My eye doctor had been telling me for several years that I had cataracts in both eyes, and needed cataract surgery. I found that I felt uncomfortable with night driving, so I usually asked my wife to drive at night. When entering a store such as Walmart, with hundreds of overhead fluorescent lights, I noticed a white haze. Lights at night would have halos surrounding them. In my eye with the worst cataract, I could not even see the large “E” at the top of the eye chart. I could still distinguish colors and shapes but few details. I decided that since that eye was not really helping much, I would chance the cataract surgery. I am always very reluctant to have elective surgery. I thoroughly research the possible risks and complications first.
Cataract Surgery Rates High in Patient Satisfaction
I found that eye cataract surgery is one of the most successful types of surgery. The surgeon removes the cataract , which means the clouded and discolored lens and replaces it with a near, intermediate or far distance plastic lens. I chose the far distance lens. I fail to understand why anyone would want a near distance lens. It seems that would be like wearing reading glasses at all times. According to information provided by my surgeon, most complications from cataract surgery are treatable. The two complications most likely to result in loss of vision, severe infection and severe hemorrhage, happen in only about 3/10 of one percent of the surgeries. I decided this was definitely a reasonable risk.
Complications from Cataract Surgery are Around 5% and Most are Treatable
According to an About Cataract Surgery.com article, “Cataract Surgery complications and problems after Cataract removal are generally pretty rare and are [u]sually less than 5% in an otherwise healthy group of patients.” This article also gives detailed information about possible complications.
This About Cataract Surgery.com article gives details about the symptoms and types of cataracts.
The second article photo is of cataract surgery..
Friends who have had cataract surgery told me it was practically painless, during and after the operation. I found it hard to believe that invasive surgery could be completely painless afterward.
I was given 3 bottles of eye-drops. Two kinds would be used three times daily beginning 7 days before surgery. A third kind, an antibiotic, would be added 3 days before surgery. Three days before surgery, I was to also use an over-the-counter eyelid cleansing pad before bedtime.
I could consume no food or water after midnight, the day before the surgery. The morning of the surgery, I could take only 2 medications with a sip of water.
It was not Necessary to Stop My Coumadin
I take Coumadin to prevent blood clots, so I assumed I would be asked to stop the Coumadin 3 days before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding, but my doctor said he could use a surgical technique which would cause very little bleeding, so stopping the Coumadin would be unnecessary.
I arrived at the clinic 1 1/2 hours before the scheduled surgery. I was placed on a gurney-type bed with an elevated headrest. The nurse asked me my name, date of birth and which eye would be operated on. I was glad of this because I have read of cases where operations are performed on the wrong body part and even on the wrong person. I received a series of eye-drops in an hourly period. A port was inserted in my wrist for administering drugs.
My anesthesiologist introduced herself and said I would be receiving a tranquilizer and very light sedation.
The nurse told me that the surgeon would arrive soon and then she inserted eye drops which “froze” or completely numbed my eye. The surgeon arrived and greeted me.
I was sedated very lightly so that I could still respond to any requests such as look straight ahead, etc. A large bandage was placed on my face with an opening to expose my eye. I know the surgeon made a small incision, which I did not feel. In a short time, he told me he was breaking up my old lens and removing it. I really appreciated the sound of his calm, reassuring voice. I like doctors who are empathetic. I had read that your vision in the eye would go black when the lens was removed and before the new one was inserted. That was not my experience. During most of the operation I kept seeing flashes of swirling lights which reminded me of photos I had seen of nebulae formations in outer space. A few minutes later he told me the operation was over and everything went fine.
After the operation, the bandage was removed and a patch placed over my eye. The doctor let me take a peek at the room first, with my new lens. The view was hazy but my sight was much better than before the operation.
My Eye Felt “Scratchy” the First Day but Fine the Second Day
My instructions were to take the patch off in 4 hours and start using eye drops 3 times daily for a week. My eye felt “scratchy” the rest of the day, but by the next morning the scratchiness was gone. I did not need any pain pills whatsoever.
I went to the doctor. the next day and all was well. I will go back in a week. Where I could not read the big “E” with that eye before the operation, I can now read down about 5 lines on the chart. I was told that my vision should improve some more as the slight swelling improves.
I Will Sleep for a Week with a Plastic Shield Taped Over My Eye For Protection.
Every night for a week, I must tape a clear plastic shield over my eye to protect it while sleeping and wear some form of glasses while awake for protection from injury.The shield has worked fine except one night I tried to take my shield off while sleeping. This woke me and I had to get up and re-tape it into position.
If and When I Have My Next Cataract Operation, I Will Be Much More Confident and Relaxed
I must admit that my experience conformed to the best-case scenario, but I still feel an immense sense of relief that the operation is over. With me, there is always the fear of the unknown. I have a cataract in the other eye, but my sight is still fairly good in that eye, so I plan to wait until the sight in that eye worsens considerably, before having the operation. The upside is, I now know what to expect, so the fear of the unknown will be gone.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, surgeon or health care professional of any kind. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not the purpose of this article to give medical advice. I am only relating my opinions and experiences and my opinions could be wrong. Any actions you take or do not take as a result of reading this article, you take at your own risk. Always seek advice from a doctor or health care professional before making any health care decisions.
Reviewed by Jason Jacobs MD & Paul Koch MD/”Symptoms and Types of Cataracts”/About Cataract Surgery.com
Reviewed by Jason Jacobs, MD & Paul Koch, MD/”Cataract Surgery Complications & Problems After Cataract Removal”/About Cataract Surgery.com