Hill Country Dr. Location:
Cataract Surgery is the most common medical procedure performed in the United States, yet many patients don't even know they have cataracts until they visit their eye doctor. Cataracts grow gradually and it is part of the normal aging process, but many patients don't even know what type of cataract surgery is best or what lens is best for them. At LASIK San Antonio, we want to make sure we answer these questions for you and discuss how our state-of-the-art cataract surgery can transform your sight and enhance your quality of life, potentially in just one day.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the types of cataract surgery, choosing the best lens, the surgery process, costs and financing, common concerns, and the improved vision and quality of life you can expect after a successful procedure. Let’s dive in and discover how cataract surgery with LASIK San Antonio can help you see the world with clarity.
Basic manual cataract surgery involves:
Manual incisions using precision diamond blades
Ultrasound to break up the cataract
Suction to remove the cataract in a procedure known as phacoemulsification
Although basic manual cataract surgery has a longer recuperation period and patients must wear glasses afterward, since we will not be correcting the astigmatism, it remains an effective option for patients.
The cataract surgery process involves three main steps: preparation, the surgery itself, and post-operative care and recovery. In addition to the exam, there are pre-operative questions and paperwork done ahead of time for the surgery center and for the anesthesia team.
Undergoing a thorough eye examination and cataract consultation is a vital part of the preparation for cataract surgery. A comprehensive exam is involved, which includes:
A number of diagnostic tests, such as biometry, corneal tomography, and optical coherence tomography
Examination of the front and back part of the eye.
Formulation of a treatment plan and choosing the best intraocular lens tailored to your needs.
Further, arrangements must be made with the surgery center for scheduling. Cataract surgery can be done at the hospital, in an ambulatory surgery center, or sometimes even in an office.
Additionally, you will receive pre-operative instructions before your surgery. Most likely you will not be able to eat after midnight on the day of the procedure and you will need to stay out of your contact lenses. Adhering to these instructions will help ensure a successful procedure and minimize potential complications during your cataract surgery.
It is vital to avoid water, sweat, makeup, and any rubbing of the eye in the early post-operative period. Often times we get asked, "Can I drive the next day?" And as long as you feel comfortable with your vision, it is ok to drive yourself into your post-operative appointment. You can use sunglasses if you would like after surgery, but rest assured, the lenses we use have UV protection in them, so it's not necessary. It's very important to come to your post-operative visits, typically occurring at 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month.
As your vision improves, you will begin to experience the numerous benefits of enhanced vision, including enhanced color perception and depending on which lens was chosen, potentially a greater range of vision. So now to one of the most important questions.... which is the best lens for cataract surgery?
In your cataract consultation, the intraocular lens options available for your cataract surgery will be discussed. These options include a basic monofocal, an extended depth of focus lens, and a trifocal or a multifocal intraocular lens. All of these lenses, especially when combined with the laser, have the ability to correct astigmatism as well.
Monofocal lenses offer clear vision at a single distance, typically for distance vision in far away objects. These patients will need glasses for anything within arms reach. The extended depth of focus lenses help for far distances and intermediate distances, such as your dashboard. The patients will still need glasses for up close activities. For the best range of vision, patients choose the trifocal lens. The trifocal lens helps with distance, intermediate, and near vision. Typically patients only have to wear glasses for really tiny font when reading, or if there isn't enough light.
The light adjustable lens is a monfocal lens with a little bit of extended depth of focus build into the lens. This lens is unique in that after cataract surgery you can actually change the power of the lens. This helps correct any minor over- or under corrections that may occur after surgery. We typially see this is patients with a history of RK, PRK, or even after LASIK. Sometimes patients are unsure if they want to do monovision or if they want both eyes for distance. This lens can help with these unique patients.
The lens we think is best for you is going to depend on what your goals are after cataract surgery and the overall health of your eye. Once we do our exam, then we will be ready to discuss lens solutions.
Typically patients are concerned about pain and the healing time after cataract surgery. Now with laser cataract surgery, the healing time is minimal. 50 years ago patiens had to be in the hospital for days after cataract surgery. Now, we have had many patients go back to work the next day... just depending of their profession. If you are on the US national power lighting team, then you might have to wait a week or two to go back to work. Rest assured, cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure, with a low risk of complications. If we see anything that could increase this, then we will make sure to talk about this at the consultation.