cataract surgery treatment recovery melbourne

Cataract Surgery Recovery – What To Expect After The Procedure?

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in Australia. Perhaps someone in your family has just had cataract surgery, or perhaps you’re about to undergo the operation yourself. Either way, it can be useful to understand what to expect during the cataract surgery recovery period, such as the anticipated recovery time, and what you should and shouldn’t do as your eye heals.

 

Health Tips to Optimise Your Eye Cataract Surgery Recovery Treatment

Whether your cataract surgery procedure was full of challenges for your eye surgeon or if it was smooth and uneventful, you will need to follow some guidelines to reduce your risk of post operative complications. Adhering to your eye surgeon’s instructions can help to fast-track your cataract surgery treatment recovery, minimise your recovery time, and get you back on track to resuming your normal activities. 

In most cases, cataract surgery procedures are quick and uncomplicated. The typical success rate quoted in Australia for cataract surgery is around 98%. This means only 2% of cataract operations result in a complication that negatively impacts the visual outcome. 

Your surgeon may recommend slightly different cataract eye surgery recovery guidelines, depending on your specific situation. However, here is what to expect after your operation and the general rules to help you make the most of your recovery time

 

 

Soon After Your Surgery

Many people feel their vision is quite good within a few hours of leaving the operating theatre. However, don’t worry if it’s not as clear as you were hoping for; it will take some time to settle. You should expect your eye to feel a little gritty or dry, and look puffy and red. You may also feel slightly more glare sensitive. This is all normal. 

 

Wear your protective eye shield

Immediately after your cataract surgery procedure, your ophthalmologist will place a plastic shield over your operated eye, secured with surgical tape. This should be kept on for at least the first 24 hours and overnight when you sleep. Your ophthalmologist may recommend you continue to use the eye shield overnight for the first week or so. 

 

Avoid driving

Straight after your procedure, you may be feeling slightly unwell and groggy, especially if you were given a light sedative to help relieve any anxiety or restlessness. Your ophthalmologist will have advised you in advance to have someone else drive you home from the operating theatre. However, you may prefer to avoid driving for the first few days or even longer, until you feel comfortable with your new vision. Your surgeon may advise you to avoid driving until your review appointment to ensure your vision reaches the legal driving requirements.

 

Get your prescription drops from the pharmacy

If your surgeon doesn’t provide you with your post operative eye drop medications on the spot, be sure to fill the script at a pharmacy on the same day. You will be prescribed 2 or 3 bottles of different medications to be instilled several times a day. 

 

Take a break

When you get home after your cataract surgery, take the opportunity to put your feet up and have a rest. Letting your body physically rest is an important part of cataract eye surgery recovery. Depending on your occupation, you may return to work in as little as a few days after your operation.

 

Avoid strenuous activity

Avoid vigorous physical activity, whether it’s exercise, carrying heavy grocery bags, or even vacuuming the house, for the first week or so. Where possible, you will also want to suppress any coughing or sneezing fits. 

 

Keep your eye clean

For the first day or two you may want to avoid anything getting into your eye, including soaps, shampoos, and cleansers. It’s still important to keep the eye clean by wiping it with clean water and a cotton pad. Avoid cosmetics and moisturisers around the eye for at least the first week or so.

 

A Couple of Weeks After Surgery

By now your eye is probably feeling pretty good and your vision is closer to stabilising. Any redness and puffiness around the eye is likely to have resolved by now. Your eye may still be feeling slightly dry; you can manage this with tear lubricants as recommended by your surgeon. You would have had one or two follow-up checks by this stage. 

 

Continue your eye drop medication

healing cataract treatment melbourne

Two weeks into your cataract surgery procedure recovery time, you should be roughly halfway through your bottles of drops. Continue to use these as per your dosing schedule. Even if your eye is feeling almost back to normal, it’s important to continue your course of eye drop medications to the end.

Stopping your drops early before your eye has fully healed will put you at risk of rebound inflammation or infection.

 

Avoid dirty environments

If your hobbies or occupation carry a risk of catching a foreign particle in the eye, you may still want to hold off on these activities or use extra eye protection. These can include activities such as gardening or working on a construction site or dusty warehouse. 

 

Continue to keep the eye clean

By now it should be okay to wash your face as you usually would but if you find your usual products, such as cosmetics or facial cleansers, irritating your eye, stop using those products immediately. 

 

At no point during eye cataract surgery treatment recovery is deterioration of your vision, increase in redness or pain of the eye, or pus/mucous discharge from the eye, considered normal. If you experience this at any stage, be sure to contact your eye specialist or optometrist on (03) 9070 3580 immediately. 

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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What is Cataract Surgery? Understand How the Procedure Works

Ask any eyecare professional and you’ll probably hear that cataracts and cataract surgery are discussed multiple times on any typical day. With cataracts being a natural part of ageing, cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the world. So, what is cataract surgery and how does it work? Keep reading to find out. 

 

What Are Eye Cataracts?

Before delving into “what is cataract eye surgery”, it helps to first understand what a cataract is. Cataracts form in the eye’s crystalline lens, which sits just behind the coloured iris. In a young eye, this lens is transparent, allowing light to easily pass through. As we get older, the lens gradually becomes hazy and forms opacities. At some point, this is considered a cataract. 

 

 

The majority of cataracts are a result of older age, known as senile cataracts. However, an opacity in the lens may arise from other causes, including:

  • Physical trauma
  • Electrocution
  • Chemical injury
  • Systemic metabolic diseases and syndromes
  • Congenital causes
  • From certain medications
  • From certain eye procedures

In the early stages of a cataract, you may not even notice you have one. Cataracts are often first detected during a routine eye exam before causing any symptoms. If the cataract is not bothering you or affecting your lifestyle, it isn’t necessary to hurry into cataract surgery. As the cataract progresses, you may find your glasses or contact lens prescription needs updating to restore your clarity of vision. 

Eventually, simply changing your glasses or contacts will not be sufficient to improve your vision. At this stage, you may wish to discuss your options for cataract surgery with your eye care professional, and ask for more details about exactly what is cataract eye surgery going to look like for you.

 

What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is the only definitive way of treating a cataract. In brief, it involves removing your natural lens with the cataract, and replacing it with a clear lens implant, known as an intraocular lens. There are two methods of cataract surgery in current use – phacoemulsification and femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery

Phacoemulsification is the conventional technique of cataract extraction. It typically involves the use of manual, hand-held instruments to complete the various steps involved in cataract surgery. Conversely, femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery is much newer. As the name suggests, this technique involves a highly precise medical laser to replace many of the manual steps found in phacoemulsification. Although it may feel natural to lean towards a more modern method of cataract surgery, both phacoemulsification and femtosecond laser-assisted surgeries are considered safe and effective procedures. Studies have not noted a significant difference in terms of visual outcome between the two; both methods offer very high success rates. You will find that not all cataract surgeons offer both; some will prefer one technique over the other. 

 

Cataract Eye Surgery Steps

Your eye will be prepared for the surgery with sterilisation and topical anaesthetic eye drops or a local anaesthetic injection. General anaesthesia is not typically used for cataract surgery procedures; however, you can ask for a light sedative to help calm any anxious nerves. 

Your surgeon will give you an overhead target or light on which to fixate your eyes – this helps to keep your eyes steady during the operation. A small incision is made at the edge of the cornea, which allows entry to the cataract for the next steps. During phacoemulsification, this incision is created with a hand-held bladed tool, while in femtosecond laser-assisted surgery, the laser can be used for this step. 

treatment conditions cataract surgery procedure melbourneThe lens of the eye is contained within a membrane, called the capsular bag or lens capsule. Depending on which technique of cataract surgery is being used, this membrane can be gently cut open with a manual tool or the femtosecond laser, so that the cataract inside can be extracted. 

In conventional phacoemulsification, the next step of fragmenting the cataract is performed with an ultrasound probe. The ultrasound energy helps to break the cataract into pieces small enough to be suctioned out from the capsular bag. If the femtosecond laser is in use, this can be utilised to first soften the cataract before the ultrasound probe is applied. Proponents of femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery prefer this method as it requires less ultrasound energy to be applied to the eye, which can reduce post-operative inflammation. 

Once the cataract has been removed from the eye, your chosen intraocular lens is then inserted into the capsular bag and manipulated into position. During your pre-operative consultations, your surgeon will have taken measurements to calculate a lens implant that can correct your eye’s prescription. Furthermore, you may have been given the option of a premium intraocular lens, such as a multifocal or accommodating implant. Such intraocular lenses are able to greatly reduce your dependency on glasses for all activities post-cataract surgery. 

 

After Surgery

After your cataract procedure, your eye surgeon will place a protective plastic shield over your operated eye. You’ll also be given a list of post-operative guidelines to help you ensure your recovery is as smooth as possible, and to minimise the risk of complications. 

You will have a few review appointments to ensure your eye is healing as expected. However, if you ever feel your eye or vision is not right, be sure to contact your eye specialist on (03) 9070 3580 without delay.

 

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Cataract Surgery Recovery – What To Expect After The Procedure?
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Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in Australia. Perhaps someone in your family has just had cataract surgery, or perhaps Read more

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signs of cataract melbourne

If you’re in your 60s or 70s, you can expect to find yourself developing cataracts. In fact, at this age, it’s not uncommon to have Read more

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After you’ve had your cataracts removed through cataract surgery, what you do during the cataract surgery recovery period can make a difference in how well Read more

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