How Can a Cataract be treated?
No medications, eye drops, exercises, or glasses can cause cataracts to disappear or can prevent their formation; surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. When you are no longer able to see well enough to do your routine day-to-day work, cataract surgery should be considered. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye through a surgical incision. The natural lens is replaced with a permanent IOL implant. No medication, dietary supplements, or exercise has been shown to prevent or cure cataracts.
What can I expect if I decide to have cataract surgery?
To determine if your cataract should be removed, your ophthalmologist (eye M.D.) will perform a thorough eye examination. Before surgery, your eye will be measured to determine the appropriate power of the IOL that should be placed in your eye. Ask your ophthalmologist if you should continue taking your usual medications before surgery. Additionally, make arrangements to have someone drive you home after surgery.
THE DAY OF SURGERY
Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis either in a hospital or at an ambulatory surgery center.
When you arrive for surgery, you will be administered eye drops and perhaps, a mild sedative to help make you comfortable. A local anesthetic will numb your eye. The skin around the eye will then be thoroughly cleansed, and sterile coverings will be placed around your head. You may be able to see light and movement, but not the surgery while it is happening.
Under an operating microscope, a small incision is made in the eye. In most cataract surgeries, tiny surgical instruments are used to break apart and remove the cloudy lens from the eye. The back membrane of the lens (called the posterior capsule) is usually left in place.
A plastic, acrylic, or silicone IOL is then implanted in the eye to replace the natural lens.
After surgery is completed, your doctor may place a shield over your eye. After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be allowed to go home.