What Is A Cataract?
A cataract is a “clouding” of the eye’s natural lens, which results in blurred or defocused vision. Cataracts are typically an age-related condition, but many other factors can play a role in cataract development. If the cataract changes vision so much that it interferes with your daily life, the cataract may need to be removed, and surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. You can decide not to have the cataract removed, but your vision loss from the cataract will continue to get worse.
What Causes A Cataract?
Aside from age, there are many causes of cataracts, including but not limited to:
- Diseases such as diabetes
- Prolonged exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light
- Eye injuries
- Genetic Factors
What Are Symptoms Of Cataracts?
Not all cataracts impair vision or affect daily living. But when they do, common symptoms can include:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Double vision (diplopia)
- Poor night vision
- Colors appear faded
- Seeing halos around lights
- Increased sensitivity to glare
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
- Difficulty performing daily activities because of vision problems
These symptoms can indicate other eye problems that may also result in blindness if left untreated. If you have any of these symptoms, please call our office to schedule complete eye exam.
Once you have decided that cataracts are interfering with your ability to perform daily tasks and decreased your quality of life, considering cataract surgery is the next step. After seeing your ophthalmologist for a comprehensive dilated exam, and understand the benefits and risks of surgery, you can make an informed decision about whether cataract surgery is right for you
After the decision to move forward with cataract surgery has been made, there are several steps in the pre-operative process:
- A-scan. Measurements are needed to calculate the power of the lens that will be implanted once your cataract is removed. Both eyes are measured at this time to assure that your eyes are of equal length. This measurement testing, called an A-scan test, is done with a technician and takes about 60 minutes to complete.
- Lens Implant Consultation. You will meet with our surgical coordinator, either at the time of the A-scan testing or separately, to discuss lens implant options, financial obligations, go over before and after surgical instructions and decide on surgery date(s). This process takes about 30-60 minutes.
- Contact Lens Wearers. If you wear contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing soft lenses 2 weeks prior to the A-scan testing. Gas permeable contact wearers need to be out of their lenses 4 weeks prior to the A-scan.
- Medical Clearance. Prior to surgery, you will need to see your primary care doctor and/or cardiologist for medical clearance. This information is only good for 30 days from your first surgery. If you have not had an EKG in the past year, you will need to have this done. The surgery center requires this because you are given anesthesia.
- Pre-Operative Drops. You will start 2 sets of eye drops 2 days prior to surgery.
What Happens On The Day Of Surgery?
The doctors at Downers Grove Eye Center, PC use the Hinsdale Surgery Center located at 10 Salt Creek Lane, Suite 401, Hinsdale, Illinois, 60521.
- On the day of your surgery you will need to arrive approximately 60-90 minutes prior to surgery.
- The surgery itself lasts for 15-30 minutes, but you will be at the surgery center 3-4 hours in total.
- You should not wear any makeup or scented lotion on your face.
- You will need someone to drive you home. You cannot take a cab. The person who will be taking you home does not need to stay at the surgery center. They can drop you off and pick you up when you are done.
What Should I Expect After Surgery?
- The day of surgery you will go home with a patch on the surgical eye. We ask that you take it easy for the first day.
- You will have post-operative visits one day, one week and one month after your surgery.
- You will need a driver for your one (1) day post-operative appointment.
- At the one (1) week visit, your surgical eye will be dilated. Typically, patients can drive themselves to this appointment.
- At your one (1) month visit, your vision will be checked and a glasses prescription will be given if needed. These appointments can be anywhere from 60-90 minutes.
- You will be using 3 sets of eye drops after surgery. The drops will be used 1-4 times per day.
- You will sleep with a clear patch over your surgical eye for the first 10 nights after surgery.