How to prepare for a cataract surgery

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A cataract is a medical condition in which the lens of your eyes become opaque, causing a blurry vision. The lens of your eyes consists mostly of water (about 65%) and protein (3%), and is normally clear. When the protein in the lens clumps up, it clouds the lens and makes it difficult for light to reach the retina. Most age-related cataract is caused by protein clumping.

If your cataract is hindering you from carrying out normal activities like driving, reading, knitting etc, your doctor may recommend a cataract surgery.

A cataract surgery removes the lens of your eyes, and replaces it with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) on an out-patient basis and is a generally safe procedure.

How do you prepare for a cataract surgery?

Cataract assessment. First, your eye doctor will brief you on what to expect before and after your operation. Here are some things that you need to know:

Before a cataract surgery

  • Personal evaluation. Your doctor may ask you some questions, such as: Do you have difficulty driving to work, and safely performing your tasks at work? Do you have problems reading or watching television? Do you feel confident doing normal activities like climbing stairs, taking your medication? Do bright lights make it difficult for you to see? This process of evaluation can help establish the need for cataract removal.
  • Biometry test. Measure the anterior chamber depth, lens thickness and axial length of the eye.
  • Stop taking certain medications. Your doctor will ask you to inform him of medications that you are currently taking, and he or she may ask you to temporarily stop taking these medications if they may increase bleeding or interfere with the surgery.
  • Physical preparation. You will be asked to go without drink or food 12 hours before surgery. You will also be asked to lubricate your eyes with antibiotic eyedrops to lower the risk of infection.

Related: What is the cost of cataract surgery in Singapore?

What to expect on the day of your cataract surgery?

On the day of your cataract surgery, your doctor may administer local anaesthesia to numb the area. In some cases, you may also be given a sedative to help you relax.

The doctor will also instil eyedrops to dilate your pupil.

Micro-incision phacoemulsification is the current global standard of cataract removal. It uses ultrasound energy to liquify the cataract enabling the emulsified cataract to be removed through a small wound. With incision sizes of between 2 and 3mm in width, stitches are usually not required as the wounds are self-sealing, allowing for greater comfort and improved speed of recovery.

Laser-assisted cataract surgery holds great potential as the next phase in the development of minimally invasive cataract surgery. Laser energy is used to automate some of the more difficult steps of the surgery. It promises reduced ultrasound power utilisation, improved wound construction, greater predictability in lens positioning and advantages in some forms of complex cataract surgery.

What should you avoid after cataract surgery?

As with any medical procedures, you can expect some discomfort in the first few days after surgery. Your doctor will ask you to wear a protective eye shield and may prescribe a steroid-based eyedrop to keep inflammation at bay.

You may first experience blurry vision, or you may find that colours are too bright. Don’t worry, your vision is still adjusting. Remember to attend your post-surgery reviews with your doctor on a timely manner and report unusual discomfort such as:

  • Worsening vision
  • Persistent pain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Light flashes

In most cases, patients are able to recover well after a cataract surgery, and return to work 1 week after surgery.

Will my cataract return?

No, cataract does not return after it is removed.

Book an $86 cataract assessment at 6737 9119 or https://atlaseye.sg/cataract-assessment/ if you are suffering from cataracts.