Terrified of Cataract Surgery? 13 Things to Know That Will Bring You Peace of Mind

Cataracts are a common eye condition that occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. The lens is normally clear and flexible, and it helps to focus light onto the retina at the back of the eye. However, as we age, the proteins in the lens can clump together, causing it to become cloudy. This cloudy lens can interfere with vision, making it difficult to see clearly.

Cataracts can develop slowly over time, and people may not notice any changes in their vision until the cataract has progressed significantly. Signs and symptoms of cataracts can include blurry or cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night or in low light conditions, sensitivity to light and glare, and yellowing or fading of colors.

Cataracts are a common condition, especially among adults over 60. Risk factors that can increase the development of cataracts include diabetes, smoking, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and certain medications such as steroids. In some cases, cataracts may also be present at birth or develop due to injury or disease. If left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness.

Fortunately, cataracts and the loss of vision they cause are treatable with a minimally invasive procedure, and most people experience significant improvements in their vision following the surgery. Cataract surgery is a common and highly effective procedure that can restore vision by replacing the cloudy natural lens with a new clear lens.

Despite its safety and success rate, many people feel nervous about the prospect of undergoing surgery on their eyes. So if you are feeling anxious, you’re not alone! Here are 13 things you should know that will bring you peace of mind and reduce anxiety associated with cataract surgery.

#1 Cataract surgery is a common and safe procedure

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the world, with millions of procedures performed each year in the United States. The surgery is safe and effective, with a success rate close to 100%. The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure in an accredited ambulatory surgery center, and you go home the same day.

#2 Cataract surgery is a painless procedure

One of the most common concerns people have about cataract surgery is whether it will be painful. The good news is that cataract surgery is a painless procedure. You’ll receive local topical anesthesia (eye drops) to numb your eye, so you won’t feel anything during the surgery.

#3 You won’t see anything during the surgery

During cataract surgery, you’ll be given light sedation to help you relax. You are technically still awake; however, you won’t be able to see anything during the surgery, and most people do not remember the procedure happening at all. This means that you won’t have to worry about seeing or feeling anything coming toward your face.

Dr. Chu performing surgery

#4 The surgery is quick

Cataract surgery is a quick procedure that typically takes around 10-15 minutes per eye. This means that you won’t have to spend a long time in the operating room, which can help ease any anxiety you might be feeling. And most people wake up from surgery within 15 minutes.

#5 You’ll be able to go home the same day

Because cataract surgery under local anesthesia is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, you’ll be able to go home the same day. You’ll need someone to drive you home, but you won’t have to spend the night in a hospital.

#6 You’ll need to take it easy for a few days after the surgery

While cataract surgery is a quick and safe procedure, you’ll need to take it easy for a short period after cataract surgery. After any surgery under local anaesthesia you should go home and rest. You’ll be given instructions on how to care for your eye after the surgery, and you’ll need to avoid activities that could put strain on your eyes, such as heavy lifting, to make sure the artificial lens stays in place. However, you should be able to return to most of your normal activities within a few days.

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#7 Your vision will improve quickly

After cataract surgery, your vision will begin to improve quickly. You may notice an improvement in your vision within hours of the surgery, and most patients should be able to return to most of their normal activities within a few days. It may take several weeks for your vision to fully stabilize and visual perception to become optimal.

#8 You’ll receive an eye shield to wear for a few days when you sleep

After cataract surgery, most surgeons want their patients to wear an eye shield while sleeping for a few days to protect their eye as it heals. At Chu Vision Institute, we provide you with a light-weight, plastic shield to cover your eye while you sleep to help you avoid unconscious rubbing. You will provides with instructions on how to wear the shield including when and how long you’ll need to wear it.

#9 Complications are rare

Complications from cataract surgeries are rare, but they can occur. The most common complication is a secondary cataract, which occurs when the back of the lens capsule becomes cloudy. This can be easily treated with a laser procedure called a YAG Capsulotomy. Other potential low risk complications include infection, bleeding, and swelling. The good news is the risk is very low for complications, especially when using an experienced surgeon, and your fear of surgery can be relieved.

#10 You’ll need to attend follow-up appointments

After your cataract surgery, you’ll need to attend follow-up appointments with your eye doctor to ensure that your eye is healing properly. These appointments are important to monitor your vision and ensure that any potential complications are caught early. Your doctor will let you know how often you need to come in for a follow up exam, but typically these appointments occur at 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month post-surgery.

#11 You may still need glasses after surgery

Cataract surgery can improve your vision significantly, but it may not completely eliminate your need for glasses. Depending on your specific situation and the type of intraocular lens (IOL) that is used during your surgery, you may still need glasses for certain activities, such as reading or driving at night. Your doctor will discuss your specific needs with you and help you determine whether you’ll need glasses after surgery. If you need a new glasses prescription, your doctor will provide it to you after your vision has stabilized.

#12 We are with you every step of the way

It’s completely normal to feel nervous or anxious about cataract surgery, and it’s important to talk to your doctor about any questions, concerns, or fears you may have about your upcoming surgery. By simply having a conversation, your doctor can provide you with knowledge and more information about the procedure that can help alleviate any fears you may have. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. At Chu Vision Institute, we provide pre-operative education and counselling to all of our patients and will spend as much time as they need answering questions and making sure they feel comfortable about their decision to have surgery.

#13 The benefits of cataract surgery outweigh the risks

While there are potential risks associated with any surgery, the benefits of improved eye health after cataract surgery far outweigh the risks for most people. Cataract surgery can significantly improve your vision and quality of life, allowing you to enjoy activities that you may not have been able to do for a long time, if at all. By taking the necessary precautions, following your doctor’s instructions, and maintaining routine comprehensive eye exams, you can help ensure a safe and successful surgery.

Dr. Chu sitting in front of a bookshelf

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Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can restore vision for those who are candidates for cataract surgery. While it’s normal to feel nervous about the procedure, there are several things you can do to ease your fears. By understanding what to expect during the surgery, following your doctor’s instructions, and asking questions, you can help ensure a successful surgery and a smooth recovery. Remember, the benefits of cataract surgery far outweigh the risks, and the procedure can greatly improve your vision and quality of life. You probably know someone who has had cataract surgery, too. Consider asking them about the experience.

Our mission at Chu Vision Institute is to improve the lives of our patients through advanced vision correction and cataract removal. Dr. Ralph Chu and our team of trained experts offer modern vision correction procedures to individuals aged 18-80 and beyond. We look forward to helping you enjoy life with the vision you deserve through our individualized approach to eye surgery. Chu Vision Institute, led by the world-renowned ophthalmologist, Dr. Ralph Chu, provides more FDA-approved vision correction procedures than anyone else in Minnesota. People from all over the country visit Chu Vision Institute to receive the most cutting-edge cataract surgery techniques from our physicians. Anxiety in patients undergoing cataract surgery is common, but we are here to help answer your questions and relieve any fears you may have about cataract treatment. Call our office today to schedule your consultation and be on your way to clear vision.

Dr. Ralph Chu LASIK surgeon Minneapolis Ophthalmologists

Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Ralph Chu is a fellowship-trained corneal specialist and a nationally recognized leader in refractive and cataract procedures. His specialty areas include cataract, LASIK, cornea, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries for patients in the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Twin Cities areas.

Posted on April 4, 2023

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