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This Month In Health
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Health and Fitness News

It’s Time to See Clearly

Don’t put it off any longer. Cataract surgery is a common and safe procedure.

Is your vision blurry? Do bright lights hurt your eyes? Is it hard to drive at night or do you have double vision? If you answered, “Yes,” it’s time to make an appointment with your optometrist. You may have cataracts.
What are cataracts and what can be done about them? Keep reading to find out.

A Cloudy Lens

Your lens is located behind the pupil and iris. This clear, flexible part of the eye changes shape to help focus images and light on the retina. When you have cataracts, your lens becomes cloudy, which causes your vision to become blurry and focusing while looking at bright light becomes difficult.

In the beginning stages, you may not realize you have cataracts. As the disease progresses, eyeglasses can help clear your vision, but in the later stages, cataracts may blur your vision to the point that everyday activities become difficult. When this is the case, surgery may be recommended. Talk with your doctor about whether you’re a candidate for corrective cataract surgery.

A New Lens

Surgery on the eye may sound horrifying, but relax. Thanks to advances in medicine, cataract surgery is now an outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour to perform. Additionally, it’s considered a highly safe procedure that is performed very often. If it’s time you underwent cataract surgery, here’s what to expect.

A week or two prior to surgery, your doctor will perform an ultrasound to measure the size and shape of your eyeball to determine the best fit of artificial lens. During the 12 hours leading to the procedure, you may need to avoid eating or drinking. Your doctor may also have you stop taking certain medications, and antibiotic eye drops may be prescribed leading up to surgery.

At the time of surgery, you’ll be given eye drops to dilate your pupil and local anesthesia for numbing. If necessary, you’ll take a sedative to calm your nerves so you’re awake but groggy during the procedure.

The ophthalmologist will then make a small incision in your cornea to remove the cloudy lens and will replace it with a clear artificial lens. Depending on the size and type of artificial lens, your doctor may need to make a few small stitches to close up the incision. Someone else will need to drive you home and you’ll need to avoid heavy lifting for a week following surgery.

Risks Are Rare

As with any surgery, cataract surgery comes with risks you should be aware of. However, complications are uncommon and are usually easily treated. Potential complications include inflammation, bleeding, infection, a drooping eyelid, secondary cataract, movement of the new lens, glaucoma, retina detachment, and loss of vision.

What to Expect

After surgery, you may feel slight discomfort, tearing, or itching, but avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. You may need to wear a protective shield or patch over your eye for a few days, even while you sleep. Antibiotic eye drops or eye drops to reduce swelling may be prescribed. You can expect your eye to be back to normal within eight weeks. If you experience vision loss, redness, swelling of the eyelid, flashes of light, floaters, or persistent pain, call your doctor immediately.

During the first few days after surgery, your eyesight may still be blurry, but give it a few days and you’ll start to see colors and details you forgot existed! Your vision may not be 20/20 after cataract surgery, so eyeglasses may still be necessary. If both eyes need cataract surgery, you’ll need to wait until the first eye has healed before scheduling the second.

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