Having cataracts can be an increasingly frustrating way to live. Cataracts cloud vision more and more as time passes. They do not go away on their own and they rarely improve, regardless of how well you take care of your eyes. Once the specks of protein begin to accumulate on the eye’s lens, it is difficult to stop. While cataracts are frustrating, they are not painful. Patients can decide for themselves when they want to have them removed. Often, even though vision is severely disrupted by cataracts, patients do not schedule a consultation for removal. The most common reason is that they think the procedure will hurt. Here, we discuss what you should know if you would like to restore clearer vision and a better quality of life.
The Cataract Removal Procedure
We understand why you may assume that it will hurt to have cataracts removed. We are taking out part of your eye, after all, and replacing it with a foreign object. The thought of it sounds awful. The practice of it, however, is anything but. Your ophthalmologist has been very well trained in eye surgeries. The ophthalmic practice has been developed to work precisely and, even though the eye is one of the most sensitive parts of the body, painlessly. Yes, cataract surgery is painless. Here’s why.
Before your doctor begins the cataract removal procedure, they will likely give you a mild oral sedative. Taking a pill shortly before your procedure eliminates the need for general anesthesia, which is risky in itself. An oral sedative does not put you to sleep. You will be awake during your minor eye surgery. However, the sedative calms your central nervous system so you do not feel afraid or anxious. In addition to administering an oral sedative, the doctor also applies analgesic eye drops. These medicated drops quickly numb the eye so, when the procedure begins, you feel nothing. Patients say that the small device that holds their eyes open feels odd but they get used to it quickly. As the doctor works, a sensation of pressure may also be felt. Pressure is pressure, though, not pain.
The cataract removal procedure is quick. It typically takes less than 20 minutes to remove the natural lens and replace it with the pre-selected artificial lens. The new intraocular lens is very thin and cannot be felt once it is in place. After the procedure, the eye may feel dry and gritty. It may water or itch. Some patients feel slight discomforts like soreness or aching. This can be managed with over-the-counter medication. Within a few days, the eye feels normal again.
Cataracts don’t have to be bothersome anymore. Contact our Winchester, VA office at 540-722-6200 to schedule your consultation for cataract removal.