How safe is cataract surgery? Modern cataract surgery is the most commonly performed type of surgery in the UK. Like all types of surgery, despite every effort, complications can rarely occur.
The risk of complications is significantly lower when your surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon. In the rare event that a complication does occur the long term effects of the complication can be minimised by appropriate management by an experienced surgeon. The risk of complications are as follows: This may be to re-position or insert an intraocular lens.
Occasionally the lens can't be placed in the eye at the time of initial surgery and requires a second operation to do so. This is called posterior capsular opacification. This can result in vision becoming blurry again. If this does occur it can be treated by a simple outpatient laser procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy. Is it better to have cataract surgery early The best time to have surgery is when the cataract is causing symptoms or your vision restricts your day to day lifestyle.
More energy is required to remove a very advanced cataract and some very advanced cases may not be amenable to small incision surgery, requiring a larger incision and stitches. Having said that most patients in the UK have moderate cataracts and can have small incision cataract surgery.
How long does the surgery take? Modern cataract surgery is performed as day case surgery and takes minutes per eye.
Will I feel or see anything during the surgery? You will be given a local anaesthetic before your surgery to numb the surface of the eye. Mr Angunawela usually operates using anaesthetic drops. Injections are generally not required. The anaesthetist may also give you some sedation through a small needle in your arm. This is great if you are feeling anxious or worried as it will relax you during the surgery. During the surgery you will be staring at a bright light and you will not be able to see any instruments near your eye.
You may see shadows and some people describe rainbow like coloured lights. None of these are scary. Mr Angunawela will talk to you throughout the surgery to put you at ease.
Will my eye hurt after surgery? Your eye may feel a little sore after surgery. Patients often feel like they have an eyelash or grain of sand under their lid for a couple of days after surgery. Some patients feel no discomfort at all. Cataract surgery is not a painful operation and most patients will not experience any major discomfort. What will my eye feel like after cataract surgery? Severe pain after cataract surgery is rare. Most patients will minor discomfort.
Some patients experience this as a tight feeling or an itchy feeling. Some feel like there is a eyelash in the eye. Your eyes may be sensitive to bright light as the pupil which is dilated at the time of surgery may take a day or two to return to normal function.
Most of these symptoms settle within a few days. What will my eye look like after surgery? It is not unusual for the eye to be slightly red after surgery. You may notice little red areas next to the coloured parts of the eye after the surgery. If you take medications to thin the blood such as aspirin and warfarin, bruising is more common after surgery.
This does not in any way affect the success of the operation. Do I need to wear a dressing over my eye? Typically you'll have a clear plastic shield placed over your eye after the surgery. You will be able to see through this. You can take the shield off the day after the operation but you need to wear it at night only for days after surgery to prevent you touching or pressing your eyes whilst you sleep Q: How soon will I be able to see after the operations?
You'll be able to see immediately after surgery if you have had drop anaesthesia but your vision will be a little hazy. If you had an injection anaesthetic vision will return the next day.
Vision will continue to improve over the next hours Q: What will my vision be like in the week between the first and second eyes being operated on If you have a high prescription you may feel a little off balance after the first eye is operated on. One thing you can do is to remove your glasses lens on the side of the operated eye and only have a lens on the un-operated side.
Alternatively you may be able to manage without any glasses at all. If you are having a multifocal lens you will not enjoy the full benefit of the lens till the second eye is done. The week usually passes quickly and most patients manage without too much of a problem. What drops will I need to use after surgery?
You'll need to use 2 types of drops after surgery. An antibiotic drop which you'll use 4 times a day for 2 weeks, and a steroid drop, the frequency of which will vary dependent on race. Occasionally your drops may need to continue for longer. When can I go back to work after surgery? You should be able to return to work within weeks after surgery. If you work from home and simply use a computer you can resume work as soon as you feel comfortable to do so. When can I resume normal activities?
You can resume normal activities with some restriction within a few days of surgery. You can read and watch TV as soon as you feel comfortable to do so. You can bath and wash your hair as soon as you like as long as you do not get any water splashed into the operated eye. You can resume gentle exercise and stretching days after surgery if you wish. You can lift and bend after surgery. You can resume cooking day or two after surgery.
You can return to yoga and aerobic exercise a week or so after surgery if you wish to. You should avoid headstands, heavy lifting and swimming for 2 weeks after surgery. You can drive as soon as you feel comfortable and can read a number plate at You are ok to fly within 24 hours of your surgery if you need to.
When can I shower normally after cataract surgery? You can resume normal showering a week after cataract surgery. If water goes into the eye at this stage there is no need to panic. Avoid eye rubbing even at this stage and until your eye surgeon has seen you.
When can I wash my face after cataract surgery? The same rules as per showering apply, You can wash your face normally 1 week after cataract surgery. When can I cook after cataract surgery? You can return to cooking a day or two after cataract surgery. Always wash your hands before you touch your eyes or the area surrounding the eye in the week after cataract surgery. When can I wear eye makeup after cataract surgery?
Mascara and makeup around the eyes should be avoided for a 10 days after cataract surgery. It may be advisable use disposable mascara brushes or even start with a new bottle of mascara to avoid risk of infection.
When can I have sex after cataract surgery? You can resume sex days after surgery. Hygiene is important and you should not touch or rub your eyes for the first week or so after surgery. How is the correct lens chosen for my eye? The correct choice of lens for your eye is determined by a number of measurements made before the time of surgery. These pain free measurements are called biometry and will be performed by Dr Marie Restori, a medical physicist that specialises in imaging of the eye.
The biometry is entered into formulae that predict the lens power required for the prescription of your eye. These formulae vary depending on the type of lens that is implanted mono or multifocal and whether you've had previous laser eye surgery.
How accurate is the lens prediction? Measurements are now more accurate than ever and use a technology called laser interferometry to perform biometry. The prediction accuracy of lens formulae follow a normal distribution a bell curve and within these constraints refractive surprises can occur in a small number of patients.
What happens if my glasses prescription after surgery is very different to what was aimed for? If you have a true refractive surprise greater than 1 dioptre from the target refraction aimed for at the time of surgery, there are several options available.