You might even hate the idea of spending time outdoors. At this stage, you need a surgical intervention to restore your eyesight and improve your health and wellbeing.
There are different types of cataracts, and consulting an eye specialist helps to determine the problem and furnishes you with information you need to know before you have cataract surgery. Secondary cataracts develop after a surgical procedure to treat a different problem such as glaucoma or in people with medical conditions such as diabetes. Sometimes they are linked to the use of steroids. Traumatic cataracts often result from an eye injury, sometimes long after the injuries occur while radiation cataract occurs after exposure to certain types of radiation. Some babies are born with congenital cataracts while others contract it during childhood, often in both eyes. Visual acuity test and dilated eye exam are some of the methods that a doctor will use to determine the presence of a cataract in your eyes. In some instances, they will use a tonometry to measure the pressure inside the eyeball and learn about the health and structure of your eye. After they determine the type and extent of the eye condition, the eye specialist then proceeds to recommend a surgical procedure to remove the offending clump.
You are better off getting cataract treatment soonest possible since it results in a remarkable improvement in your eyesight. However, you should not rush to make a decision as a matter of emergency. Delaying does not result in long-term damage to your eyes or complicate the surgical procedure. Therefore, have the surgery at your most convenient time. You cannot have the procedure done on both eyes at the same time. Rather, each eye is treated separately with a time difference of about four weeks. Typically, you should not eat any food within 12 hours of going in for cataract treatment.
Cataract surgery often lasts from 30 minutes to an hour, while uncomplicated surgeries can last about 10 minutes. As long as you are in good health and do not have other eye problems, the surgery should be relatively quick and easy. The doctors numb your eye with local anesthesia to eliminate any pain, but you will be awake during the entire process. If necessary, they can give you a sedative to help you keep calm. The surgeon makes a small incision in the eye, breaks the cataract, and suctions it out before inserting a new lens made of silicone, plastic or acrylic, and then closes the incision. Given the simplistic nature of the procedure, an overnight stay the hospital is not necessary. After the outpatient procedure, you need someone to drive you home from the hospital. If you need surgery in both eyes, the doctor will schedule your next appointment while giving the first one time to heal.
Your eye might be sore or itchy for a few days following the cataract treatment and may even have a fluid discharge. The doctor will prescribe some eye drops that will prevent an infection. You should take a few days off to let the eye heal properly. Do not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery, bend over to lift heavy things or engage in any activity that would put pressure on the eye. For the first week, you should use an eye shield when sleeping to protect the eye. The entire healing process lasts up to eight weeks, after which 90 percent of the patients usually report an improvement in their eyesight. Despite the cataract treatment, you should not neglect your contact lenses if you suffer from shortsightedness.
What you need to know before you have cataract surgery should include potential problems after the fact. In case your eye gets an infection or swells or starts to bleed, you should consult a doctor right away. The same case applies should the new implant come loose, you have pressure build up in the eye or the retina detaches. Do not hesitate to call the doctor should you have a fluid build-up inside the eye or if your eyelid starts to droop.
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