June is National Cataract Awareness month, so let’s get to it with eyes wide open. Here are straight-up cataract facts and what patients can do to speed up recovery after cataract removal.
A cataract is a progressive clouding of our natural lens. “You’ll get it. I’ll get it. When you’re 50-plus, your lens starts to become more and more dysfunctional. It gets a little harder, a little darker, a little less flexible,” says Dr. Luke Barker, who specializes in laser cataract surgery at Mann Eye Institute. Cataract symptoms are cloudy vision, poor color recognition, glare from night driving, and frequent prescription changes in glasses or contacts.
Cause of Cataracts
In addition to age, researchers worldwide have identified several causes of cataracts:
- High myopia (nearsightedness)
- Previous eye inflammation or injury
- Prolonged use of steroidal medications
- Ultraviolet radiation exposure
Understand that cataracts cannot be treated with medication, eye drops or lifestyle changes. “So far, surgery’s the only way to treat cataracts,” says Dr. Barker.
Cataract Treatment and Speedy Recovery
Trust your eyes to Houston/Austin cataracts specialists at Mann Eye Institute. We are pleased to offer the latest advancements in treating cataracts including Active Life Lens™ laser technologies that can correct your cataracts and get you out of those glasses. Active Life Lenses restore your vision to a greater degree, for instance correcting astigmatism and providing sharp vision at far, intermediate and near distances.
Mann Eye Institute also is the first to market in bringing you the CATALYS™ Precision Laser for specific cataract surgery. This technology is gentler on the patient and has a liquid optics interface, which does the imaging through liquid instead of putting light pressure on the eyes. “The laser is more precise than any human hand could ever be,” says Dr. Barker. Patients who qualify receive a remarkably accurate and comfortable procedure with CATALYS laser.
Mann Eye Institute patients also benefit from a new “dropless” cataract surgery, designed to eliminate one of the more tedious aspects of cataract surgery and recovery: Postoperative eye drops. With dropless, your surgeon will place the drop medications within the eye during the procedure, where they slowly dissolve over time. This allows most patients to heal faster without the need for additional prescription eye drops.
How Else Can You Speed up Recovery?
Laser-Assisted cataract surgery often takes no longer than about 10 minutes to perform. You will need to rest in a recovery area about 30 minutes to an hour while the grogginess from sedation or anesthesia wears off. You must have someone on call to drive you home after the procedure. We provide a pair of sunglasses to wear on your trip home to protect your eye from bright light.
Within the same day of surgery, you should be able to resume normal daily activities: Computer work, light TV watching, showering. Here are some extra cataract facts for a speedy recovery:
- Take a nap if you are sleepy when you arrive home. Just remember to wear the protective eye shield your surgeon provides during naps or at night.
- Be careful walking around after surgery as it may take a little time for your vision to clear.
- Don’t rub your eye.
- Don’t drive the first day. The next day is fine. In fact, most people could pass their driver’s test the first day after cataract surgery, according to Dr. Barker.
- Go ahead and resume your work or home duties.
- Don’t do any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise activities for the first couple weeks.
- Avoid exposure to irritants such as dust and wind during the first couple weeks.
- Avoid swimming or using a hot tub during the first week.
- Go to your follow-up appointment with your cataract surgeon the day after the procedure to ensure no complications.
Most patients experience clear vision within several hours after cataract surgery. But since each person heals differently, it may take a week or two before seeing things in their sharpest focus.
Schedule a free initial cataract consultation and screening today with Mann Eye Institute. We will share all of our cataract surgery options to give you a clear idea of what will benefit your vision and lifestyle. We are dedicated to helping you See Life Better.