More than 24.4 million Americans have cataracts, and by age 75, more than half of us will develop them. Although cataracts usually form slowly and painlessly, they can cause serious vision problems if left untreated. In most cases, the best way to treat cataracts is with surgery.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed today, and it is also one of the safest and most effective. However, as with any surgery, there are certain things you can do to help ensure a successful outcome. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips for improving your cataract surgery recovery.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts occur when proteins in the eye’s lens clump together, forming cloudy areas that interfere with light passing through the eye to the retina. Over time, these cataracts can result in blurred or fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light. The experience is often described as looking through a waterfall or a piece of wax paper.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, your eye doctor will determine if you are a candidate for cataract surgery. This procedure involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens, or IOL. Cataract surgery at Berkeley Eye Center is performed as an outpatient procedure, and it typically takes less than an hour to complete.
What to Expect After Cataract Surgery
After your cataract surgery, you’ll be able to go home. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but most patients experience improvement in their vision within hours after their procedure. Most patients return to their normal activities by a day or two, with some limited restrictions for 1-2 weeks.
During the recovery process, you may experience:
- Watering eyes
- Grittiness, like the sensation of a foreign body in your eye
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
Cataract surgery is safe and has a high rate of success. After your cataract surgery, it’s important to take steps to ensure a safe and speedy recovery following the procedure.
Tips to Improve Your Recovery After Your Cataract Surgery
Recovering from cataract surgery isn’t as scary as it may sound. In fact, the majority of patients report minimal discomfort and a quick return to their normal activities. However, there are certain things you can do to help ensure a successful outcome.
Here are some tips for improving your cataract surgery recovery:
- Use your prescribed eye drops as instructed
- Use your protective eyeshield at night for at least a week after the procedure
- Don’t rub your eyes
- Use appropriate pain medication
- Shower and bathe as normal, but take care to avoid getting soap or shampoo in your eyes
- Avoid swimming
- Wear your shield, old glasses, or sunglasses outdoors
- Avoid sports and other activities that could result in eye trauma
- Avoid driving until your vision is satisfactory
If you experience increased pain or redness, or reduced vision, contact your eye doctor immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cataract Surgery
Do you stay awake during cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is typically performed with local anesthesia, which is given as eye drops that numb your eye. You will be awake during the procedure, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
Can cataract surgery fix astigmatism?
Patients who are undergoing cataract surgery may have several astigmatism-correcting options for the procedure, including Toric IOL (intraocular lens) and corneal relaxing incisions. A full vision analysis at Berkeley Eye Center will allow our doctors to customize a treatment plan that best fits your needs.
Can I have cataract surgery if I have had LASIK?
Yes. Cataract surgery can be performed safely on patients who have had LASIK or another refractive surgery procedure.
Can cataract surgery be performed on both eyes at the same time?
Typically at Berkeley Eye Center, cataract surgery will be performed on one eye at a time, with a waiting period of a few days to a few weeks in between procedures. This allows our doctors to properly monitor your healing process and ensure vision has stabilized in the first eye before performing surgery on the second eye.
Are You a Candidate for Houston Cataract Surgery?
Berkeley Eye Center has been protecting the vision of our patients for over 60 years. We’re Houston’s first choice when it comes to cataract surgery. Our pioneering cataract surgical procedures, including cataract removal and lens implantation, have helped set the standards for cataract care around the world.
We provide the latest and most effective cataract surgery procedures to patients throughout the Houston area. If you’re over the age of 50 and are beginning to notice changes in your vision, it’s important to get a comprehensive eye exam to determine what the problem may be. The sooner age-related vision problems like cataracts are diagnosed, the more effective your treatment options are.
Schedule your eye exam online or call Berkeley Eye Center at (713) 526-1600. We have comprehensive eye centers conveniently located throughout Houston and its surrounding areas.