Cataracts is one of the most common age related eye diseases; it’s not entirely clear what causes it, but there seems to be some association with UV rays being blocked by the lens. We’ve talked in detail about the condition in previous posts; in short, the lens of your eye becomes cloudy, obscuring vision. Though almost everyone will get cataracts at some point in their lives, there are incredibly practical and effective surgical procedures to replace lenses affected by cataracts that almost never require you to stay in the hospital overnight. Here, we describe some of these procedures, and what you can expect post surgery.

The main method of getting rid of a cloudy lens in a surgery known as phacoemulsification. In this procedure, local anesthetic or general anesthetic is used so that the patient doesn’t feel any pain. A device that emits ultrasonic waves is used to sculpt and emulsify the lens, the pieces of which are sucked up through a small hole in the device. The surgeon then places an intraocular lens implant (IOL) exactly where the old lens was. Other procedures might be used to perform cataracts surgery, including new developments in laser eye technology.

The intraocular lens that is placed can be used to correct refractive errors in the eye; this might include lenses to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. When you have your cataracts surgery, you will be presented with a plethora of different options for lenses, as well as an explanation of the surgical procedure itself, in order to help you make a more informed decision. Discussing the different IOLs with your Winnipeg optometrist is a good way to stay informed and make the right decision for your specific circumstances.

Once the surgery is completed, you’ll be sent home with a pair of sunglasses; your eye will be particularly sensitive to UV rays and bright lights in your post-surgical state. There will be a protective shield placed over your eye; your surgeon will give you instructions on when it is appropriate to remove this shield. They will also discuss tips on recovering from your cataracts surgery; you should not lift heavy objects, engage in strenuous exercise, or expose your eye to dust or other airborne particles. You should also strive to keep water out of your eye.

Having good people around will help you recover much more swiftly. You should have someone to pick you up from the surgery and drive you home; having help around the house so you can relax and recover is of utmost importance. Your surgeon and optometrist will want to do post-surgery check ups at regular intervals until all is clear; while this surgery has a phenomenal success rate, it’s always better to be safe. You might see unusual, distorted or cloudy images when you first remove your protective eye shield; these should pass relatively swiftly, with images remaining distorted for no more than an hour. Should images remain distorted for longer, or if you have any other sudden concerns about your vision, contact your surgeon or optometrist.