The cataract surgeon in Los Angeles and Orange County tell us that cataract surgery is a very common surgery, and it usually takes about ten to thirty minutes to perform. Although the surgery is easy compared to other medical procedures, it’s still just as critical to take care of yourself post-surgery and give your eyes time to heal properly. Make sure you do your research and ask your surgeon some questions, especially what the recovery after surgery looks like and what it involves.
Before you meet up with your cataract surgeon at Excel Laser Vision Institute, read below what cataract surgery involves and how to best take care of your eyes after surgery.
What are Cataracts?
When an eye is infected with cataracts, there’s a cloudy film that forms over the eye’s lens and impairs a person’s vision. Cataracts can develop in one or both eyes. Some research has connected cataracts to diabetes, smoking, and alcohol abuse, but many are just a consequence of years of wear and tear to the eye.
What’s The Best Cataract Treatment?
In the beginning, patients with cataracts usually report mild symptoms that can easily be treated by glasses or contacts. However, cataracts are progressive, and as cataracts develop further, symptoms become more obvious and more challenging to treat with corrective eyewear. In the long run, the only method to effectively restore vision is to surgically replace the clouded lens with an artificial lens.
Once you know the eye surgery cost but you still feel that the concept of cataract surgery is nerve-racking, it may be encouraging to be reminded that based on information from the National Eye Institute that cataract removal is one of the safest, most effective, and most common operations performed in the United States. Around ninety percent of cataract cases report having better vision afterward.
What Does Cataract Surgery Involve?
The cataract surgeon in Los Angeles and Orange County replace the clouded lenses with intraocular lenses (IOLs). These lenses let patients receive clear vision again, usually with very limited requirements for contact lenses and eyeglasses. The procedure is carried out in thirty minutes and doesn’t require sutures.
What Happens After Cataract Surgery?
After your cataract surgery in Los Angeles or Orange County, you’ll most probably wait in a recovery room until the anesthesia starts to wear off. Even though you feel good enough to drive yourself home, the eye doctors will be strongly against this idea and recommend to all their patients to have a friend or family member drive them home after cataract surgery.
Besides the side effects of anesthesia, many people have clouded vision right after cataract surgery, which is the reason why doctors suggest you have someone else drive you home as a safety precaution.
Additionally, having a friend or family member by your side before the procedure is a good way to help you calm any nerves you may have. Also, this friend or family member can stay with you for the rest of the day as you recover.
You shouldn’t eat or drink before the surgery. Your cataract surgeon will inform you on how many hours before surgery you should stop eating and drinking. Furthermore, don’t forget to remove any contact lenses before surgery, and also removing make-up is highly recommended.
How To Take Care Of Your Eyes After Cataract Surgery?
Once you arrive home after cataract surgery, you should just take it easy. Get as much rest as you can. Eye doctors even tell their patients to take a nap when they get home if they can. If you see any bruising around the eye from the anesthesia, or popped blood vessels from the pressure your eyes went through, don’t be concerned. These side effects should go away on their own within a few days.
After you’ve had a good rest of at least a couple of hours at home, you can go ahead and watch some television, bathe or shower, and work on the computer. However, you should avoid swimming pools and hot tubs for up to one week. Over the next few weeks, you shouldn’t do activities that may result in getting dirt or dust in your eyes, such as dusting or gardening.
Furthermore, doctors usually advise patients to avoid cooking for at least a week after cataract surgery. The reason being is that cooking could irritate your eyes as they recover from cataract surgery. As you cook, steam and water could get to your eyes. Although this is not something you would normally be concerned about, it’s important that your eyes don’t become wet for a week after cataract surgery. Plus, patients are also told to avoid extreme heat, something that exists when cooking. Because of the above explanations, you shouldn’t cook for at least a week after cataract surgery.
Make Sure To Take Your Medications
If your eye doctor prescribed antibiotic eye drops, take them for the entire course as prescribed, even if your eyes feel normal. The eye drops help the healing process and help hinder infection. You’ll have to attend several visits with your ophthalmologist in the next few days and weeks after cataract surgery. Your doctor will examine your eyes to confirm that everything is healing as expected. Also, you will be fitted with a new pair of glasses, if you need them.
You should do your best to follow the instructions above to make sure your cataract surgery goes ahead smoothly without or with very few complications to worry about. This will help you recover much faster and help you get back to your normal routine quicker. If you have any particular questions about getting over cataract surgery, the teams at Excel Laser Vision Institute’s Los Angeles and Orange County clinics are ready and happy to answer them.
The Cataract surgeon in Los Angeles and Orange County tells us that there is a natural lens inside our eyes. This lens bends (refracts) light rays that enter the eye to help us see. As any eye doctor can tell you, the lens should be clear.
What Are The Vision Problems You Can Experience With Cataracts
When there is a cataract in the eye, the lens becomes cloudy. The person affected by the cataract may describe how they see as if they are looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Objects appear blurry, hazy, or less colorful with a cataract.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cataracts?
Below are some vision changes you may observe if you have a cataract:
You see a double or a ghosted image out of the eye with cataract
Feeling extra sensitive to light (particularly with oncoming headlights at night)
Having problems seeing well at night or requiring more light when you read
You see bright colors as faded or yellow instead
If you notice these cataract symptoms, talk to your cataract surgeon in Los Angeles or Orange County.
What Causes Cataracts?
The cataract surgeons in Los Angeles inform us that aging is the most common cause of cataracts. This is because of normal eye changes that start to occur after 40. Around this time, normal proteins in the lens begin to break down. This is what the best laser eye surgeon say causes the lens to get cloudy. People who are over the age of sixty usually begin to have some clouding of their lenses. Nevertheless, vision issues may not occur until years later.
Here are a few other reasons why you may get cataracts:
You have parents, brothers, sisters, or other family members who have cataracts.
You have particular medical problems, such as diabetes.
You have had an eye injury, eye surgery, or radiation treatments on your upper body.
You have spent a lot of time in the sun, especially without sunglasses that protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays
You use certain medications, such as corticosteroids, which may cause the early formation of cataracts.
Most age-related cataracts develop slowly. Other types of cataracts can progress more quickly. For instance, those in younger people or those in people with diabetes. Doctors cannot foresee how quickly a person’s cataract will develop.
You Can Slow Down The Advancement Of Cataracts
You can probably decelerate the development of cataracts. Doctors recommend that you should protect your eyes from sunlight. The best method to do this is with sunglasses. Wear sunglasses that block out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light rays. Also, you can wear eyeglasses that have a clear, anti-UV coating. Discuss with your ophthalmologist to find out more.
Typically, an eye doctor will examine and test your eyes to make a cataract diagnosis. This thorough eye exam includes dilation, which means the doctor will use eye drops to open up the pupils.
The ophthalmologist will examine the cornea, iris, lens, and the other areas located at the front of the eye. The special slit-lamp microscope makes it simpler to find abnormalities.
When your eye is dilated, the pupil is widened, the doctor can see the back of the eye more clearly. The doctor uses a slit lamp, an ophthalmoscope or both to look for signs of cataract. Also, an ophthalmologist will check for glaucoma and take a look at the optic nerve and retina.
Refraction and visual acuity test
This test checks the sharpness and clarity of a person’s vision. Each eye is tested on its own for the ability to see letters of varying sizes.
What Do Cataracts Look Like?
Cataracts appear in many different forms and develop for many various reasons. Here are a few types of cataracts.
Mature Cataract (Nuclear)
A mature cataract is when the cataract has become large and dense. When there is a mature cataract, the eye’s lens is opaque, which means you can’t see through it, and there is severely limited vision. This type of cataract is a nuclear cataract, which means it begins deep in the center of the lens (nucleus).
A congenital cataract is when it is found in a baby’s eye at birth. Children’s eyes and vision keep developing until they are about ten years old. If a congenital cataract is not treated early, a child’s vision can be affected for life.
Diabetic Snowflake Cataract
Individuals with diabetes mellitus are at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Uncontrolled levels of blood sugar cause changes in the eye’s lens. Normally, people with uncontrolled diabetes have a diabetic or “snowflake” cataract. The eye has a grayish-white starburst or snowflake appearance.
Also, a cataract can develop due to trauma to the eye, either by blunt force such as a blow to the eye or something that penetrates the eye. A cataract can be seen as the cloudy, white area in the middle of the eye, and part of the iris is separated (see the brownish-orange area on the right side). Thousands of eye injuries happen every day, yet nine out of ten of them are preventable by wearing proper safety eyewear.
After A Cataract Diagnosis, What Should I Do?
Have an eye exam every year if you’re older than 65, or every two years if younger.
Protect your eyes from UV light by wearing sunglasses that block at least 99 percent UV and a hat.
Quit smoking. Smoking is a main risk factor for cataracts.
When reading or doing other activities use brighter lights. If you want, you can also use a magnifying glass.
Do not drive at night when night vision, halos or glare become issues.
Take care of any other health issues, particularly diabetes.
Get suitable eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.
When it becomes difficult to complete your regular activities, think about cataract surgery.
Make an informed decision about cataract surgery. Have a discussion with your ophthalmologist about:
preparation for and recovery after surgery
advantages and possible complications of cataract surgery
cataract surgery costs
other questions you have
How Can You Treat Cataracts?
You can only get rid of cataracts through surgery. If you can live with your cataract symptoms, you may need a new eyeglass prescription to help you see better. It would be best to think about surgery when cataracts hinder you from doing your daily routine or things you want to do.
The cataract surgeon tells us that cataract surgery, also referred to as Phacoemulsification, is a fast and straightforward procedure. Typically, the eye surgery operation is a day case. When the patient arrives at the hospital or clinic, the surgical team will have to prepare his or her eyes for surgery.
This involves the eye surgeon putting some drops in the patient’s eyes to dilate his or her pupils to make them wider. Also, the patient is asked to sign some consent documents and is handed a surgical gown to wear.
How Long Is Cataract Surgery?
When the patient is in the operating theater, the cataract surgery takes about 15 minutes and he or she will be discharged from the hospital when they feel ready to leave. Your visit will take no longer than four hours.
An eye surgeon can perform cataract surgery using eye drops to numb the area or else under local anesthetic. If you have cataract surgery with eye drops only, your eye surgeon will advise you to wear a transparent shield over your eye until you arrive home.
If your eye surgeon uses a local anesthetic, you will have to wear an eye pad and a shield for a few more hours until the anesthetic wears off.
What Are The Side Effects Of Cataract Surgery?
Right after surgery, your eye will water and feel a little gritty. However, don’t worry because that is a normal side effect. Also, your vision will be slightly blurred, and your eye may also feel sensitive to light and look red or bloodshot.
The drops that were used to dilate your pupils before surgery, will take at least 24 hours to wear off. During this time, don’t be alarmed if you notice your pupil is larger than average. Additionally, your vision will be blurred while you wait for the drops to wear off.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Cataract Surgery?
Again, don’t freak out if your vision seems cloudy, distorted, or blurry when your cataract surgeon first takes off the eye shield. It can take a while for your visual system to get used to the removal of the cataract and get familiar with the intraocular lens used to replace the eye’s natural lens.
Some patients have claimed to see “wavy” vision or distortions during this familiarization period. This phenomenon, if it exists, should only last for about an hour.
Furthermore, red and bloodshot eyes are common because of the temporary damage to blood vessels on the white part of the eye (sclera) during cataract surgery. While the eye heals, the redness should disappear within several days. If the eye surgeon administered an injection of anesthesia through the skin into the lower portion of your eye, you may see some bruising that looks like a black eye. Again, this will also fade within a few days.
Most patients say their vision clears up within several hours after cataract surgery. However, everyone heals differently, and you may require at least a week or two before you see images in their sharpest focus.
Typically, you will have a follow-up appointment with your cataract surgeon the day after the procedure to ensure there are no complications. Also, if you feel pain or immense discomfort in the days following the visit, you should let your eye surgeon know.
Occasionally, some patients make known to their eye doctor some dry eye or “scratchiness” after cataract surgery. These feelings should lessen as the eye heals unless the person already had issues with dry eyes before having the procedure.
A complete cataract surgery recovery should happen within around a month when the eye is entirely healed.
What Are The Best Ways To Help Cataract Recovery?
Surprisingly, many patients feel very good and find they can easily get back to their normal activities even the day after cataract surgery.
Nevertheless, you should pay attention to a few preventive measures during the first week to guarantee you avoid any complications during your cataract surgery recovery.
Typically, your cataract surgeon will prescribe antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection, and anti-inflammatory eye drops to help lessen any internal inflammation. You have to apply the eye drops several times daily for at least the first week following surgery.
Revolving around how much postoperative inflammation you have, you may require the drops for a few weeks to a month. It’s recommended to use these drops precisely as prescribed.
For instance, oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen may be prescribed, if required. Normally, however, you should feel a little discomfort after cataract surgery.
To make sure you have a safe and quick recovery, read the advice below.
- Avoid driving on the first day following surgery – You should talk to your eye doctor about when you can safely get back behind the wheel since it’s all based on your recovery.
- Don’t do any strenuous activities for a few weeks – Don’t do any rigorous exercise and activities that involve heavy lifting for a few weeks to reduce the possibility of increased eye pressure. The reason being is that high eye pressure can disrupt the incision before it completely heals. You should avoid getting into positions that place your head below your waist. For instance, bending over can increase eye pressure and should be avoided immediately after surgery.
- Avoid Pools And Shower Carefully – After cataract surgery, exposing your eyes to water increases your risk of infection. So, do your best to avoid pools and shower carefully until your eye has healed completely. Most eye surgeons will recommend giving yourself at least one night of sleep before showering and don’t allow a stream of water to hit your eye directly. You should ask your doctor when it is safe to start swimming or using a hot tub. In many instances, you will resume these activities within a few weeks.
- Protect Yourself From Irritants And Other Trauma – When you arrive home from your cataract surgery, it is normal to feel that you have an object in your eyes such as a particle of sand or an eyelash. Overall, expect your eyes to feel sensitive to the environment for about a week after surgery. It’s a good idea to get wraparound sunglasses to protect yourself from exposure to dust, pollen, and dirt, and these sunglasses will help with sensitivity to light.
Additionally, your eye doctor will provide you with an eye shield for you to put on while sleeping during your recovery time to prevent you from rubbing or touching your eyes.
Abide By Your Cataract Surgeon’s Orders
You should ask your doctor about precautions you can take, such as the ones listed above, and the appropriate timelines for getting back to normal activities. Also, you should contact your cataract surgeon right away if you experience any of the following symptoms after your cataract surgery:
- Vision loss
- Spots (floaters) or flashes in your vision
- Eye pain
- Nausea, vomiting, or excessive coughing
Make sure to follow the dosage instructions of the prescribed medications, such as eye drops or pain relievers. Every patient and every eye has particular requirements, so your eye doctor will give the best directions for a successful recovery.
On the whole, you can carry out these activities within a couple of hours of your surgery:
- Computer work
- Light TV watching
- Showering or bathing
To get the best cataract surgery recovery results ever possible, make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on how to protect your eye following your procedure. Typically, these instructions are provided to you as a handout that you can take home on surgery day.
If you require cataract surgery in both eyes, your eye surgeon will usually wait about a couple of days to two weeks for your first eye to recover before performing a procedure on the second eye.
Cataract surgery and LASIK eye surgery are two different methods to correct the eye, and no matter whether the procedure is performed at the LASIK Orange County clinic or somewhere else in the world, these two procedures will ultimately improve a person’s vision. Nevertheless, their similarity ends there, seeing that LASIK and cataract surgery are two separate procedures that fix two completely different eye health issues.
LASIK repairs vision issues such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea of the eye. On the contrary, cataract surgery enhances vision by replacing the eye’s lens that has become cloudy because of aging or other factors.
What would happen if you both have these vision issues? Due to the fact that both surgeries would change the eyes dramatically, someone might believe that they only have to select one of the above to avoid any future complications.
Can You Undergo Cataract Surgery After LASIK Surgery?
You are probably dying to ask a LASIK surgeon like Doctor Moosa if you had LASIK surgery as a young adult, are you eligible for cataract surgery later in life? And the answer is yes, you can. If you are someone who has had LASIK, you can indeed have cataract surgery, if needed, in the future. However, this can only happen in this order. However, someone who has had cataract surgery, in many instances, is no longer eligible for LASIK or other refractive surgeries.
The Differences Between LASIK Surgery And Cataract Surgery?
To get a better awareness of the reason behind the fact that someone can have cataract surgery after LASIK surgery, it’s important to understand how both procedures work.
LASIK eye surgery and other refractive surgeries are carried out on the cornea, which is the dome-shaped, clear tissue that is on the front of the eye. During LASIK eye surgery, a laser changes the shape of the cornea so it refracts, or bends, light waves more accurately onto the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back inner portion of the eyeball), giving the outcome of clearer vision.
On the other hand, cataract surgery is performed on the eye’s natural lens, which is positioned just behind the iris (the colored part of the eye). The lens’s job is to focus the light that goes through the eye onto the retina to create a sharp, crisp image.
A healthy lens should be transparent and clear. Patients who have cataracts experience a clouding of the lens which disrupts normal vision. When a cataract surgeon performs cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic lens, enhancing the clarity of a person’s vision.
Cataract Surgery Without Having Had LASIK
During cataract surgery, an artificial replacement lens is created to correct vision and replace prescription glasses. For patients who have not had refractive surgery, vision correction through cataract surgery is usually very straightforward and has a foreseeable outcome.
Once cataract surgery is completed, many patients experience clear distance vision without requiring eyeglasses, even though many will still require their reading glasses.
Cataract Surgery After LASIK Surgery
Nowadays, LASIK surgery is performed using modern equipment that takes precise measurements of the eyes. Nevertheless, it is still highly advisable for individuals who have had LASIK surgery to let their eye surgeon know all of their previous eye health history so that the correct lens implant be used for cataract surgery. If you don’t have any records of your previous eye health history, you can request them from the doctor who performed your LASIK surgery. If you can’t get these records, cataract surgery is still an option, however, the postoperative refractive error may not be as certain.
What Is LASIK Surgery?
Many people know LASIK surgery as a laser refractive surgery that helps to correct vision problems. LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a common alternative to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.
During LASIK surgery, an eye surgeon uses a special type of cutting laser to precisely reshape the dome-shaped clear tissue at the front of the eye (cornea) to enhance vision.
When eyes have normal vision, the cornea bends (refracts) light accurately onto the retina at the back of the eye. However, with nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), or astigmatism, the light is bent the wrong way, and as a result of this, a person experiences a blurred vision.
A person can wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct their vision, but changing the shape of the cornea will also give the refraction needed for better, clearer eyesight.
Why Is LASIK Surgery Performed?
When a person asks for LASIK eye surgery cost, they may be looking into correcting one of these vision problems:
Nearsightedness (myopia). When a person’s eyeball is slightly longer than normal or when the cornea curves too strongly, light rays focus in front of the retina and blur distant vision. The person can see objects that are close very clearly, but not those that are far away.
Farsightedness (hyperopia). When a person has a shorter than average eyeball or a cornea that is too flat, light focuses behind the retina rather than on it. This makes near vision and in some instances distant vision, blurry.
Astigmatism. When the cornea curves or flattens unevenly, a person experiences astigmatism, which interrupts the focus of near and distant vision.
What Are the Risks Of LASIK?
It is very rare for someone to experience loss of vision because of LASIK surgery. However, there are specific side effects of LASIK eye surgery, especially dry eyes and temporary visual issues such as glare are pretty common.
These side effects usually go away after a few weeks or months, and very few people think of them as being a long-term issue.
Here are a few side effects to expect after LASIK surgery.
- Dry eyes
- Glare, halos and double vision
- Under corrections
- Flap problems
- Vision loss or changes
If you are thinking about LASIK surgery, you most likely wear spectacles or contact lenses. Contact the professional eye care team at Excel Laser Vision Institute, which will guide you through LASIK surgery, cataract surgery, and any other type of refractive procedure that will work best for you.