How long does a cataract operation take?

Dec 11, 2023

Cataracts may be a natural progression of aging, but that doesnt mean people have to live with the disadvantages of cataracts for longer than necessary. Every year, over 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery to restore their vision and eye health. If you are one of the many people considering cataract surgery, you may wonder what this operation entails and how long it takes. The prospect of eye surgery can be intimidating, but by learning more about this procedure, patients are relieved to find out that the process is surprisingly quick and painless.

What are cataracts?

The eyes have naturally transparent lenses that refract light as it passes through the eye to create focused vision. As people age, the lens becomes less flexible and less clear. Over many years, the lens opacifies, impairing sight. This clouded lens is called a cataract. Eventually, cataracts can lead to blindness if left untreated. Cataract surgery is the only treatment for this condition, but the procedure is safe, widely accessible, and can achieve impressive results.

When you have cataracts, you may experience vision that is blurry, cloudy, spotty, dim, or less colorful than usual. Cataracts can make it difficult to see at night, causing some activities, like night driving, to be dangerous. It is common to have increased sensitivity to lights and glare as a symptom of cataracts. Some people also experience double vision in one eye, poor depth perception, or an improvement focusing on near objects. Symptoms may be subtle but gradual, becoming more troublesome over time.

How cataract surgery restores sight

During cataract surgery, the surgeon will make a precise incision on the patients cornea to access the cataract. The doctor will then use a microscopic instrument to emulsify the clouded lens and remove it from the eye. The clouded natural lens is then replaced with a transparent, artificial lens called an intraocular lens, or IOL.

Thanks to IOLs, cataract patients no longer have to deal with high prescriptions after cataract surgery to compensate for lensless, unfocused vision. IOLs are incredible devices that can correct simple and advanced refractive errors, such as presbyopia, astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia. Because of IOLs, in many cases cataract surgery not only restores but actually improves vision. IOLs are typically made of materials like silicone, acrylic, or plastic, so they are long-lasting. Your doctor will select the best IOL for your eyes with you during your pre-surgery consultations. There are many benefits associated with cataract surgery and few risks.

Undergoing cataract surgery after LASIK

If you have already had a refractive error correction surgery, such as LASIK, you are still able to undergo cataract surgery. However, your doctor should take extra care in selecting the proper IOL. The multiple measurements taken at your pre-surgery examinations will ensure the best IOL selection and visual outcomes.

LASIK changes the topography of a persons cornea, and a corneal incision is required for cataract removal. Because of this, it is recommended that post-LASIK cataract patients seek out an ophthalmologist who is an expert in both LASIK and cataract surgery to perform their procedure. At Columbus Laser & Cataract Center, our doctors—Dr. Beran and Dr. Weber—are proud to have been selected as top LASIK and cataract surgeons in the Columbus area. Having significant knowledge, experience, and success in both procedures, our surgeons can provide your eyes with the best possible care.

How long does cataract surgery take?

Cataract surgery is a quick outpatient procedure. The surgery itself usually lasts about 10-20 minutes per eye. Typically, only one eye is operated on at a time; if a patient is suffering from cataracts in both eyes, surgery on the second eye will take place after the first eye has healed. Following the operation, as your anesthesia wears off, you will rest for 20-30 minutes to make sure there are no initial issues. After your doctor ensures there are no complications, you are free to go home. Note that you will not be able to drive yourself home from cataract surgery, or anywhere else, until your doctor approves you to drive at your follow-up appointment 1-2 days after your procedure. You should ask someone to take you home ahead of time.

The recovery process is simple and relatively short, with most patients able to see better 24-48 hours after the procedure. You will also need to avoid certain activities, such as heavy lifting or swimming, for a period following cataract surgery. Your eye should heal completely after about a month. It is critical that you use eye drops as prescribed by your doctor to prevent inflammation and infection and avoid all prohibited activities until cleared to do so.

Benefits of cataract surgery

Because it is one of the most widely performed operations in the world, cataract surgery has been excellently refined for safety and precision, with a very high success rate. Complications are rare, with most being nonthreatening to sight, correctable, or naturally resolved over time. The surgery and recovery processes are quick and generally uncomplicated. Cataract surgery is safer and more effective than ever before, meaning theres never been a better time to undergo the procedure.

Cataracts can impede your independence and quality of life by compromising your eyesight. Impaired vision makes everything from completing daily tasks to appreciating the beauty of life more difficult. As the only way to remove cataracts, cataract surgery is the best option for improving your sight to restore the independence and quality of life you had before cataracts.

You deserve clear, colorful vision!

Cataract surgery is a quick, normally safe procedure that removes clouded lenses to help you achieve sharp, focused vision. If youre looking forward to living unhampered by cataract symptoms, dont put off the sight you deserve. Call the team at Columbus Laser and Cataract Center at 614-939-1600 today! Dr. Beran and Dr. Weber look forward to speaking with you soon.