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Going ahead with cataract surgery? Here’s what you must know.

  • If you have been diagnosed with a cataract, you must know that it’s almost never an emergency condition. The timing of surgery is largely decided by the patient, depending on how severely the cataract is affecting the quality of vision and quality of life. You can schedule your surgery based on your personal commitments.

  • Cataract can be surgically removed in two ways - either with a manual removal of the entire lens(MSICS) or with the use of ultrasound energy that breaks up the nucleus (phacoemulsification). 

  • Phacoemulsification, popularly known as ‘laser’ cataract surgery actually uses ultrasonic power. No laser is used to remove the cataract.

  • Femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery, a fairly recent technique, involves cutting edge technology wherein a laser is actually used during the phacoemulsification procedure. It is reported to be even more precise in achieving excellent post operative outcomes.

  • Any other medical condition such as diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction etc. that you may be suffering from should be well controlled before the cataract surgery.

  • If you are on any other medications that you’re taking regularly, they should not be discontinued. 

  • However, if you are on Aspirin or any blood thinners, it is possible that you will need to discontinue these 3-4 days before surgery after consultation with your cardiologist. After the surgery, as per your treating consultants advise you’re required to restart these.

  • If you find you have cold, cough, fever, burning urination or any new symptoms, notify your ophthalmologist and reschedule the surgery.

  • Allergies, if any, should be notified to your doctor.

  • All preoperative eye drops should be bought well in advance.

  • Go through the consent form thoroughly with your relatives prior to signing it. 

  • A thorough face wash and hair wash prior to the surgery is mandatory.

  • For Phacoemulsification the eye is anesthetized in two ways either an injection given around the eye (peribulbar) or by merely instilling drops in the eye (drop anesthesia/topical anesthesia). 

  • The surgery should be complete well within 30 mins.

  • The surgery will take place in the operating theatre which is rather cold. Through the entire procedure there will be a sheet covering your face in order to maintain sterility. However, you’ll be able to communicate with your surgeon throughout the surgery. It is likely that you’ll hear certain sounds (machines) as well as observe certain visual phenomenon during the surgery. 

  • If you’re given the injection anesthesia your eyes will be patched for the first 4-6 hours. If it is done under ‘drop anesthesia’, the patient goes home with protective glasses and the drops are started immediately.

  • Undergoing cataract surgery with drop anesthesia has certain advantages – patient starts seeing immediately and there is no periocular pain.

  • The surgery irrespective of the technique will involve removal of the cataract and the insertion of a foldable intraocular lens within the eye.

  • An intraocular lens once inserted into your eye is permanent for your entire lifetime.

  • Cataract cannot be treated with eye drops surgery is the only option. In our opinion, there are no known drops can reverse or reduce the progression of cataract. The only definitive cure is surgery.

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