Cataract Surgery

Optimal eye health is essential to your everyday living. It allows you to see clearly and enjoy everything in its entirety…But what happens when your ability to see, isn’t always clear? Cataracts are a common, age-related clouding of the clear lens that focuses the light in our eye.  This can begin happening after the age of 40, with certain diseases like diabetes, and with the use of certain medications such as steroid injections or pills or chemotherapy.

With cataracts, your vision may:

  • Be blurry/hazy
  • Seem to be out of focus or “double”
  • Be less colorful
  • Be impaired at night
  • Be light sensitive
  • Create halos around lights

While cataracts are not dangerous or threatening, they can be a real inconvenience in your day to day tasks such as reading, driving, or watching tv. They tend to start small and evolve into larger vision obstructions over time. The risk of getting cataracts increases with age, but that doesn’t mean that younger people can’t be affected.

Initial treatment for cataracts usually begins conservatively using eyeglasses or simply turning on brighter lights. But as cataracts progress, they may require vision restoration surgery.

What Can I expect With Cataract Surgery?

Cataract removal surgery at South Shore Eye Care is performed at the Garden City Surgery Center.  This same day operation takes 15 minutes or less and is performed in a state of art center equipped with a Femtosecond Laser.

During surgery, your cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. That lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL).  Your surgeon will measure your eye to determine the proper focusing power for your IOL.  Oftentimes patients, just simply by having cataract surgery reduce or eliminate their need for glasses.  At South Shore Eye Care, our Board certified surgeons offer the latest technology in IOL lenses including those that remove astigmatism, as well as that the can “Extend Depth of Focus” – allowing patients to see not only at distance, but also things at arm’s length like the dashboard in their car or a computer on a desk.

Pre-Op Expectations

  • You will come in for a measurement with the cataract surgeon at South Shore Eye Care that will look at the shape and health of the eye.  Our surgeons will then discuss with you what the best option is for your needs.
  • You may be prescribed eye-drops to start before and to continue after surgery. These medicines help prevent infection and reduce swelling during and after surgery.
  • Patients are asked to go for medical and/or cardiac clearance within 30 days of the procedures
  • Certain medications such as blood pressure medicines should be continued – however, if taking the day of surgery, should only be taken with a small sip of water
  • Blood thinners are handled on a case-by-case basis.  Some patients will be told to hold their medications; however, others may need to remain on them.  The ultimate decision is made by the cardiologist or internist.

Day of Expectations

  • Your ophthalmologist may ask you not to eat any solid food at least 6 hours before your surgery.
  • Your eye will be numbed using eye drops around the eye. You will also be given a medicine to help you relax through an IV placed by an anesthesiologist

The Surgery

  • Your surgeon will remove the cataract, oftentimes using a Femtosecond laser first to help optimize the shape of the eye and to soften the lens.  The laser portion takes 30 seconds or so.  Then the cataract is removed in the main operating room within 15 minutes.
  • The incisions made are 0.5 mm and 2-3 mm, so are self-sealing or “sutureless”
  • Once the surgery is finished, antibiotic drops and a clear shield will be placed over your eye to protect it while you heal.
  • You will rest in a recovery area for about 15–30 minutes prior to being discharged.

Post-Op Expectations

  • You will be asked to put a combination eye drop in your eye 4 times a day for 2 weeks then 2 times a day for 2 weeks
  • Avoid getting soap or water directly in the eye.
  • Do not rub or press on your eye. Your doctor may ask you to wear eyeglasses or a shield to protect your eye.
  • You will need to wear a protective eye shield when you sleep for 3-7 days
  • Your ophthalmologist will talk with you about how active you can be after surgery. They will let you know when you can safely exercise, drive or do other activities again.

Think you may be a candidate for cataract surgery? Contact our office and request an appointment at one of our locations. Call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office) to schedule an appointment. Our ophthalmologists will talk with you about the risks and benefits of cataract surgery.

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

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