Nearly 4 million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States each year. Around 130 million living people are benefiting from this procedure today. Although it’s a widely performed and low-risk surgery, it’s no secret that the idea of eye surgery can be intimidating.
Every patient should be fully empowered with all the necessary information about their options for cataract surgery, including what the procedure entails and what you can expect.
To help you feel more comfortable going into the surgery, we’ve put together a guide on everything you need to know about getting cataract surgery in Las Vegas, including the top five most important questions to ask beforehand.
Cataract Surgery in Las Vegas: Everything You Need to Know
A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Over time, it can block vision — even leading to blindness. In fact, it’s the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 55.
When the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, it’s difficult to focus light onto the retina. This can lead to blurry vision and other visual symptoms such as glare and halos when looking at bright lights. It can make simple daily tasks, like reading or driving, nearly impossible.
While the effects can be challenging to live with, solutions for cataracts are widely available. Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear, artificial lens, restoring vision.
You may need cataract surgery if you notice that your cataracts interfere with your day-to-day life. Removing cataracts may also help your doctor examine your eyes for other conditions, like age-related changes in the retina or diabetic retinopathy.
5 Cataract Surgery Questions to Ask
Before the surgery itself, you’ll have a chance to sit down with your surgeon for a pre-operative consultation. This is an opportunity to address any questions or concerns you have. Educating yourself on the procedure and what you can expect may help ease any lingering anxiety before you step into the operating room.
Not sure where to start? Here are five questions to ask before getting cataract surgery:
1. What Type of Lenses Would Work Best for Me?
After the clouded lens is removed, you have the option of a few different types of lenses. There are three main types:
- Monofocal. These lenses are the most common, allowing you to improve vision at a set distance — most commonly used for far distances.
- Multifocal. These lenses allow you to see at any distance and are most often used when a patient is getting cataract surgery in both eyes.
- Accommodative lenses. Recently introduced, these lenses can help the eye see clearly at all distances, but near sight may not compare to the other lenses.
2. Is Now the Right Time for Cataract Surgery?
If you have cataracts, you may benefit from cataract surgery. However, not everybody will get the surgery right away.
This is your chance to have a conversation with your eye doctor about whether or not to consider surgery right now — or whether it should be a future operation. Depending on the condition of your eyes, the severity of your cataracts, and the way it’s affecting your day-to-day life, your doctor should be able to provide advice about when the right time would be for you.
3. What Can I Expect From the Procedure?
In most cataract surgeries, you’ll be awake the whole time. However, your doctor will numb your eye so that you won’t feel pain. In some cases, you’ll get medication to help you relax.
During the surgery, which usually takes less than an hour, the surgeon makes a small incision in the front of the eye. Through this cut, they use a tool to break up the cataract and gently remove it. Then, they put in a new lens and close the incision.
Good questions to ask your doctor can include:
- Does your procedure use a laser?
- How long will the procedure last?
- Will I be awake the whole time?
- What kind of numbing will be used?
- Should I expect any pain or discomfort?
Knowing the answer to these questions can ease some of your concerns. You’ll know exactly what the surgery will be like and what you can expect going in.
4. How Do I Prepare for Cataract Surgery?
Your doctor can also tell you precisely what you can expect for the weeks and days leading up to the surgery — and what you need to do to prepare.
Typically, your doctor will do a test before the surgery to examine the shape of your eye and determine the right lens for you. They may also ask you to stop taking certain medications or take special eye drops.
Most importantly, you should be arranging a ride home and preparing for the recovery process.
5. What Does the Recovery Process Look Like?
You can expect to start seeing better one to three days post-surgery for the typical recovery process, with full benefits after a few weeks. You shouldn’t feel any pain, but you may feel discomfort in your eye.
After the surgery, your doctor may send you home with a bandage or eye patch to keep you from touching your eye. You may also get eye drops to help the eye heal. Your vision may be blurry, and you might experience some strain for the first few days, but most people can return to their usual routine quickly.
What to Ask Before Cataract Surgery
Speaking to your doctor won’t just give you peace of mind about the procedure — it can also help you better prepare for the pre-operative process and your recovery. Once the procedure is finished and your eyes have had a chance to heal, you can get back to doing all the activities you love. If you’re considering cataract surgery and are in search of an eye doctor to discuss some questions you have, we’re here to talk. Schedule a consultation with Brimhall Eye Center today to learn more about our Las Vegas center’s successful laser-assisted cataract surgery and dropless cataract surgery.