If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with severe cataracts, the next step is usually exploring cataract treatment options, including surgery. Any type of eye surgery can seem intimidating at first, and it’s natural to feel nervous before a cataract removal. You may even be wondering does cataract removal hurt? The good news is that cataract surgery does not hurt, and most people can’t feel anything beyond a mild sensation of pressure during their cataract procedure.
Understanding how simple, quick, and virtually painless cataract eye surgery is can help you feel comfortable and ready for your life-enhancing cataract removal.
How do I Know if I Have Cataracts?
Blurry, clouded vision is usually the first sign that you’ve developed eye cataracts. You may also experience light sensitivity, reduced color vision, difficulty seeing at night, and double vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to schedule a cataract screening with a trusted eye surgeon.
Your doctor will give you a thorough exam to determine if you have cataracts, what stage they’re at, and if cataracts treatment is necessary.
Cataracts can take away your freedom and independence. Cataract removal surgery is a great way to regain control of your life. While it may seem intimidating at first, cataract removal with an experienced surgeon is extremely safe and effective.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
Once you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, your surgeon will discuss your cataract treatment options with you. The surgery itself only takes around 15 minutes, and you can return home after it’s finished.
Before cataract removal, your surgeon will give you numbing eye drops or an anesthetic injection so you don’t feel any pain. They may also give you a mild sedative to help you stay calm and relaxed during your cataract procedure.
You’ll be awake during surgery, but you’ll experience little to no discomfort. A laser or surgical instrument will break up the eye cataracts and make it easier to remove them. Then, your surgeon will replace the clouded lens with an intraocular lens, also known as an IOL.
Since you’ll be awake for your cataract removal, your doctor will check in on you throughout the entire surgery. If at any point you experience slight discomfort, the surgical team can deliver medication to eliminate stress or pain.
Usually, the incision through which the intraocular lens is placed heals on its own without stitches. Your surgeon will bandage or shield your eye to keep it protected and help with proper healing.
What is the Recovery for Cataract Surgery?
The total recovery time for laser cataract surgery can be up to three months, but you can start to experience improved vision within a few days.
Once the numbing eye drops you were given begin to wear off, you might experience slight discomfort in your eye that can be helped with over-the-counter pain medication. It’s normal for your eye to feel itchy in the few days right after your surgery. As long as you avoid rubbing and putting pressure on the eye, it should continue to heal.
After your surgery, you will need to have someone drive you home, and it’s normal to feel groggy or tired for several hours post-surgery. Recovery time varies, but your surgeon will schedule a follow-up appointment the day after your surgery to make sure no complications have developed.
From there, you may have another check-up the following week or month depending on your healing progress. During your follow-up appointments, your doctor may prescribe treatments to help reduce eye pressure, prevent infection, or alleviate swelling.
As long as you follow the instructions provided by your doctor, then the recovery from your cataract removal should be relatively easy and pain-free. Be sure to discuss any concerns, discomfort, or pain that you experience during recovery with your doctor right when it happens.
When Can I Drive After Cataract Surgery?
Most patients can drive within 24 hours after their cataract removal, meaning you might be able to drive yourself to your follow-up appointment. However, this depends on the healing progress. Be sure you wait until you can see clearly and feel confident before you drive.
When Can I Return to Work?
Deciding when to return to work is up to your discretion. If you have a highly active job, you may need more rest than if you work at a desk most of the day. Most patients find that they can return to work within a couple of days following surgery.
You should consider your energy levels, comfort, and job requirements before deciding when to return to work.
When Will I Be Able to See Clearly?
You can typically see clearly within one to two days after your surgery, but in some cases, it can take a few weeks to a month to experience your clearest vision.
Binghamton Cataract Surgery
Dr. Sambursky and his team are the most advanced providers of vision correction surgeries in the Binghamton area and will customize your laser cataract surgery to help you experience your best vision possible. We will guide you through your cataract removal options to give you the peace of mind you need when choosing a cataract surgeon.