According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness throughout the world. Cataracts account for more than 51 percent of blindness throughout the world.
When an eye doctor refers you for cataract surgery, it means that the cataract is affecting your daily life to a point where your eye doctor thinks it is necessary to remove the cataracts. This is done following a thorough assessment of the cataract lens. The typical procedure is to dilate your eyes and examine your lens under a microscope. A cataract surgery is typically an outpatient procedure performed by an Ophthalmologist, which takes about an hour.
Essentially, during a cataract surgery, your Ophthalmologist who is an eye surgeon will remove the lens, but they will keep the outer layer sack of your lens so that when they implant an artificial lens, it will sit within the sack. The lens that is going to be placed inside of your eye is called an intraocular lens (IOL).
Prior to the surgery, a number of different measurements will need to be taken and questions asked to ensure a successful surgery. A measurement of how long your eyeball is and the curvature power of your eye needs to be taken. Also, there are certain medications that must be taken prior to surgery.
There are several different types of IOLs that can be implanted into your eye.
You're going to need to take medications, such as antibiotics, and steroids, after cataract surgery. The purpose of steroids is just to make sure that everything is healing properly, and there are different follow-up treatment regimens.
In the beginning, you will visit your ophthalmologist the day after surgery, then one week, then one month, but then also depending on what your cataract surgeon sees during the follow-up visit, the Ophthalmologist may want to see you sooner or later.
Typically, it takes about 8 to 12 weeks to fully recover from cataract surgery. However, some patients see improvements in their vision almost immediately after surgery. You'll also be taking different medications. Over the course of treatment, they will be tapered at different points. Therefore, it's really important to follow through with your follow up appointment so that we can determine when you should take what medications.
Often times an optometrist can give help you identify the right surgeon and the correct timing for surgery. A medical optometrist will often also be able to provide pre and post operative care in coordination with your surgeon.