When you're scheduled for cataract surgery, your doctor will typically reassure you that this is a common, safe surgery and that the use of lasers makes it very consistent and precise. All of this is true. But if you're someone who tends to fear things you do not understand, you may want a bit more of an explanation of what, exactly, is going to happen during the operation. Read on to better prepare for your appointment.
Step 1: Dilation and Numbing
When you arrive for your surgery, your doctor will administer a series of eye drops. One eye drop will numb your eyes, and another will dilate your pupils, which just makes it easier to work on your eyes.
Step 2: Mapping the Eye
Once your eyes are numb, your eye surgeon will have you look into the laser device. You'll see flashing lights as it basically creates a map of your eye, noting its exact shape and size.
Step 3: Breaking up the Lens
After the laser creates a map of your eye, your surgeon will review some data and then use the laser's information to have it make a small incision right on the edge of your lens. After the incision is made, the laser device will typically emit some ultrasound waves to break up the cataract.
Step 4: Removing the Lens
Once the cataract is all broken into small pieces, your surgeon will use a specialized suction device to suck up all of the bits. This can feel a bit strange. You may notice some pressure as the lens is being removed, but you will not feel any pain, and this step only takes a couple of minutes, at most.
Step 5: Inserting the New Lens
With the old, cataract-ridden lens removed, your eye doctor can now put the new, artificial lens in place. During this step, you may again feel a little pressure on your eye, and as the lens is placed, you'll notice your vision start to return. In the weeks that follow, your eye tissue will heal around this lens and begin holding it securely in place.
Cataract surgery really is safe and simple. Now that you have a better idea of what's going to happen, you can relax and have a more pleasant experience. Don't be afraid to ask your eye surgeon questions throughout the process; most of them enjoy having curious patients.