It is difficult to imagine anything more terrifying than going blind. So, it’s only natural to feel a little apprehensive when faced with the prospect of cataract surgery. However, there’s no need to worry — millions of people undergo this safe and effective procedure every year.
Cataracts can be a significant source of discomfort and distress, limiting your vision and giving the world a hazy look. Unsurprisingly, so many of us take comfort in cataract surgery procedures as effective treatments for this clouding of the eye’s lens. Many people receive successful vision improvement after surgery, but careful preparation for both surgeon and patient lies beneath the success.
Knowing what to do pre-operatively is critical to setting yourself up for a safe operation with rewarding results — which is precisely why we’ll discuss all you need to know to prepare for your cataract surgery, so you can get back to enjoying clear vision as soon as possible.
Book a consultation with Dr Jimmy Lim today.
How to Prepare for Cataract Surgery
Preparing for cataract surgery involves several steps to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly and that you have a successful outcome.
1. Consult with your Doctor
The first step in your cataract surgery journey is to find a reliable and experienced ophthalmologist. Consulting with a qualified ophthalmologist is essential in preparing for cataract surgery. The doctor will examine your eyes, assess the severity of your cataract, and evaluate your overall eye health to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery. They will also explain the risks and benefits of the procedure, discuss the different types of lenses available, and answer any questions you may have about the surgery. Choosing an ophthalmologist with a good reputation and a track record of successful cataract surgeries is crucial.
The ophthalmologist will also discuss the different surgical options available to you and explain the risks and benefits of each one. They may also tackle the different types of lenses available and help you choose the best option for your needs.
You can ask your eye doctor any questions or express any concerns about the surgery. They will provide information and support to help you feel comfortable and confident about the procedure. After your consultation, the doctor will provide detailed instructions on preparing for the surgery and what to expect during recovery.
Read: 6 Factors That Affect the Cost of Cataract Surgery in Singapore
2. Preoperative Assessments
After your first consultation with the eye doctor, you will need to undergo a battery of tests, medical examinations, and medical history interviews. These will help the doctor determine if you’re eligible for the surgery.
- General health assessment. Before any surgical procedure, the doctor will request an overall health status assessment. This will include a cardiology clearance and other tests to determine if you’re physically healthy to undergo the procedure.
- Medical history and medications. The doctor will ask you about your medical history and medications to determine whether your health conditions may affect your cataract surgery eligibility.
- Vision test. Then, the doctor will perform a vision test to determine the extent of your cataract and its impact on your vision. They may use a visual acuity chart or other diagnostic tools to evaluate your eyesight.
- Eye exam. The doctor will examine your eyes to check for other eye conditions that may hinder you from undergoing surgery. They may use a slit lamp to examine the structures of your eyes, including the cornea, iris, and lens. For more advanced customisation of the type of intraocular lens to be implanted to give the patient excellent postoperative outcome, the doctor will use equipment to measure the different parameters of the eye and use this information to perform calculations of the lens choice.
3. Follow Preoperative Instructions
Cataract surgery is one of the most performed surgeries, yet many people don’t know the full range of steps to take before undergoing such a procedure. While the physical operation is simple, it’s essential to understand the preoperative instructions you must follow for your cataract surgery to succeed.
Following these preoperative instructions is a crucial step in preparing for cataract surgery. Following these preoperative instructions can help ensure a successful cataract surgery and minimise the risk of complications.
Follow medication instructions. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, before the surgery. It is essential to follow these instructions carefully to reduce the risk of bleeding or any untoward side effects.
- Fast before surgery. You may be asked to fast for a certain period before the surgery, typically starting at midnight the night before the procedure. This is to ensure that your stomach is empty during the surgery.
- Avoid contact lenses. You may be asked to stop wearing contact lenses before the surgery, typically for 1-2 weeks. This ensures that your eyes are in their natural state and that the measurements taken during your preoperative exam are accurate
- Wear comfortable clothing. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing on the day of the surgery. Avoid clothing that is tight around the neck or waist.
- Bring a list of medications. You should bring a list of all medications you currently take, including over-the-counter medicines and supplements, to the surgery.
4. Arrange for Transportation
You will not be able to drive yourself home after the surgery, so it is vital to arrange for someone to drive you home. You may also need assistance with other tasks a few days after the surgery. Make sure that you have someone who will accompany you for the procedure.
In addition to arranging transportation, inform your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing. For example, various factors can cause dizziness and blurred vision. As a result, your doctor may need to adjust your treatment plan or take additional precautions during the surgery to ensure a safe outcome.
During the recovery period after cataract surgery, you may experience blurred vision as your eye heals. The doctor will provide specific post-operative instructions, including avoiding activities that could exacerbate these symptoms, such as driving or bending over.
If you continue to experience blurred vision after the surgery, contact your doctor immediately. They may need additional tests or adjust their treatment plan to ensure your eye is healing properly.
5. Make a Cataract Surgery Aftercare Plan
The surgery will take less than an hour, but the recovery process will take about a few weeks until you fully recover.
After your cataract surgery, following your doctor’s aftercare plan is vital to ensure a smooth and successful recovery. Here’s what you should do after the procedure.
- Avoid strenuous activity. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and other activities that could strain your eye for the first few days after surgery. Your doctor may also recommend avoiding swimming or other activities that expose your eye to water.
- Use prescribed medicines or eye drops. You will be prescribed medicines like eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation. It will also help promote faster healing. Make sure to follow the instructions and use them as directed.
- Go to follow-up check-ups. Your doctor will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your healing progress and ensure your eye is recovering properly. Be sure to attend all these appointments.
- Don’t rub your eyes. After cataract surgery, you need to avoid rubbing your eye because it can cause damage and delay healing. Also, don’t touch or rub your eye, even if it feels itchy or uncomfortable.
- Be cautious when going outdoors. The ultraviolet rays from the sun can be harmful to your healing eye. Wear sunglasses or a hat when you go outside.
Read: 7 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Cataracts
Overall, cataract surgery is a delicate procedure that requires special care and precautions after the surgery. You must follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and understand the advised activity limitations, such as avoiding driving or strenuous activity. Make sure to monitor your symptoms closely and detect any potential complications.
The journey of cataract surgery can initially seem intimidating, but one can achieve favourable results by taking the necessary time and effort in appropriate preparation. Cataract surgery can alleviate many bothersome symptoms caused by age-related vision loss and improve the quality of life for individuals with these conditions.
We hope this blog has enlightened you on preparing for your cataract surgery. These steps can help you prepare for cataract surgery and ensure a smooth and successful recovery. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider with any questions or concerns. Book a consultation with us to learn more about cataract surgery and its wide range of benefits.
Please schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about cataract surgery. Our medical director, Dr Jimmy Lim at JL Eye Specialists, will help tailor your treatment plan.