Cataracts are one of those things that people assume happen much later in life, well into their golden years, but did you know it can start developing in your early 40s? Depending on how fast it progresses, you may be told you need surgery while still in middle age. If that sounds familiar and you’ve been told you need cataract surgery, there are some tips you can use to prepare yourself. Not only will this help to relieve any stress you may be feeling around the procedure, but it can also help ensure that you bounce back fast and get back to regular life.
What is a Cataract?
Unless you have been diagnosed with a cataract there’s a good chance you knew relatively little about the condition. It is something that can develop in your eye and result in your vision being foggy. If you’ve been told you need surgery, then there’s a good chance your vision is being negatively affected right now. It may be difficult to drive, which makes carting the kids around difficult, and you may have a hard time reading, which can affect your job.
When a cataract is mild it is usually treated with glasses, but because it worsens over time, this isn’t a permanent solution. Some of the things that can speed up the cataract and make it worse, thereby requiring surgery at a younger age, include diabetes, an eye injury, certain medications and even spending a lot of time in the sun without wearing high-quality sunglasses.
What’s Involved in the Surgery?
Being told you need surgery can be scary and alarming, but the good news is that cataract surgery is very common and will result in very little downtime. This is great news for people that need to bounce back fast.
Ophthalmology treatment is something that Circle Health Group specialises in, with over 500 ophthalmology consultants. They can discuss the entire process with you ahead of time so you know what to expect before the surgery, on the day of the surgery, and of course your recovery process. All treatments are patient-based so they are personalised.
The purpose of cataract surgery is to remove the clouded lens, which is impeding your vision, and then replace it with a lens implant (artificial). The artificial lens is personalised so that it fits properly, and it will be clear. The entire process takes just over an hour and you will be given local anaesthesia. Patients will be awake, but they won’t feel any pain.
If your cataract is more advanced, you may need a different type of procedure. This is something the doctor will diagnose and discuss in advance so you won’t have to worry about surprises.
What’s Involved in the Recovery Process?
Provided you just had a common type of cataract surgery, recovery is very straightforward. You will be able to go home after the procedure and you are generally told to rest for a couple of days. During this time you may experience symptoms such as:
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Watering eye
- Mild pain
As long as these symptoms are mild and don’t get worse, there is nothing to worry about. Should anything get worse or you have severe pain, you’ll need to seek medical help immediately to be sure all is well with the healing process. You will also need to use eye drops for a few weeks, as these help to ensure the eye heals properly and quickly.
How Can You Speed Up the Recovery Process?
In general, people are fully recovered after eight weeks, but that doesn’t mean it takes the full eight weeks to see improvement and results. Usually, within the first week or two, you’ll notice a big difference.
There are some things you will want to avoid, as this ensures you don’t slow down the healing process. Typically you want to avoid touching or itching the affected eye. Also, try not to bend over too often, make sure you wear eye protection in the sun, and avoid lifting heavy objects. You also need to follow instructions on when and how often to use the eye drops.
You should also be prepared for the possibility of still needing glasses, even after you have fully recovered. While this isn’t common, it can still happen. With that said, it may also be a different prescription.
What If Both Eyes are Affected?
Sometimes a person can have a cataract in both eyes, and both may require surgery. If this is the case, doctors tend to schedule them months apart so that you still have some vision while you recover.
A Relatively Straightforward Procedure
If you have been told you require cataract surgery and you’re now worried about what that means in terms of healing, the good news is that it’s usually a very straightforward procedure. Be sure to ask your doctor lots of questions in advance so you can quell any fears or doubts, and use this information to better prepare.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.