What to Expect During Cataract Surgery
The only way to surgically treat a cataract is to remove all or part of the lens and replace it with an artificial Intraocular Lens (IOL). Cataract surgery is an amazingly quick outpatient procedure that can erase years of poor vision. The entire surgical process takes about 10-15 minutes to perform.
We perform cataract surgeries at the Slingsby & Wright Eye Surgery & Laser Center located at 240 Minnesota Street in Rapid City, SD.
When you decide to move forward with the procedure, it’s normal to feel a little nervous. Our staff understands this and will do everything we can to make you as comfortable and relaxed as possible. We can even prescribe relaxation medication if you need it. The main goal is that you feel 100% confident in our surgical abilities.
Cataract Surgery Day
We will ask that you arrive 1 hour before your surgery time to complete any necessary paperwork, give yourself time to relax and allow your cataract surgery doctor to perform one final check on your vision.
- Dilation eye drops will be placed into your eye and local anesthetics will be given. You will remain awake during the procedure.
- Your doctor will use the VICTUS® femtosecond laser to create a small corneal incision, gently break up the cloudy lens and remove the lens fragments from your eye. This is called laser-assisted cataract surgery. (We also offer traditional cataract surgery using phacoemulsification: a hand-held blade is used to create a small corneal incision. A tiny probe will be inserted to gently break up the cloudy lens using ultrasound waves. This same tool is used to remove the lens fragments from the eye.)
- Through the same incision, your doctor will insert your pre-chosen replacement Intraocular Lens (IOL). Depending on the type of vision goals you have after surgery, you may choose from a variety of lens options. We will discuss each of those lenses with you prior to your surgery. Each lens will provide a different level of vision – possibly even reducing or eliminating the need for glasses after surgery.
- The incision may be closed with stitches or it may simply heal on its own.
The replacement lens you choose will be permanent and will feel natural in your eye.
Benefits of the VICTUS® Femtosecond Laser Platform
Using the VICTUS® Femtosecond Laser Platform, we can create an optimal corneal incision, gently fragment your cloudy eye lens and remove it in a more precise and efficient manner than the traditional manual method. Dr. Brown also has access to high-resolution, real-time 3D imaging capabilities of your eye to plan and perform your procedure with surgical confidence. Every procedure is done with computer-guided accuracy and laser consistency. The VICTUS platform provides:
- Proprietary Advanced Docking Technology to keep the eye in the proper position and minimize the risk of eye tilt and distortion
- REALEYEZ™ software for live action, real-time visualization of the process
- Precise, accurate and stable cataract removal and IOL placement
- Fast pulse rates for a quicker procedure
- Highly customized cataract surgery treatment
- Potential for improved vision results after surgery
- Possible reduction of post-surgery complications
- More comfortable procedure
Cataract Surgery Recovery
After relaxing in our pre-op area for a while and your doctor has visited you again, you can go home. You will need someone to drive you home after surgery so you can rest for the remainder of the day. Wear an eye shield while sleeping as your eye heals to avoid hitting or rubbing your eye.
Your vision may be a bit blurry at first and your eye may be itchy or irritated – this is normal. The prescription eye drops will help minimize discomfort. If you experience any pain or worrisome symptoms, contact our office immediately.
Only one eye is treated at a time. If you have cataracts in both eyes, your second eye can be treated after the first has healed (minimum of 2 weeks later).
Answers to Common Cataract Questions
Most people feel that cataract surgery is not painful, although there might be some discomfort or pressure. However, everyone has a different threshold for discomfort so your experience may be different. The procedure is performed on one eye at a time. Anesthetic eye drops will be administered to numb your eye and you’ll be offered medication to help you relax. The actual surgery usually takes less than 10-20 minutes.
This is performed as an outpatient procedure. You will need to have a friend or family member drive you home after surgery so you can rest. You will be instructed to wear a protective eye shield while sleeping and use prescription eye drops for a specified time following the procedure to aid in healing. After approximately 2 weeks you can have surgery on the other eye, if needed.
No. A cataract cannot return because all or part of the lens has been removed. However, in some instances the capsule holding the lens may eventually become cloudy a year or more after surgery, causing the same vision problems as a cataract. There is a simple, quick and painless treatment called YAG Capsulotomy if this occurs which normally results in a return of good vision.
Cataract surgery and standard Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) are typically covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans. If you choose to correct presbyopia or astigmatism at the same time by having an advanced IOL inserted, you will incur some out-of-pocket costs. Life without the hassle of glasses is often worth the extra cost for most patients.
Cataracts do not have to be removed right away if they are not negatively affecting your vision. The best way to know if the time is right for surgery is by having a Cataract Evaluation with our team. We will tell you honestly if we recommend surgery. Our informative exam will shed new light on your eye health and will help you learn more about your options for vision improvement.