Let’s talk a little about cataract surgery. What it is, what treatment options are available, and what you can expect.
What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is an operation to remove your eye’s lens when it is cloudy. The purpose of your lens is to bend (refract) light rays that come into the eye to help you see. Your own lens should be clear, but with a cataract it is cloudy. Having a cataract can be like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things may look blurry, hazy or less colorful. The only way to remove a cataract is with surgery. Dr. Crandall will recommend removing a cataract when it keeps you from doing things you want or need to do.
During cataract surgery, your cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. That lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL).
Thankfully, advancements in lens technology have allowed us to provide lens options to patients that can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses. Your insurance will cover the standard lens and if you qualify for an upgraded lens like a Toric or Restore, Dr. Crandall will present these options to you. Insurance does not cover these upgrades so there will be an out of pocket cost.
A note about iStent
Some patients that are eligible for cataract surgery and have glaucoma, may qualify for an iStent implant. This tiny device can reduce the need for glaucoma drops and help keep your pressures lower. Read about iStent here.
What to expect with cataract surgery
Where Dr. Crandall operates
Dr. Crandall performs surgeries at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup, GA, as well as Seaside Surgical in Brunswick, GA. This allows patients options to fit their lifestyle and budget. Typically an ASC like Seaside Surgical has less out of pocket expenses compared to Hospitals. This is a huge benefit in today’s high-deductible plan environment. Depending on your health risk, surgery performed at Wayne Memorial Hospital may be a better option for you. Dr. Crandal and our surgical staff will discuss these options with you during your scheduling process. Both facilities offer excellent care and staff that exemplify our “Souther Hospitality” motto.
Our office will measure your eye to set the proper focusing power of your IOL. Also, you will have a detailed history gathered so we can decide what medicines or changes are needed in order to
move forward with your surgery. For patients that are high-risk, we will coordinate with your primary care Doctor or specialist to get surgery clearance before we proceed.
During your scheduling, you will be prescribed eye drop medicines to start before surgery. These medicines help prevent infection and reduce swelling during and after surgery.
The day of surgery
Dr. Crandall will ask you to not eat any solid food at least 6 hours before your surgery.
Here’s what will happen during your surgery:
- Your eye will be numbed with eye drops or with an injection around the eye. You may also be given a medicine to help you relax.
- You will be awake during the surgery. You may see light and movement during the procedure, but you will not see what the doctor is doing to your eye.
- Dr. Crandall will enter into the eye through tiny incisions near the edge of the cornea (the clear covering on the front of your eye). Dr. Crandall uses these incisions to reach the lens in your eye. Using very small instruments, Dr. Crandall will break up the lens with the cataract and remove it. Then your new lens is inserted into place.
- Usually, your surgeon will not need to stitch the incisions closed. These “self-sealing” incisions eventually close by themselves over time. A shield will be placed over your eye to protect it while you heal from surgery.
- You will rest in a recovery area for about 15-30 minutes. Then you will be ready to go home.
Days or weeks after surgery
- You will have to use eye drops after surgery. Be sure to follow your doctor’s directions for using these drops. At Crandall Eye, we have compiled a Drop Checksheet to help you keep track!
- Avoid getting soap or water directly in the eye.
- DO NOT rub or press on your eye. Dr. Crandall will ask you to wear eyeglasses or a shield to protect your eye.
- You will need to wear a protective eye shield when you sleep.
- Dr. Crandall will talk with you about how active you can be after surgery. She will tell you when you can safely exercise, drive or do other activities.
Cataract surgery will not restore vision lost from other eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy.
What are the risks of cataract surgery?
Like any surgery, cataract surgery carries risks of problems or complications. Here are some of the risks:
- Eye infection.
- Bleeding in the eye.
- Ongoing swelling of the front of the eye or inside of the eye.
- Swelling of the retina (the nerve layer at the back of your eye).
- Detached retina (when the retina lifts up from the back of the eye).
- Damage to other parts of your eye.
- Pain that does not get better with over-the-counter medicine.
- Vision loss.
- The IOL implant may become dislocated, moving out of position.
Your vision could become cloudy or blurry weeks, months or years after cataract surgery. This is not unusual. If you notice cloudy vision again, you might need to have a laser procedure. Called a posterior capsulotomy, this procedure helps restore clear vision.
Dr. Crandall will talk with you about the risks and benefits of cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is when your eye’s cloudy lens is removed to restore clear vision. During cataract surgery, your natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. That lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL).
For a list of services.
If you have any questions about your vision, speak with Dr. Crandall. She is committed to protecting your sight.
Cataract surgery video
See the video below, provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.