Cataract surgery is one of the safest types of surgery that you can have, simply because it is performed so often that surgeons have become incredibly well practiced at it! In the US alone, over 3.5 million cataract surgeries are performed every year. Unlike a lot of other types of surgeries, there isn’t a time pressure. This means that you have the opportunity to make decisions about your surgery in your own time, so that it has the best possible results for you.
Cataract surgery means removing the lens of your eye that has become clouded by cataract and replacing it with an artificial lens. This artificial lens then becomes a permanent part of your eye.
There are a number of options when it comes to replacement lenses:
- Fixed focus mono-focal lenses. These lenses will help you to see at a distance, but you will need glasses for close work.
- Accommodating mono-focal lenses. These lenses have the ability to shift between short and long-distance vision, similar to the natural lens. They are not always reliable for close work.
- Toric lenses. These lenses are designed for people with astigmatism and mean that you may not need to wear glasses after surgery.
- Multifocal These lenses have different areas for close and distance vision, similarly to bifocal lenses in glasses. The drawback is that they can sometimes distort bright light.
Choosing a surgeon
When choosing your surgeon you should first find a surgeon that is both recommended by your physician and has experience working with the type of lens that you want. It’s also a good idea to search for cataract surgery near me, as you will need to consider getting home after the surgery and being in close proximity to family members and friends who can help you during your recovery time.
When is the best time to have it?
Cataracts only affect the lens in your eye. It’s not a condition that is going to spread elsewhere, or that is going to cause additional damage by putting off the surgery. As cataracts spread across the lens of your eye your vision will become increasingly cloudy, but the results of cataract surgery will be exactly the same no matter when you have it.
Some things that you might want to think about:
- If you need to be able to drive regularly, then it can be a good idea to schedule your surgery before your vision becomes so impaired that you can no longer drive.
- If you are someone who is likely to worry about the prospect of surgery and this worry is likely to have an impact on your life, then it’s probably a good idea to have the surgery as soon as possible to get it out of the way!
- Everyone heals differently from cataract surgery. Some people report having clear vision within a few hours, for others it can take a week or two for their vision to clear. It’s a good idea to schedule your surgery for a time when you can take a couple of weeks off for recovery time – certainly from tasks like driving.
- If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor will usually recommend that you have surgery in one eye, allow that to heal, and then have surgery in the other eye. This is in case there is an issue with the surgery, and so that you still have the use of one eye while you are recovering. It’s a good idea to bear this in mind when you are planning your surgery timeline.
If you have any other eye conditions, these will usually need to be taken into account when planning your surgery. For example, some conditions are more difficult to treat when there is a cataract, so your doctor might ask that you have the surgery as soon as you can.