Cataracts are typically associated with aging, but they can be detected earlier during routine eye exams. When one eye develops a cataract, it’s common for the other eye to follow suit. The question arises about the interval between surgeries or how long you will need to wait between cataract surgeries on each eye. Generally, one might wait for vision to normalize and complete healing in one eye before undergoing surgery for the other eye. This time between cataract surgery on both eyes typically falls within the range of 2 to 6 weeks.
What is Cataract?
To grasp the process of recovering from surgery and the necessity for a second eye cataract surgery, it’s beneficial to comprehend what a cataract entails. In an eye without cataracts, the lens that directs light remains clear. However, as a cataract forms, this lens becomes cloudy. Initially, symptoms may go unnoticed by most individuals during the early stages of cataract development. The good news is that cataracts usually don’t pose an immediate threat to vision. Many individuals can maintain their regular activities by using eyeglasses or contacts to address the vision alterations caused by the cataract.
Indicators of a cataract encompass:
- Seeing double
- Encountering halos around lights
- Difficulty with night driving
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Colors appearing faded
- Reduced peripheral vision
What Happens During a Cataract Surgery?
While cataracts may not swiftly jeopardize your eyesight, the sole permanent solution is cataract surgery. The good news is that this is a commonplace procedure with nearly flawless success rates and minimal complications. The specific steps can vary depending on the type of cataract surgery chosen, but certain aspects remain standard:
- The ophthalmologist creates a tiny opening.
- They extract the aged, hazy lens.
- A synthetic intraocular lens (IOL) takes the place of the previous lens.
- Typically, no sutures are required after the placement of the new lens due to the minimal size of the incision.
Since the process temporarily impacts vision, cataract surgery should be done one eye at a time. Typically, a waiting period of 2 to 6 weeks is advised for complete healing of the first eye before addressing the second eye. This precaution allows the eye specialist to monitor the healing process thoroughly and prevent any potential complications.
Different Cataract Surgery Options
Conventional Implants: Implanted during traditional cataract surgery, these lenses necessitate the use of glasses to address nearsightedness and farsightedness post-surgery.
LRI (Limbal Relaxing Incisions): Incisions at the corneal periphery, avoiding a full corneal cut, are made in tandem with standard implantation to correct mild astigmatism.
Custom Vision: This alternative encompasses corneal topography, PRK, and up to a year of follow-up visits. Incisions on both sides of the cornea address mild astigmatism, focusing primarily on correcting distance vision, with glasses required after the procedure.
Vivity/Vivity Toric Implants: This choice includes corneal topography, PRK, and up to one year of post-operative visits. Characterized by their unique shape, toric lenses offer enhanced depth of focus, making them an excellent choice for correcting near, intermediate, and distance vision, along with addressing mild astigmatism.
Risks After Surgery
Cataract surgery stands out as one of the most frequently performed, secure, and efficacious surgical procedures in the United States. Nonetheless, as with any surgical intervention, potential risks exist. These may include:
- Swelling, bleeding, or infections
- Vision loss or double vision
- Abnormal fluctuations in eye pressure
- Retinal detachment
- Formation of secondary cataracts (posterior capsule opacity)
It’s important to note that your eye doctor possesses the expertise to address these issues, but early intervention is crucial. Attend all scheduled checkups, and promptly reach out to your eye doctor if you observe any abnormalities in your eyes or changes in your vision.
Recovery Period After the Surgery
Typically, the recovery process after cataract surgery proceeds smoothly, but as with any medical procedure, adhering to your eye doctor’s postoperative care instructions is crucial. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Refrain from rubbing your eyes.
- If recommended by your physician, use the provided eye shield to prevent inadvertent rubbing, especially during sleep.
- Avoid allowing soap or shampoo to come into contact with your eyes.
- Steer clear of non-sterile water exposure (shower, pool, hot tub, etc.).
- Minimize strenuous physical activity during the recovery period.
- Abstain from applying eye makeup for several weeks.
- Ensure the timely and complete use of all prescribed medications or eye drops as directed by your ophthalmologist.
- Arrange for transportation home after surgery, as temporary blurred vision and potential discomfort may affect your ability to drive.
While returning to work the day after the procedure is often feasible, it’s advisable to discuss this with your eye doctor. Their recommendation will be tailored to your individual eye health and the nature of your occupation.
Should you wear glasses or contact lenses?
The necessity for intraocular lenses (IOLs) can vary based on your choice, and they may be required only intermittently or for particular tasks such as reading or using a computer.
Consider opting for a monofocal IOL designed to address nearsightedness in your 40s. As your eyes undergo further changes in your 50s, you might find yourself needing reading glasses to accommodate these shifts.
Get Cataract Surgery for Better Vision
Embark on the journey to a clearer vision and a brighter future. Schedule your routine eye exam today to detect potential cataracts early on. If you’re considering cataract surgery, trust in the expertise of our ophthalmologists and explore the diverse options available to tailor your vision correction. Your eyes deserve the best care, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Don’t let cataracts blur your vision—take proactive steps towards optimal eye health.