Cataract Surgery: What To Expect  

For most people, cataracts are a part of life. These cloudy areas in the eye can begin to develop around age 40, but most people don’t notice vision issues due to cataracts until age 60 or later.

When cataracts begin to affect your vision, your eye doctor may talk with you about cataract removal surgery. Usually, cataract surgery is performed on one eye at a time. If you need to have cataracts removed in both eyes, you’ll likely have the procedure on one eye and wait for the healing process to complete before having surgery on the other eye. Even if your cataracts don’t cause vision issues, your doctor may recommend that you have them removed to prevent pressure problems within the eye.

When you or a loved one need cataract surgery, it’s normal to feel apprehensive. Any kind of surgery can be nerve-wracking, and surgery on your eyes can be particularly scary. Here, we’ll take a look at what you can expect the day you go to the surgeon for your cataract removal procedure.

Getting Ready For Surgery

Your doctor will schedule an appointment prior surgery to give you pre-operative instructions and talk with you about what to expect on the day of your procedure. This is a great time to ask your doctor any questions and to learn more about what to expect on the day of your procedure.

Day of Surgery

In most cases, you’ll be awake for your cataract removal. You won’t feel any pain, as your surgeon will use numbing drops on your eye. If you feel nervous about the procedure, be sure to let your surgical team know — they may give you some medicine that can help ease your nerves before surgery begins.

Using a laser or scalpel, your doctor will make a tiny cut on the surface of your eye. From there, they’ll locate and remove the cataract using gentle suction. Your surgeon will then insert a new lens under the surface of your eye and close the incision.

You’ll need to have someone present to drive you home from your procedure.

After Surgery

It’s important that you follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully to ensure that your eye fully heals. It’s normal for your eye to feel sensitive to light, itchy, or sore in the days that follow your cataract removal procedure.

Your surgeon will provide you with eye drops to prevent infection, and you’ll likely be told not to pick up heavy objects, bend over, or drive. It’s important that you avoid activities that could strain or put pressure on your eyes.

After about two months, the healing process will be complete. The vast majority of people — around 90% — find that they see better following cataract surgery.

If you think you may have cataracts, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to learn whether cataract removal surgery may be a good fit for your eyes.