Cataracts are increasingly common as you get older. The natural lens of your eye becomes cloudy over time, making it difficult for you to see clearly. As your vision becomes blurry, you may also become extra sensitive to light, and colors no longer appear as bright as they used to be.
Although cataracts are common, you don’t have to live life looking a faded view of the world. Experienced optometrist, Tanya Lau, OD, works with cataract specialists to co-manage your condition and cataract surgery procedure.
Why you should consider cataract surgery
The goal of cataract surgery is to remove the clouded lens of your eye and replace it with a clear, artificial lens to improve your vision.
Cataract surgery is beneficial for many reasons in addition to better vision. You may be a good candidate for this type of surgery if you have other eye issues that are worsened by cataracts, such as macular degeneration, or if Dr. Lau isn’t able to clearly see the back of your eye during an exam.
In the earliest stages of cataract development, you may not yet need surgery. However, as your vision increasingly deteriorates, surgery may be your best option to ensure you can keep up with your usual activities.
You may also wish to move forward with cataract surgery if your clouded lens interferes with your employment, your ability to drive, or if you can no longer engage in favorite activities, like reading and cooking.
What to expect from cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is a relatively simple and quick procedure. Prior to your surgery, you’ll undergo testing to determine the size and shape of your eye for a custom fit lens implant. This lens becomes a permanent part of your eye and instantly clears your vision.
The surgery to remove the old lens and replace it with an artificial one is done on an outpatient basis in an hour or less. You can expect a few eyedrops before the procedure – one to dilate your eye and one to numb it. The surgeon may also provide a sedative medication to keep you relaxed and comfortable, but still awake.
Depending on your needs, your eye surgeon may remove the old lens with a laser procedure that uses ultrasound waves to break up the cataract. Another technique requires a minor surgical incision to remove the lens in one piece and is often reserved for those with existing eye health issues.
In the event you have cataracts in both eyes, the surgeon performs only one procedure at a time. You can expect to have an additional surgery for the other eye after the first eye is done healing.
Life after cataract surgery
During the initial hours or days after your cataract surgery, it’s normal for your vision to still be blurry. Your eye must adjust to the new lens, and it will take time to heal, especially if you have a surgical incision. Your eye may feel itchy or irritated, but it’s important that you avoid rubbing the area. An eye patch may be necessary to protect your eye and reduce accidental itching.
With a clearer lens in place, your vision will continue to improve. Colors seem brighter, and you won’t experience blurry or double vision issues like you did with a cataract.
It can take as long as eight weeks for your eye to heal fully. Dr. Lau monitors your healing process, and if you wear eyeglasses, she may recommend getting fitted for a new prescription once your eye is healed.
To find out more about the benefits of cataract surgery, schedule a consultation at Mission Viejo Optometric Center today using the online booking feature or by calling the office.