During cataract surgery, the clouded lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a new artificial lens. If there is a cataract in both eyes, one eye is usually operated on first (usually the worst one first). As soon as the first eye has recovered well from the operation, attention will turn to the other eye.
A few special tests are needed before the operation:
The curvature of the cornea is measured and the length of the eyeball is checked using ultrasound or modern laser technology to work out the correct strength of the new artificial lens.
In addition, your general state of health and what medication you are taking - especially blood thinners – will be checked by your own doctor. These tests are designed to ensure the highest possible level of safety.
Before the operation
As the procedure is carried out with a local anesthetic, patients can eat and drink normally up to 6 hours before the operation. Patients are only allowed to consume drinks In the 6 hours immediately before the procedure. Diabetics should discuss the medication with their own doctor.
Before the operation, patients are given medication by our anesthstist to help them relax and stay calm. The anesthetist will also monitor the patient during the operation (ECG, blood pressure and pulse). It does not require a general anesthetic. This involves using enough local anaesthetic, which is applied in the form of special eye drops, to make the eye insensitive to pain. Patients are awake and can be asked questions during the entire procedure.
The eye is thoroughly cleaned with a disinfectant solution immediately before the operation and the face is covered with sterile swabs. You will also be given pure oxygen and the swabs are suspended over your face like a tent to avoid you feeling trapped.
During the operation
The upper and lower eyelids are kept apart during the operation by a small spring (eyelid blocker), so you don’t have to keep your eye open yourself. Moistening fluid is dripped onto the surface of the eye at regular intervals to stop your eye drying out. You will feel the liquid running down your face. The operation itself is performed by the surgeon using a special surgical microscope.
Once you’ve been given the local anaesthetic, the doctor will make a very small incision of approximately 2 mm. This incision creates a small opening to provide access to the inside of the eye.
The clouded eye lens is liquefied and sucked out through the opening using ultrasound. The lens capsule remains intact during this. It surrounds the eye lens and in the next step it is also used to “support” the new artificial lens.
The new artificial lens is folded by the surgeon before it is inserted. This means that the opening through which the lens is inserted into the eye can be kept extremely small using minimally invasive surgical techniques.
The artificial lens unfolds automatically inside the lens capsule and slides into its final position. It is held in place in the capsule sac by small flexible clips. As a result, the new lens sits where the natural lens used to be.
The procedure is so gentle that the tiny incision does not need to be stitched. It seals itself, like a valve, without forming a scar. The procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes. The whole cataract operation normally involves you and your relatives staying at Smile Eyes for less than 2 hours.
For a laser operation
Laser technology is opening up a new era in terms of precision and is making the surgeon’s scalpel redundant. A computer-controlled laser measures the different structures in the eye and plans how treatment will proceed. The laser makes precise surgical access possible, cuts the opening for the lens in exactly the right place and individually calculates the position of the center of the lens. This saves unnecessary ultrasound energy and ensures the best possible fit of the artificial lens.
After the operation
After the surgery, your eye that has been operated on will be covered with a medicated dressing. This is then removed the following day and your eye is checked. After the outpatient operation, you can be driven home after a predetermined period of observation. Of course you are not allowed to get behind the wheel yourself. Please make sure you bring another person with you to the operation. You should also not be left alone at home for the first few hours after the operation.
Even if you get back home quickly, your treatment will still not be over. Now you have to help yourself too. You must take things easy on the day of the operation. The best thing to do is to get rest in bed at home. Your medicated bandage is usually removed and the eye examined on the first day after the operation. Your doctor will give you medication, which you must take precisely according to their instructions.
You will usually notice a significant improvement In your vision, even in the first few days after the operation. However, initially it will be affected by some irritation of the eye for a short time. You will need to be patient until you reach your final full visual acuity.
You should pay attention to the following over the next few days and weeks
Please take the medication prescribed by your ophthalmologist regularly and on time and keep to the examination appointments carefully. If you are unable to take your eye medication correctly, make sure that you get help from your family or friends. You can also get professional support to help you with this. We are happy to help you if you have any further questions about this.
Under no circumstances should you press or rub an eye that has just had surgery performed on it. Even with a small, self-closing incision, initially your eye will not be as resilient as it normally is.
When taking a shower you should not wet your face with water for the first few days. When washing your hair you should make sure that your head is always tilted right backwards. During the first few days, you should avoid getting soap into any eye that has been operated on in as much as possible.
You should avoid physical exertion and sports such as swimming, diving, cycling or going to the sauna until your ophthalmologist tells you that you can resume these activities safely. However, this can usually be resumed again after no more than two weeks.
Your ability to work and permission to drive depend on how clearly you can see after the operation. Do not take an active part in driving again until your ophthalmologist has given you specific permission!
As the new artificial eye lens now allows more light to pass through than the cloudy natural lens, most patients prefer to wear sunglasses for the first few weeks after the procedure. They also serve as protective goggles in the event of inclement weather conditions.
Television is generally allowed - even shortly after the procedure.