As your vision becomes clouded and out of focus by a cataract, simple tasks like reading, watching television and driving become more difficult. Glare and bright lights may be quite disabling and could reduce your vision to a point where walking and driving may become difficult.
The decision to have surgery is best made after discussing your visual needs with one of our surgeons. This is important, especially if you require sharp vision for your occupation or for driving. Many patients enjoy recreational activities such as golf, or sewing and a cataract may interfere with these activities. By developing a trusting relationship with your surgeon, and getting your questions answered, you can make the most informed choice. Your optometrist or family physician may also help you in the decision-making process and we welcome second opinions if you so desire.
Most of our patients have a local anesthetic which means you will be awake for the operation. Our anesthesia staff will work with your surgeon to provide you with a safe and comfortable surgical experience. These doctors have years of experience in ocular surgery and will do a pre-operative assessment the day of the surgery in order to provide you with the best care.
Because of the anesthetic, you should not eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery. You may take your medications with a small sip of water the morning of your operation. This is especially important for patients who are on high blood pressure medications or heart medicines. Diabetics will require some adjustments of their insulin or oral medications and this should be discussed with your family physician prior to surgery.
The surgeons of Columbus Ophthalmology Associates have performed most of their procedures at the Columbus Eye Surgery Center since 1995. This facility was built with the most advanced technology specific to eye surgery offering a convenience and comfort that is unique in central Ohio. All personnel are specially trained in caring for eye patients. These professionals care and understand your visual needs and work solely with “eye” surgical patients. It is important that you arrange for an adult to bring you to the center the day of surgery.
The nursing staff at the surgical facility will review any additional restrictions with you after the procedure. This may include restricting your driving and having someone stay with you for a given time. One of our staff members will call you the afternoon of your operation to check on your condition and answer any questions. If you are having any discomfort or other problems, you should let them know at this time. Most patients will notice a gritty feeling in their eye after surgery. It is also quite normal to have mucus in the eye. A warm, moist wash cloth will help absorb this material. These warm compresses can be used before each set of drops are given or anytime you feel the grittiness in the eye. In addition, there will be more light entering the eye and sunglasses will be provided to help with light sensitivity.
If you have any questions or problems in the immediate post-operative period, one of our doctors is on call at all times. If you have an emergency after hours, please give us a call at 614-766-2006 and our answering service will promptly notify the doctor on call.
Because of the small incision, most patients can remove their patch the afternoon of the operation. Many of our patients are on heart rehabilitation or exercise programs for arthritis, and it is fine to begin these immediately. It is also okay to lift, stoop, go back to work and even play sports such as golf soon after surgery. If you have any specific questions about certain activities it is best to ask one of our surgeons.
While cataract surgery is one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine, complications may still occur. A hemorrhage or infection is very rare after cataract surgery, but either one can lead to loss of vision.
Glaucoma can sometimes occur after surgery and may cause elevated eye pressure, discomfort and blurred vision. Most often, this can be safely treated with drops, however, in rare circumstances a surgical procedure is necessary to reduce the pressure.
The retina is the delicate tissue in the back of the eye that receives all the visual information. Small vessels on the retina can leak after surgery and impair central vision. This is especially common in diabetic patients or those who have other vascular disorders and can usually be treated with drops or other medications. In rare circumstances this blurred vision loss is permanent.
The intra-ocular lens (IOL) is usually inserted behind the pupil and stays centered to help focus the images. Very rarely, structures within the eye cannot support the lens which leads to dislocation, requiring a second surgical procedure.
Finally, Flomax and other medications can cause a syndrome known as “floppy iris syndrome.” This can increase risk of complications during cataract surgery and is present even if you have not taken the medication for years. It is essential that we know your medical history including the use of these products. If you have used these medications, we will use certain drops before surgery as well as certain techniques during the operation to minimize the risks. Our surgery scheduling staff will review the pre-operative drop schedule with you prior to surgery.
In addition to using antibiotic drops before surgery, our patients use other medicines post-operatively to reduce inflammation and prevent and treat swelling of the retina for several weeks. These medications will be discussed with you and your family when your surgery is scheduled. Our staff will also write out your instructions for the frequency of these drops during each post-operative visit.
During small incision cataract surgery, the cataract is removed from within a thin membrane called the capsule. The back part of this capsule remains to hold the intraocular lens in place behind the pupil. This delicate membrane can become clouded and distorted with time. Our surgeons can safely remove this membrane through the use of a laser should this occur.
The clouding of the posterior capsule can occur as quickly as a few months after cataract surgery or not develop for many years.