Your Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is done at a surgery center, with no overnight hospital stay.
On the day of surgery, we ask you to keep an empty stomach (don’t eat or drink), and arrive 1 to 2 hours before surgery so we can get you ready for the procedure. The surgery itself lasts about 30 minutes. You will be discharged (leave the surgery center) within 1 hour after surgery. The eye that had surgery is usually dilated, and you may feel a little more drowsy than usual from the anesthesia, so you need someone to drive you home after surgery.
Cataract surgery is done with local anesthesia (numbing drops in your eye) and a light sedative (we don’t have to put you fully to sleep). You are generally very relaxed and comfortable. An anesthesiologist will be with you during the procedure to help ensure your safety and comfort.
During the surgery, your doctor makes a tiny incision at the side of your eye. A small probe with ultrasound (sound waves) is used to break up the cataract. The cloudy tissue is removed with suction. The lens sac is left in place, and the new artificial lens (IOL) rests in that lens sac. You usually wear a protective shield over your eye for a few days to 1 week after surgery.
Recovering from Cataract Surgery
On the day of your surgery, please plan to rest after the procedure. We’ll send you home with care instructions.
Recovering from cataract surgery usually takes just a few days. Please do not lift heavy objects or do other vigorous activities (if you have questions, ask your ophthalmologist).
You might have minor discomfort as your eye heals. You will have instructions on caring for your eye, using drops and pain medication and calling our office if necessary. You see your ophthalmologist 1 or 2 days after surgery and have other appointments a few days or weeks after the procedure. Your doctor will check to make sure your eye is healing correctly.
If you need cataract surgery on your other eye, you usually have this done about a month after the first surgery, so the first eye has time to heal. Our staff can help you schedule this at the most convenient time.
Your New Glasses Prescription
If you will wear glasses after cataract surgery for distance vision or reading, your doctor will give you a new prescription after your eyes heal. Your old glasses won’t be as comfortable as before, but you can use them until you get the new prescription.
Looking for a new pair of prescription, reading, or sports glasses? Visit the Sight Shop, conveniently located next to your doctor’s office. Our highly trained, board-certified opticians are part of Oregon Eye Specialists and work directly with your doctor. With the Sight Shop, you can be sure your prescription is just what the doctor ordered.
Cataract Surgery Risks
Cataract surgery is very common, and is a safe procedure for most people. Complications (problems) with cataract surgery are rare, but every surgery has some risk.
More serious risks of cataract surgery include:
- Retinal detachment
- Natural lens material left inside the eye
- Reaction to sedative or anesthesia used in surgery
- Vision loss
Less serious risks include:
- Needing glasses or contacts after cataract surgery
- Droopy eyelid
- Dry eye or eye irritation
- More floaters (small spots in your vision)
- Double vision
- Seeing abnormal light reflections
You might have other risks depending on your health, eye condition, or other factors. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your ophthalmologist, technician, or other staff member.
A common complication after cataract surgery is clouding of the back of the eye’s natural lens – the part that was left in your eye to support your new artificial lens. This is called posterior capsule opacification (PCO) or secondary cataract.
If this happens, your doctor treats it with a short, painless procedure. Using a specialized laser, the doctor makes a small opening in the cloudy tissue. This restores your vision.