Posted by: Northern Lakes Ophthalmology in Cataracts

A-z Written With Letterpress Printing Blocks

Here is an A to Z tour through some cataract surgery facts and also some answers to frequently asked questions. We love helping patients through cataract surgery and we hope that it shows!

A – Advanced lens technology ranging from toric to extended depth of focus and multifocal lenses makes modern cataract surgery more exciting and more beneficial to patients than ever been before.

B – Bring a driver with you on the day of surgery. Most cataract surgery is performed in the outpatient setting with very mild sedation so you will need to have a trusted driver with you on the day of surgery.

C – Conscious sedation. This is the type of mild sedation (with no breathing tube) that we use for cataract surgery. After your eye is numb it’s basically a painless procedure so most people just need a little medicine to help relax.

D – Driving at night is almost always MUCH easier following cataract surgery. Many patients say that cataract surgery helped them to regain independence that they didn’t realize they had lost.

E – Expectations for your post operative vision are very important. Make sure you find an ophthalmologist that will take the time to help make sure you know exactly what to expect before, during, and after your surgery.

F – Find a cataract surgeon who you trust and within an office where you don’t feel like just another number. You will know when you find the right one. 

G – Glasses may be a thing of the past for you depending on what type of cataract surgery and lens implant you choose. 

H – Heavy lifting is typically limited for up to one week after cataract surgery but most patients find that they can go about their regular activities during the post op period without difficulty. Cataract surgery does not need to be a significant disruption to your daily routine.

I – Intraocular lenses are an important part of your cataract surgery. Every time we remove a cataract we must replace it with a new intraocular lens (IOL) and the type of lens you choose can have a significant impact on your vision post operatively.  With certain types of lenses you may be free of glasses forever.

J – Just remember to relax. The vast majority of people are incredibly surprised at how easy of a process cataract surgery is (starting from the pre-op visit and extending all the way through surgery and your post op care). 

K – Keep an eye on vision changes and see your ophthalmologist if you are experiencing glare, haloes,  blurry vision, or difficulty driving at night. 

L – Listen carefully when your team discusses your post operative care with you. The instructions will be simple and won’t involve much more than using some simple eye drops, but your role in making sure you have the best outcome possible is important.

M – Millions of American’s undergo cataract surgery annually. In fact, on average over 3 million patients have cataract surgery in the US every single year.

N – Nothing you can do outside of surgery will cause your cataract to regress or go away. Cataracts progress over time in all cases and will generally only cause your visual symptoms to worsen.

O – Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (M.D.) just like your primary care physician, pediatrician, or general surgeon. We complete a 4 year residency in ophthalmology after completion of 4 years of medical school in order to be able to safely perform surgery on your eyes.

P – The Panoptix lens (made by Alcon) is one of the more popular advanced technology lenses that we implant during cataract surgery. A standard intraocular lens implant will give you relatively good vision at distance or near (but not both) but a Panoptix lens can typically give you good vision through the entire visual range (distance, intermediate, and near)

Q – Questions are an important part of the pre-operative process. Make sure you ask every question that you have and make sure that you are satisfied with and understand the answers your surgeon gives you. 

R – Report any worsening symptoms such as pain, decreased vision, or redness to your ophthalmologist immediately if they occur following cataract surgery. Complications from cataract surgery are very rare but it’s important that if something comes up your ophthalmologist knows right away so that we can get you the proper treatment. 

S – Stay patient if your vision isn’t perfect on the first day after surgery. Sometime even after a perfectly performed surgery it takes a few days or even up to a few weeks for your vision to sharpen up. 

T – Toric lenses are advanced technology lenses that are capable of eliminating the astigmatism that you might currently require glasses or contacts to neutralize so that you can see well. If you have astigmatism be sure to ask your surgeon about toric lenses. 

U – Understand that while cataract surgery is a wonderful procedure and has benefited millions and millions of patients, it is not an exact science and even after a perfectly performed surgery some patients may still need glasses or contacts to see their best. 

V – Vivity lenses are a type of extended depth of focus lens (made by Alcon) that gives you a much wider range of focus than a standard single focus lens. Most patients who choose Vivity lenses have great distance and intermediate vision and often have functional near vision. 

W – Wear your clear plastic eyeshield for 5 nights when you sleep. Post operative restrictions are minimal after eye surgery but we will have you wear a clear eyeshield while you sleep for just under one week so you don’t accidentally rub or hit your eye overnight. 

X – Xenografts refer to grafts that are transplanted from one species to another (such as a pig valve being transplanted into a human being during heart surgery). Cataract surgery does not use a xenograft. Intraocular lenses (such as toric, Vivity, or Panoptix) are made of a soft acrylic material and are manufactured to very strict specifications.

Y – Your choice of intraocular lens implant type and focus goal (distance, intermediate, near) will have a large impact on your satisfaction level after surgery. Make this decision carefully with your surgeon. 

Z – Zero. This is the number of patients I have personally seen elect to not have surgery on their second eye because they found the first surgery to be painful or unpleasant. The vast majority of patients find cataract surgery to be a very easy surgery to get through and the two most common things we hear at the end of most cases are, “I didn’t even know you started.” and “I didn’t feel a thing. Wow.”

Please give us a call any time if you would like to discuss your general eye health or want to talk more about whether or not cataract surgery is appropriate for you!