Cataract surgery preparation and outcome

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Typically considered as an age-related eye disease, cataract now affects a quite large population across the world. People who develop this condition will suffer from some visual symptoms, e.g., blurry vision, decrease in visual sharpness and even loss of peripheral vision. Early signs of cataract such as declining visual clarity may be okay and tolerable. These patients are still able to drive, watch television and carry out other daily activities. But if the daily life is severely affected by advanced cataracts that can not be corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses, it is the right time to receive a cataract surgery. During a surgery, the clouding on the lens will be removed and an artificial intraocular lens will be implanted to restore focusing power.

Determine the type and power of intraocular lenses

Certain medications and nutritional supplements may cause side effects after a cataract surgery, so that it is important for every patient to consultant a doctor that whether it is necessary to stop taking certain medications. Another critical issue is the selection of IOL type: a single vision IOL or a presbyopia-correcting or multifocal IOL. Multifocal IOLs are always more expensive, but they will offer visual aid at several distances for people above 40. After determining the IOL type, another preparation before the surgery is the measurement of IOL power. The prescription of artificial lens should be precisely determined according to the patient’s visual needs. Of course, multifocal IOLs are more difficult to fit. For most of the patients, a cataract surgery will treat only one eye at a time, even if both of the eyes have cataracts. If necessary, the other eye will be corrected at least two weeks later.

Exact steps of a typical cataract surgery

On the day of the surgery, the patient may be asked to avoid drinking liquids and apply eye makeup. For eye relaxation, a sedative may be used and the eye skin will be comprehensively cleansed. Using an ultrasound-driven instrument, the doctor will make an incision into the target eye, so that the lens’ clouding can be divided into small pieces. Another instrument will be used to get them out through the incision. The last two steps are IOL implantation and incision suturing. Most patients will notice instant visual improvement after the lens implantation, provided a proper prescription is followed.

Tips for eye care after the surgery

On the way home after the surgery, a protective shield is needed to block out sun rays. During the following few weeks, eye drops prescribed by the surgeon should be applied several times every day. It is also important to avoid some things during the recovery period, e.g. lifting heavy things, any activities that increase eye stress, water contact, dust and so forth. For the best outcome, it is a must to follow those specific instructions from the doctor.

Possible complications linked with cataract surgery

Even if the surgery has been performed successfully, certain complications may occur, e.g. glaucoma and intraocular pressure buildup. Other rare conditions include de-centered IOL, tearing of the posterior capsule and potentially detached retina. Some doctors think that detached retina has no direct relation to cataract surgery, since some patients have already suffered from this condition before the surgery. The most severe complication should be endophthalmitis, which causes widespread inflammation or infection. Fortunately, the rate of developing endophthalmitis is as low as 0.1%.

A high success rate is recorded

Patients with high myopia may need to take a YAG laser capsulotomy procedure to correct a secondary cataract, which increases the incidence of detached retina. But it is reported that as much as 95.5% of patients can restore normal 20/40 vision. And sight-threatening complications occur to only 2% of the total patients, most of which are old individuals. The most satisfying outcomes are always found on young people.