When to schedule your cataract surgery??
Modern day cataract surgery has undergone a revolutionary change in the past 10-15 years. Today, cataract surgery is one of the most successful micro-incision surgeries performed in the human body. With the use of ultrasound technology, the visual outcomes have drastically improved and immediate post-surgical recovery time has reduced to a few mere hours.
SCHEDULING YOUR CATARACT SURGERY
One of the most important things for the patient to remember is that Cataract surgery is not an emergency surgery, barring a few complicated types. One need NOT immediately take action after hearing the words “cataract” from your eye-surgeon’s mouth. The patient can schedule the cataract surgery based on his/her symptoms, stage of cataract and other systemic conditions.
Cataract is part of the ageing process and can be easily explained in comparison to whitening of your hair. With age, as your hair turns white, strand-by-strand. In the same fashion, the lens fibres also turn opaque with age, one fibre at a time. This change of lens fibres is termed as “cataractous changes”. During this process, people may experience blurring or vision and/or fluctuations in their spectacle numbers till the time, their vision begins to deteriorate beyond improvement. At such a time, cataract surgery may be planned by your eye-surgeon. In India, cataract surgery is planned one eye at a time. Both eyes are not operated at the same time by most centers.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE AND AFTER YOUR SURGERY
Today, Cataract surgery is performed topically, that means, it does not require any general anaesthesia or anaesthetic injections. Therefore, the patient doesn’t have to fast or limit their diet on the day of surgery. On the contrary, patients are advised to take all their oral medications (except in some cases blood thinners) on the day of their surgery. The total time spent by the patient at the eye hospital would not exceed 3 hours as cataract is a day-care procedure. Patients are given strict pre and post operative instructions and are advised to follow-up as per the decided protocols.
Eye-surgeons do require a “fit-for-surgery” certificate for every patient which is usually given after certain blood tests, cardiac tests and a thorough examination by their physician/ diabetologist/ cardiologist.
Post-operative medication may go on for about 6-8 weeks after surgery. Regular follow-ups are scheduled by the eye-surgeon to assess and guide the patient through the post-operative healing period.
WHEN TO SCHEDULE CATARACT SURGERY FOR THE SECOND EYE
In the earlier days, patients were advised to keep an interval of about 3-6 months between two surgeries ( of the two eyes). With smaller incision sizes, foldable lenses and faster recovery periods, the interval between the two surgeries can be as less as 48 hours (provided surgery was uneventful and recovery of the 1st surgery was normal).
Those who undergo cataract surgery with Multifocal (MFIOL/ EDOF) lenses, however, should plan a shorter gap between the two surgeries (ideally between 2-14 days). This aids in Neuroadaptation and allows the patient to get comfortable with their new vision at a much faster rate. Scheduling of eye drops also become more convenient with fewer mistakes when the two surgeries are scheduled within a shorter span of time. As the fitness certificate and certain blood tests are also valid for a limited duration, the patient need not repeat all the tests and obtain a fitness certificate if the second surgery is undertaken within the above mentioned time frame.
VISION RECOVERY AFTER SURGERY
Now-a-days, vision recovery occurs in a matter of a few hours. Most patients experience no pain and excellent visual recovery by the next day of surgery. Although vision may be blurred on the day of surgery, there is no restriction to watch TV, work on your laptop or mobile phone.
CATARACT SURGERY HAS CHANGED…….. AND CHANGED FOR THE BETTER
Also read about: Getting rid of your glasses after cataract surgery
Also read about: Planning your health insurance
MD MS FPRS (NN) FICO (UK) FAICO
Senior Consultant, Cataract & Cornea Refractive Surgeon,
Ghodbunder Road, Thane W