Cataract Surgery Explained: What to Expect and How to Prepare. 

June is Cataracts Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to discuss cataract surgery—a common and highly effective procedure that can restore your vision and improve your quality of life. At Eye Consultants of North Dakota, our cataract surgeons, Dr. Michelle Atchison, Dr. Anne Keating, and Dr. Steven Thom, are dedicated to providing the best care and guidance throughout your cataract surgery journey. In this blog, we’ll explain what to expect from cataract surgery and how to prepare for it. 

Watch the video below to learn more about the cataract surgery procedure: 

View Video

Understanding Cataracts 

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurred or impaired vision. They are most commonly associated with aging but can also result from injury, certain medications, or medical conditions such as diabetes. Symptoms of cataracts include: 

  • Blurred or cloudy vision 
  • Difficulty seeing at night 
  • Sensitivity to light and glare 
  • Seeing “halos” around lights 
  • Frequent changes in prescription glasses or contact lenses 
  • Fading or yellowing of colors 

What to Expect from Cataract Surgery 

Pre-Surgery Consultation 

Your cataract journey begins with a comprehensive eye examination by one of our specialists. During this consultation, your eye doctor will evaluate the extent of the cataract and discuss your vision goals. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions about the procedure. 

Preparing for Surgery 

  1. Medical Evaluation: You may need a pre-surgery physical exam to ensure you’re in good health for the procedure. 
  2. Medications: Your doctor might advise you to temporarily stop taking certain medications that could affect surgery or recovery. 
  3. Eye Drops: You will be prescribed eye drops to use before surgery to reduce the risk of infection and inflammation. 
  4. Fasting: You might be instructed not to eat or drink anything for a few hours before the surgery. 

The Procedure 

Cataract surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and takes about 15-20 minutes per eye. Here’s a brief overview of the steps involved: 

  1. Anesthesia: Your eye will be numbed with local anesthesia, and you might be given a sedative to help you relax. 
  2. Removing the Cataract: A small incision is made in the eye, and the cloudy lens is broken up using ultrasound waves (a process called phacoemulsification) and removed. 
  3. Inserting the New Lens: An artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted to replace the natural lens. There are various types of IOLs available, including those that correct other vision problems like astigmatism. 

Post-Surgery Care 

  1. Rest: You’ll need to rest for a short period after the procedure before going home. 
  2. Eye Protection: You’ll be given an eye shield to protect your eye as it heals. 
  3. Follow-Up Visits: Multiple follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your recovery. 
  4. Medications: You’ll need to use prescribed eye drops to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. 

The video below highlights what to do on the day of your surgery: 

View Video

How to Prepare for Your Surgery 

  • Arrange Transportation: Since you won’t be able to drive immediately after surgery, arrange for someone to take you home. 
  • Follow Pre-Surgery Instructions: Adhere to any instructions given by your doctor, including fasting and using eye drops. 
  • Plan for Recovery: Take a few days off from work and avoid strenuous activities as your eye heals. 

Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore your vision. If you’re experiencing symptoms like blurred or cloudy vision, we’d be happy to meet with you! Contact us at (701) 235-0561 or click request an appointment to schedule a cataract consultation.  

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