Cataract Surgery - Types, Precautions, Complications, Recovery
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A cataract is a common condition affecting normal vision. In cataracts, the lens gets clouded, and the vision may become blurry. Cataract surgery may help improve vision.
How is cataract surgery done? It is considered a safe, quick, and easy way to get rid of cataracts. Keep reading to know more about cataract surgery.
Benefits of the Surgery
Cataract removed, Improved vision, Quick recovery, Better eye health
You can check Cataract Surgery Cost here.
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What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is a common medical procedure performed to treat cataracts. A cataract is a condition in which the natural eye lens gets clouded, causing vision problems.
Multiple factors play a role in the development of a cataract, which will be discussed in later sections. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced by an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
Cataract surgery is generally performed by ophthalmologists who can be cataract specialists. It's performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs the eye and surrounding area so that you won't feel pain during the surgery.
Anatomy of the Eye
The human eye is a complex yet very important organ that plays a role in the sense of vision. It consists of several interconnected structures that work together to capture, focus, and transmit light to the brain, interpreted as visual information.
Here's an overview of the anatomy of the eye:
Cornea: The transparent, dome-shaped outermost layer of the eye is called the cornea. It helps focus light onto the retina by bending and refracting incoming light.
Iris: The coloured part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. The iris controls the amount of light that enters the eye by adjusting the pupil size. In bright light, the pupil constricts, and in dim light, it dilates.
Pupil: The black circular opening in the centre of the iris. It allows light to enter the eye and reach the lens.
Lens: The lens is a transparent, flexible structure behind the iris. It further focuses light onto the retina. The lens adjusts its shape to adjust focus for objects at different distances.
Aqueous Humour: A clear, watery fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the lens.
Vitreous Humour: A gel-like substance that fills the large space between the lens and the retina at the back of the eye.
Retina: The innermost layer of the eye that contains photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) responsible for capturing light and converting it into electrical signals.
Optic Nerve: The bundle of nerve fibres that carries visual information from the retina to the brain's visual centres.
Who Needs Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is typically recommended for individuals who are experiencing vision problems and a reduced quality of life due to cataracts. The cause is blurred or distorted vision.
The main indications for cataract surgery are vision impairment and sensitivity. It can cause various vision problems, including blurred vision, decreased contrast sensitivity, increased sensitivity to glare, and difficulty seeing in low-light conditions.
Note: The listed factors can aid in determining whether you are a suitable candidate for a staple procedure discussion. However, it is vital to consult a doctor to assess these indications.
How is Cataract Surgery Performed?
Cataract surgery is a common and efficient outpatient procedure for treating cataracts. The surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore clear vision.
Cataract surgery is generally quick, often lasting around 15-30 minutes per eye. Many patients experience improved vision within a day or two, although full healing might take a few weeks.
To understand how cataract surgery is done, a one-by-one breakdown of the general steps can be a better way:
Anaesthesia: Before the surgery, eye drops dilate the pupil, and local anaesthesia may be administered to numb the eye.
The patient will likely stay awake during the procedure but may receive a sedative to help relax.
Making an Incision: A small incision (about 2-3 mm) is made in the cornea. This incision allows access to the lens.
Opening is Created: A circular opening is created in the thin, transparent capsule surrounding the lens. This capsule is left intact to hold the artificial lens in place.
Phacoemulsification: A tiny probe emitting ultrasound waves is inserted through the incision. These waves break up the cloudy lens into small fragments, then suction out of the eye.
Inserting the IOL: The artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is folded and inserted through the same incision. Once inside the eye, the IOL unfolds and is positioned in the empty lens capsule.
Adjusting the IOL: The IOL's position is fine-tuned to ensure proper alignment for a clear vision.
Some advanced IOLs can correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia (age-related reading difficulty).
Closing the Incision: In most cases, the small incision is self-sealing and doesn't require stitches. It usually heals naturally.
Cataract Surgery Types
The cataract surgery may be performed using different procedures. These may include:
Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS)
Manual Extracapsular Cataract Surgery (MECS)
Intracapsular Cataract Surgery
Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (FLACS)
Lasik Cataract Surgery
What to Expect Before and on the Day of Cataract Surgery?
Before and on the day of cataract surgery, there are several steps and preparations to ensure a smooth and successful procedure. Here's what you can expect:
Before Cataract Surgery
Doctor Consultation: The patient will have a consultation with an ophthalmologist to discuss the procedure.
They will review the patient’s medical history and perform necessary eye measurements and tests to determine the appropriate intraocular lens (IOL) power for the vision needed.
Discussion of Options: The ophthalmologist will explain the different types of IOLs available, which may include monofocal, multifocal, or toric lenses.
They help the patient choose the lens best suits his lifestyle and visual goals.
Medication Review: Your doctor will review your current medications and may adjust them if needed, especially if you are taking blood thinners or medications that could affect your surgery.
Fasting: You might be instructed to fast for a certain period before the surgery, especially if you will receive sedation.
Transportation: Arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgical centre or hospital, as you might not be able to drive immediately after the procedure due to the effects of anaesthesia.
On the day of Cataract Surgery
Clothing: The patient is at the surgical centre or hospital at the designated time. Wear comfortable clothing and avoid wearing makeup, perfume, or jewellery.
Vital Monitoring: You'll be taken to a pre-operative area where a nurse will go over your medical history, check your blood pressure, and administer any necessary medications or eye drops.
Anaesthesia Administration: Local anaesthesia will be applied to numb the eye undergoing surgery. You might also receive a mild sedative to help you relax.
What to Expect After Cataract Surgery?
A patient who has undergone stapler circumcision surgery can expect the following after the surgery:
The Recovery Process in the Hospital
Cataract surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning it is usually not needed to stay overnight in the hospital. However, the patient will spend some time in a recovery area immediately after the surgery to ensure stability and ready to go home.
Here's what you can generally expect during the recovery period after cataract surgery:
Recovery Process/Expectation after Hospital Discharge
Observation: After the surgery is completed, the patient will be moved to a recovery area where trained medical staff will monitor him as he wakes up from the anaesthesia.
Eye Shield: The treated eye might be covered with a protective shield or patch to prevent accidental rubbing or touching of the eye and to provide protection.
Rest: The patient will be encouraged to rest and relax briefly to allow the effects of the anaesthesia to wear off.
Eye Drops: The first dose of prescribed eye drops will be provided in the recovery area to help prevent infection and control inflammation.
Recovery Process/Expectation after Hospital Discharge
Rest and Healing: Once the patient reaches home, they need to continue to rest and avoid strenuous activities for the remainder of the day. This allows the eye(s) to heal and minimises the risk of complications.
Eye Drops: Following the prescribed regimen of using the eye drops as instructed by the surgeon is necessary.
Comfort: If any discomfort is experienced, the patient can use over-the-counter pain relievers as the doctor recommends.
Avoid Rubbing or Touching: It's important to avoid rubbing or touching the eye to prevent any disruption to the healing process.
Sleeping Position: The patient may be advised to sleep on their back to avoid any pressure on the eye that went through surgery.
Note: Remember that each person's recovery experience can vary, and the above information provides a general overview.
If any questions or concerns arise during the recovery period, don't hesitate to contact the ophthalmologist or the medical team who performed the surgery.
First Follow-up Appointment
The timing of the first follow-up appointment after cataract surgery can vary depending on the surgeon's preferences, the specific circumstances, and an individual’s healing progress.
Usually, the first follow-up appointment is scheduled within the first few days after the surgery. It's common for this appointment to take place either the day after the surgery or within the first week.
Benefits of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery offers a range of significant benefits that contribute to improved vision and overall quality of life. These advantages include:
Enhanced Vision Clarity: Cataract surgery removes clouded lenses and replaces them with clear intraocular lenses (IOLs), resulting in sharper and clearer vision.
This can greatly improve one's ability to read, drive, and engage in everyday activities.
Improved Quality of Life: Restoring clear vision through cataract surgery positively impacts the overall quality of life.
Activities such as hobbies, social interactions, and enjoying the outdoors become more enjoyable and accessible.
Enhanced Colours and Contrast: Clouded lenses can cause a reduction in colour vibrancy and contrast sensitivity. Cataract surgery restores these aspects, making the world more vivid and detailed.
Quick Recovery and Minimal Discomfort: Cataract surgery is generally quick, minimally invasive, and associated with a relatively swift recovery period.
Most patients experience improved vision within days, allowing them to resume daily activities soon after the procedure.
Increased Safety: Improved vision after cataract surgery reduces the risk of accidents and falls, particularly in older adults. A clearer vision allows individuals to navigate their environment more safely.
Reduced Dependence on Glasses: Depending on the choice of IOLs, patients may experience reduced reliance on glasses for distance or near vision.
Multifocal or accommodating IOLs can provide a broader range of clear vision without the need for constant glasses.
Risks and Complications of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is generally considered safe and has a high success rate. However, like any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with cataract surgery.
Some of the possible risks and complications of cataract surgery can be:
Infection: Any surgery carries a risk of infection. In cataract surgery, an infection can occur in the eye and is known as endophthalmitis.
It's a rare but serious complication that can lead to vision loss if not promptly treated.
Inflammation: Inflammation in the eye, known as uveitis, can occur after surgery. It's usually treated with eye drops to reduce inflammation and prevent complications.
Bleeding: While rare, it can occur during or after surgery and may require additional treatment or intervention.
Swollen Cornea: A condition called corneal oedema can cause temporary blurry vision. This usually resolves with time and appropriate treatment.
Retinal Detachment: Although uncommon, retinal detachment can occur after cataract surgery. It may require additional surgery to reattach the retina.
Increased Intraocular Pressure (IOP): Sometimes, the pressure inside the eye can increase after surgery. This is usually temporary and can be managed with medication.
Glaucoma: Cataract surgery can sometimes trigger or worsen glaucoma, which affects the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss if not controlled.
Capsule Opacification: In some cases, the thin capsule that holds the intraocular lens (IOL) can become cloudy over time, causing a decrease in vision. This can be corrected with a laser procedure called YAG capsulotomy.
Dislocated IOL: The artificial lens (IOL) can occasionally shift or become dislocated after surgery. This might require further intervention to reposition or replace the IOL.
Note: It's important to note that many of these complications are rare, and most cataract surgeries are successful without significant issues.
The ophthalmologist will carefully assess the eye health and discuss any potential risks specific to an individual situation before recommending surgery.
When is Consultation with the Doctor Needed?
The patient must contact the doctor immediately if they notice any of the following symptoms:
The patient may have to consult the doctor earlier if he experiences the following:
Sudden changes in vision
Excessive tears from the eyes
Risks of Delayed Cataract Surgery
A delayed cataract surgery, which involves postponing the procedure even when the cataract affects the vision, can have several potential risks and consequences.
Here are some of the risks associated with delaying cataract surgery:
Vision Impairment: Cataracts progressively worsen over time, causing a gradual decline in vision. Delaying surgery can lead to increased difficulty with daily activities such as driving, reading, and recognising faces.
Reduced Quality of Life: As the vision deteriorates due to cataracts, the patient’s overall quality of life may be negatively impacted.
You might experience frustration, dependency on others, and limitations in participating in social and recreational activities.
Increased Risk of Accidents: Poor vision due to cataracts increases the risk of accidents, especially falls and collisions. Impaired vision can affect your ability to navigate your environment safely.
Higher Surgical Complexity: In some cases, delaying surgery can lead to cataracts becoming more dense or advanced, which might make the surgical procedure more complex.
This could potentially increase the risk of complications during surgery.
Secondary Changes in the Eye: Prolonged cataract presence might lead to changes in the eye, such as increased intraocular pressure or inflammation, which can impact the overall health of the eye.
Psychological Impact: Vision loss due to cataracts can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation. Addressing cataract-related vision loss through timely surgery can alleviate these psychological impacts.
Note: It's important to note that the decision to undergo cataract surgery is a personal one and should be made in consultation with an ophthalmologist.
The eye doctor can assess the severity of cataracts, the patient’s overall eye health, and visual needs to help one determine the best timing for the surgery.
Cost of Cataract Surgery Procedure
The cost of stapler circumcision surgery ranges from ₹20,000 to ₹1,30,000. The cost varies based on the following factors:
The consultation fee
The patient's existing medical condition
Age of the patient
Type of hospital chosen for the procedure
The type of room chosen for recovery period
The city where the hospital is located
Technique and equipment used
₹20,000 to ₹1,30,000
Cataract surgery offers better vision by removing clouded lenses and replacing them with intraocular lenses (IOLs). This common procedure is vital for those experiencing impaired vision due to cataracts affecting daily activities.
The surgical techniques may differ and recovery is typically swift with proper post-operative care. Get in touch with the experts at HexaHealth to know more about treatment of cataracts.
FAQs for Cataract Surgery
What is cataract surgery, and how is it performed?
Cataract surgery is a common procedure to remove a cloudy lens from the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
The surgery involves making a small incision, breaking the cataract into small pieces using ultrasound waves, and placing the IOL. This helps restore clear vision.
Who is an ideal candidate for cataract surgery?
Individuals with cataracts that significantly affect their vision and daily activities are potential candidates for cataract surgery. An eye doctor will assess your eye health and vision to determine if surgery is necessary.
What are the types of intraocular lenses (IOLs) used in cataract surgery?
How long does cataract surgery take, and is it painful?
Cataract surgery is typically a quick procedure, lasting around 15-30 minutes per eye.
Local anaesthesia is used to numb the eye, so you won't feel pain during the surgery. Some discomfort and mild itching may be experienced afterwards.
What is the recovery process like after cataract surgery?
After surgery, most patients experience improved vision within a day or two, with full recovery taking a few weeks.
Eye drops are used to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. Follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor healing.
What are the potential risks and complications of cataract surgery?
While cataract surgery is generally safe, there are risks such as infection, inflammation, bleeding, retinal detachment, and changes in intraocular pressure. Your surgeon will discuss these risks and address any concerns.
Can both eyes have cataract surgery at the same time?
Cataract surgery is usually performed on one eye at a time, with a few weeks in between surgeries. This approach minimises the risk and allows for better healing and visual adaptation.
Can cataracts come back after surgery?
Once the cloudy lens is removed, it does not return. However, some patients may experience a thickening of the capsule that holds the IOL, causing blurry vision.
How soon can I resume normal activities after cataract surgery?
Most patients can resume basic activities within a few days of surgery. Strenuous activities, swimming, and rubbing the eyes should be avoided for a few weeks to ensure proper healing.
Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?
The need for glasses depends on the type of IOL used and your individual vision needs. While some patients achieve good distance or near vision without glasses, others may still require glasses for specific tasks.
All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.
- Cataract Surgery | National Eye Institute [Internet]. www.nei.nih.gov. 2023.
- Mayo Clinic . Cataract surgery - Mayo Clinic [Internet]. www.mayoclinic.org. 2021.
- Boyd K. Cataract Surgery [Internet]. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2018.
- Stein JD. Serious adverse events after cataract surgery. Current Opinion in Ophthalmology. 2012 May;23(3):219–25.
- Cataracts: Cataract surgery [Internet]. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2019 [cited 2023 Aug 11].
Updated on : Thursday, 30 November 2023
MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES
12 Years Experience
Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More
Cataract, Cornea, and Refractive Care
26 years experience Experience
29 years experience Experience
NABH Accredited Hospitals
Outer Ring Rd, Block A
Excellence in in Ophthalmology
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