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Tell me about your cataract surgery experience.

12 years ago

I have been told by a eye surgeon that I have cataracts and they should be removed. I am very nervous about this and wonder what to expect during and after surgery. I am just having one eye done first and realize I can't drive right away but I did not ask how long before I am doing normal everday things. I have read a little bit on this and some have mentioned their eyes feel scratchy afterwards.

Would really appreciate your experience on this surgery.

Lois

Comments (35)

  • 12 years ago

    Relax! The actual surgery is easy. I was sedated, but not knocked out. It was over in no time. No pain at all. I had to put drops in my eyes for a few weeks after, no big deal. I also wore a plastic shield the first day and then at night for a week.

    You will need someone to go with you so they can drive you home. I could drive myself the next day. My eyes were not scratchy at all. Honestly, it was one of the easiest things I ever did.

    Are you getting standard lenses -- both for distance? Be sure you understand what your vision will be like after the surgery. You will be amazed at what you can see, and colors -- wowza.

  • 12 years ago

    Ditto what Dedtired posted. I had one eye done, then a month later the second eye and no problems and no pain. Mine was done over 10 years ago and had multi focal lens put in for near and far. I had worn glasses for over 40 years and now don't. I do, sometimes, wear a pair of very low magnifying glasses from the $ store for reading very fine print. Didn't even have to do that until the last year or so. Repeat that last sentence of Dedtireds, it's amazing!!

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  • 12 years ago

    The thought of it can be scary, but the reality is that it the surgery is simple, safe, and quick, with a very low rate of complications. They always do one eye at a time. I had mine done 4 years ago. I wore a patch for one day, had it removed the next, had no itchiness or other symptoms, and used eye drops for about a week...no big deal. The second eye was done a month later...again no problems. The really nice thing is that they will insert a tiny artificial lens during the operation, that will pretty much correct your vision to normal. I went from being incredibly near-sighted to having close to 20/20 vision afterwards. And, of course, everything was clear again.

    So, don't worry. Look forward to this as something that will be an improvement. You will be happy you did it. I see better now without glasses than I did for the previous 60 years.

  • 12 years ago

    There have been several recent posts on this, including some long ones. If you do a search, you'll find them.

  • 12 years ago

    The only part of my cataract experience that I am not entirely happy about is that I got monovision -- one eye is set for near vision (reading) and the other for distance. I have not been able to adjust to it. I wear glasses some of the time and I got a contact lens for the eye with the near vision when I'm not wearing glasses. The contact lens is wonderful. I do have to wear readers with them.

    I also still see a flickering light at the side of one implanted lens and that is pretty common. It is gradually improving.

    Your vision will be different and even though it is very likely to be far better. Nevertheless, it requires some adjustment. Good luck. You'll do fine.

  • 12 years ago

    Ditto to what everyone else said. It's the easiest medical experience you'll every have. My doctor even provided limo service to and from the surgery facility.

  • 12 years ago

    And my eye dr. (who just diagnosed me with the very beginnings of a cataract--probably no need for surgery for 10-20 years) just told me that they've now got the operation down to about 5-7 minutes. It's a very minor, easy procedure.

    Just one thing to beware of. Unfortunately, there are some drs out there who rush to operate on cataracts, before it's really necessary. The reason is $$$--they get your money sooner, younger patients are more likely NOT to be on medicaid yet (relieving the dr. of those limitations) and younger patients are a lot more likely to opt for the high-end lenses that aren't generally covered by insurance or medicaid. Medicade doesn't pay for the better lens implants, of course, and if you have yours done using medicaid coverage, it's likely you will probably still need glasses. But you won't be able to get them for several weeks, because they cannot do a refraction until your eye is healed.

    I've taken both my mom and aunt to have theirs done, and even back in those days (15-20 years ago) it was a very quick, simple procedure--and it's only improved over the years.

    Don't worry--you'll be fine and will really appreciate the change!

  • 12 years ago

    My 93 year old mother had her right eye done in March and will do her left eye in November.

    She has no need for glasses now! Sees better than I.

    She had zero problems with the surgery...absolutely nothing to worry about!

    Carol

  • 12 years ago

    Yes, you should check out the earlier threads on this topic. Lots of good input there.

    I had the cataracts removed and replaced with "mini-monovision" and am very happy with the outcome. Amazing to not need glasses for the first time since 1st grade!

  • 12 years ago

    Azzalea, it is Medicare, not Medicaid, you were referring to.

  • 12 years ago

    Don't worry at all. When you get there they put drops in your eye and then take you to the area to wait. When your turn comes you go in to the procedure room and get on the table. People will be talking you through the whole thing and tell you what will happen. The anesthesiologist will administer a shot. I told mine to knock me out both times and woke up later and taken to the recovery area. Given a drink and a muffin and, when you're feeling clearheaded you can leave. It's all very simple. No need to be apprehensive at all.

  • 12 years ago

    It went very well, I still was petrified because they were
    cutting on my eye so the Dr gave me a stronger dose of whatever,
    took me longer to recover enough to leave. Everyone else seemed
    to be having a good time, wish I hadn't been so scared but they were nice about it...

  • 12 years ago

    I'm having my right eye done June 11th, (and the left one about a month later) so I'm reading this with interest! Since I dont have insurance there was no discussion on "type" of lens. He did say I might have to wear glasses!I jst wanna SEE! My right eye is completely gone! :(

  • 12 years ago

    country_bumpkin-
    When the doctor says you might have to wear glasses, it only means that you might not have perfect 20/20 vision afterwards. I went from 20/400 without glasses to 20/25 after surgery, so I still wear glasses, but now with only a tiny correction to make me 20/20. Even people who normally don't wear glasses sometimes need them afterwards because the natural lens that gets cloudy from a cataract and has to be removed has a "power," so if they didn't put in a lens to compensate you would have to wear glasses with a very high diopter correction. Remember 20-30 years ago when people who had cataract surgery had to wear glasses that made their eyes look huge? That was because they didn't have the ability at that time to insert a lens and people were left very far-sighted by the operation. Now, if you have normal 20/20 vision, you get a certain power lens inserted that should restore your acuity back to normal. If you wear glasses because you are farsighted or nearsighted, they insert a different power lens to also try to bring you to "normal." It's like having contacts...only they are behind your cornea rather than floating in front of it.

  • 12 years ago

    It was mentioned there have been recent posts regarding cataract surgery. I went went back at least 20 pages checking to see if they would come up but so far nothing. Is there a easier way to find them?
    Lois

  • 12 years ago

    Lois, yes, use the Search function. It's not the best, but it worked this time.

    Here's one good thread on the topic

    And here are the rest of my search results

  • 12 years ago

    Thank you for the information, Kudzu9!! :)

  • 12 years ago

    country_bumpkin-
    You're welcome. One other thing...type of lens. They usually try to correct you to 20/20 at distance, or maybe just make you very slightly nearsighted. The reason for this is that removal of the natural lens means you don't have an ability to focus close (if you haven't already lost that through the normal aging process). I was given the following choices:

    1. "Monofocal lenses" with a power so I could have good distant vision, meaning seeing sharply from about 3-4 feet and beyond without glasses, but would need glasses for anything relatively close, like reading.

    2. "Monofocal lenses" with a power so that I would be nearsighted enough to read without glasses but would need glasses for everything beyond several feet.

    3. "Multifocal lenses," which is a newer style of lens that is supposed to be able to let you see pretty well at distance and pretty well closeup, but not maybe quite at 20/20.

    4. Monofocal in one eye for distance and a different power in the other for reading. The brain is supposed to get used to this after a number of weeks, but some people never completely adjust, and you can't really go back and have a different lens put in if you don't like it.

    I opted for the first one as it is what has worked best for the most people. I would rather be able to see everything well without glasses and put on readers when needed. Also, the multifocal lenses are quite a bit more expensive, may let in a little less light, and may cause halos in certain conditions. And my father chose the fourth option and was never satisfied.

    As it turned out, I was about 20/25 when the surgery was done, so I can drive without glasses, and watch movies and tv without glasses if I want to. But I was used to wearing glasses, so I didn't mind having to wear a pair with a slight correction to get to 20/20. Of course, it has a bifocal for reading, too.

    Hope this helps with your choice.

  • 12 years ago

    Thanks, Alisande for the link it was very helpful.
    Lois

  • 10 years ago

    Hi everyone,so grateful for everything I have read because I am scheduled for cataract surgery next Wednesday 26th. I am abit terrified about it all, don't know how I will be able to sleep the night prior to the surgery and also worried about the "don't bend over" requirement as I have noticed the past few days how many times I bend over all day! Also read you must not sleep on the side surgery was done on but wouldn't you know that is the side I sleep on all the time so how am I going to stop myself doing it accidentally while asleep =:0 I know everyone has a good report but the ophthalmologist did say in a round about way that sometimes things don't go perfectly which petrified me (he is a very experienced and respected doctor btw). thanks for any encouragement :) brit

  • 10 years ago

    Brit, I'm sorry to hear the surgery is causing you anxiety. Perhaps this article from the New York Times will ease some of your fears. For one thing, the doctor interviewed says:

    The restrictions of the past, such as no bending or heavy lifting, are not necessary with modern small-incision cataract surgery. People can even resume exercising right away.

    This confirms what I assumed, as I was not told to avoid bending or lifting.

  • 10 years ago

    I haven't had it but my husband had both eyes done recently...about two weeks apart and it was easy and no problems. He has just about perfect vision now.

  • 10 years ago

    Fast, simple, easy, wonderful. You'll be smiling the next day.

  • 10 years ago

    Fast, simple, easy, wonderful. You'll be smiling the next day.

  • 10 years ago

    You'll do fine.

    For others contemplating surgery, I'd like to add that YOU need to be the one to decide if and when you 'need' cataract surgery. It's easy for a doctor to suggest it -- simple surgery -- very few complications -- Medicare approves payment -- all great, for him.

    I wish I had waited. I see very little improvement in additional light into my operated eye, as compared with my other eye. Now I am stuck with operated eye vision that enlarges things and can't change focus.

    My unoperated eye doesn't enlarge; continues to be able to change focus; sees just as well far and near with glasses as my operated eye, albeit slightly dimmer. My life is not improved, and my bank account is lighter by $1400.

    Just because people do start to form cataracts when they age, or because 'everyone is having it' isn't reason enough. In hindsight (ha-ha), I'd have waited until I was having a lot more difficulty with somewhat dimmer vision.

  • 10 years ago

    thanks to everyone for their encouraging words, really appreciate it so much :) Chisue, I agree with you about not rushing into it. My ophthalmologist is very conservative and I elected to wait for a year or so before going ahead. Waiting can cause the cataract to harden and the process is not as easy so its best not to wait too long :)brit

  • 10 years ago

    I had both eyes done - week or ten days apart a couple of years ago. I'd anticipated I'd fail my upcoming driver's license renewal. Went in to the DV on a slow day and asked to have a quick eye test. Sure enough - I could see the color fields, but none of the numbers or letters.

    Nice thing - a real bonus if you will - post surgery you'll see colors with a clarity you haven't seen for years. Great if you're a gardener or crafter. And being able to buy inexpensive "cheater" glasses from the drugstore is good too - assuming you might need them for close work or reading.

  • 10 years ago

    I absolutely agree with what Chisue says. Since it has become such a simple surgery as well as lucrative for the doctor, many people are recommended to have it before they really need it. I wish I had not been so quick to listen to the doctor. I was having trouble seeing from one eye and presumed that it was from the cataract. Turns out it was a vitreous floater, and I still had it after the surgery. Decide for yourself when you vision is enough of a problem to need surgery. Go for a second opinion, making it clear to the second doctor that s/he will not be the one performing the procedure. Since they are not being paid for it they are more likely to be honest with you.

    Although it is simple and safe, I think we are rushed into it before we need it by doctors who do not want to let you get away.

  • 10 years ago

    I got it done and all went well. Only issue was when I went to Dr next day and they took the patch off my vision was blurred. She said it was because I had a slightly swollen cornea :( I was so worried/scared/depressed about this happening. However within 24 hours the blurriness went away and within 48hrs I could at least see out the eye ok. I was given extra eye drops for the problem. I go back tomorrow so hopefully all will be well and I can stop using the steroid drops as that is something I do not like to use :( Dr said not to bend over etc. I am so glad its over and appreciated everyone's input. Btw I just had the distance lens put in. I wear progressive lens so presume will need to get new glasses and possibly not need distance correction in them for that eye. My other eye has a cataract growing but apparently does not need removal yet. brit

  • 10 years ago

    Good for you. Glad to hear that it went well. Everyone has to use those drops for awhile. A nuisance but not so bad.

  • 5 years ago

    I had my right eye cataract removed and replaced with a monodical lens. It has been 6 days since surgery and my vision is not quite 20/20 for distance and at night I see streaks around lights. I wonder if these streaks will go away or diminish over time. Now I am thinking of canceling my surgery for my left eye even though it does have cataract but at least that eye does not see streaks of lights at night which I think it would be very hard to drive at night if both eyes see streaks. Can someone please share about the experience with seeing streaks after surgery and if they went away? My doctor told me that my cataract was affecting my night vision and that removing the cataract would improve my night vision. I am having second thoughts about his comments and recommendation of cataract surgery. It is possible that it was a financial motivation to recommend that and may not be in my best interest.

  • 5 years ago

    HU - I had my right eye done at the end of Jan 2018 (the left done last April). I still see some flares in the right from my outside flood light (that I turn on when I take the dog out). I go in next month for a 6 month check up and plan to ask the doctor about it. I quit most night driving numerous yrs back. I decided I didn't need to do that anymore and with the crazoid drivers here in AZ and I just plan around it. I do sometimes go to the W down the road in the evening and it's dark out when I come home - but I stay on my back roads and off of the HWY where the nuts are...I have no problems with that. I have no restrictions on driving tho - just my own preference not to get into the craziness at night.

    I did hear or read recently that there are glasses available now that do away with the flare / glare of lights from other cars, street lights etc. Don't know who makes them or how much they are tho. something to look into if the streams/flares continue. And be sure to let your doctor know about them.

    To others who might be interested, I found the pre-op preparation the worst. that was me knowing I wouldn't drive for a few days, shouldn't bend or lift either so I prepared things around the house so I wouldn't need to. Turned my gal water jugs into half gal and sat them up higher (for ease of filling my counter water filter). Same with dog food - put into a few smaller containers to use those few days and prepared some meals to have in the fridge / freezer so I wouldn't need to do that either.

    I normally slept on my left side, so that part worried me some, but I had no problem sleeping on the right side for a few nights. I find now that I more often sleep on the right side since that time. I'm now a bi-side sleeper! and I can even sleep on my back.

    I just took it easy for a few days after each surgery and all was fine. but I am so glad it is over! I do have glasses I wear while on the computer or reading, but don't need them for TV anymore and can read print on the screen (like news prog or shopping channels).


  • 5 years ago

    I wasn't going to write -- my experience was good. But one thing that calmed me: My husband said "For the eye surgeon your eye is as big as a football field!"

  • 5 years ago

    I had mine done six months ago - both eyes at once as I met the criteria. It was done at a private clinic as this eye dr. was booked two years away in a hospital setting. It was expensive but the wait may have jeopardized my driving license. I wasted a lot of energy being nervous. No feeling of the actual surgery itself but I remember seeing colours that made me think of the northern lights. The only downside to the surgery was post-operatively I could see how badly my house needed a thorough cleaning! I could now see dust. I was given sun glasses to wear home. It felt like I was going through a snow storm on the way home initially but that cleared quickly after a nap. I do need glasses for reading as the astigmatism could not be corrected.