What to expect before your Cataract Surgery
Routine exam and tests
After your doctor has examined and diagnosed you with cataracts, he or she will conduct a few tests to see if you are a candidate for surgery and decide which replacement lens is right for you.
The tests involve seeing how much your cataract has developed, measuring the curve of the cornea and the size and shape of your eye, and dilating your eyes to look inside at the back part where the retina is located.
After taking the tests and lifestyle questionnaire results into account, your doctor will decide the best IOL for your vision and lifestyle.
Food and medications
Your doctor may ask you to not eat or drink anything 12 hours before your procedure. Also, remember to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking and if they will affect your surgery.
Day of surgery
Don’t forget to take the prescribed eye drops to prevent inflammation and infection. You should ask someone to drive you to the eye center, as well as back home.
Our office will supply you with a complete set of instructions for you to follow.
What to expect during the procedure
You will most likely be awake for the procedure. Your doctor will apply anesthetic drops that will completely numb your eye. You may feel slight pressure in your eye, but you shouldn’t feel any pain. Remember, this is a safe, proven procedure. The doctor and surgical staff will carefully monitor you throughout the entire surgery.
Your surgery will last about 10 to 15 minutes. After a short time to make sure there is no discomfort, you will be advised to go home with protective glasses or a shield. In some case, an eye patch may be applied by your doctor. Be sure not to touch or rub your eye. You can now have someone drive you home to recover.
My life after the procedure
The first day
Many patients have excellent vision the first day after surgery. As your eyes and brain adapt, your vision should continue to get better over time.
Your eyes may feel itchy and sensitive to light. All of this is normal, and it should go away after a day or two. Begin to apply the medicated eye drops that will help with the healing process and prevent infection.
If you received a TECNIS® Multifocal lens, you will probably see halos and glare, which is normal. Your eyes will begin to adjust and this sensation should lessen after a while, although it can be permanent in a small fraction of patients.
You will be able to resume your light daily activities, such as reading, watching TV, using the computer, and walking. Remember to wear the protective eyewear outside in the sunlight and while sleeping. After the first day, you will see your doctor for a postop (after surgery) checkup.
You shouldn’t rub or touch your eyes, and driving is not recommended. Don’t do any strenuous activities or lifting because this will affect the pressure in your eye.
Regaining your vision. Resuming your life.
For the first month, you will check back with your doctor periodically so he or she can make sure you are healing properly. Usually after one month, your eye will be completely healed. You will also notice that everything is brighter and colors are richer with your new lens. This is because you have become used to seeing through a cloudy and yellow-brown cataract lens. Give your brain some time to get used to seeing with your new lens.
With your doctor’s approval, you can get back to your normal daily activities, including active ones, such as driving, golfing, jogging, gardening, and traveling. Many patients report feeling satisfied and a sense of well being with their renewed independence. Take for example the ones who chose the TECNIS® Multifocal lens: nearly nine of 10 patients don’t have to wear glasses.
There are many ways to pay for cataract or presbyopia surgery. Usually insurance will cover all or most of the costs. For any additional fees, you will be responsible.
Medicare will usually cover traditional or monofocal lenses. If you choose a multifocal or toric lens, you will need to pay for any extra costs.
Health insurance policies will differ in coverage for the different types of lenses. Usually, most of them will cover a traditional or monofocal lens. Because multifocal lenses are technologically advanced and designed to provide sharper vision, and toric lenses are designed to treat astigmatism, these types of IOLs will cost more. You will be responsible for paying for the additional costs.
Healthcare financial plans offer an option to pay over time. Your doctor may offer their own payment plan or private companies such as CareCredit® can give you financing options that make advanced technology lenses affordable.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
It’s important to fully understand the cataract procedure before making any decisions with your doctor. Below, you can find a list of questions to ask your doctor, so both of you can decide on the best treatment option for your needs.
About the surgery
- What are my options to treat my cataracts or presbyopia?
- What are my options to treat my cataracts as well as astigmatism?
- How long will the surgery take?
- How long will it take to recover?
- Is the surgery and recovery painful?
About my lens options
- What are the different kinds of lenses available?
- Which one will best suit my vision and lifestyle needs?
- I like the idea of not wearing glasses. Am I a candidate for a multifocal lens?
- Is there a lens that allows me to drive safely at night or function in dimly lit situations?
- I have astigmatism. Am I a candidate for a toric lens?
About payment options
- How much will my procedure cost?
- Will my insurance cover everything?
- Is there a payment plan or financing to cover any additional costs?