Cataract surgery is usually a day-only procedure, performed by your ophthalmologist at The Eye Hospital* under local anaesthetic with light sedation administered by a specialist anaesthetist.
*The Eye Hospital is located in Charles Street, Launceston

On arrival at the hospital you will be given eye drops to dilate your pupil. If you choose to include Femtosecond Laser the procedure is done on the day of your cataract surgery in a room just outside the theatre complex. Immediately after your laser procedure you will proceed to theatre for your cataract surgery and intraocular lens placement.

Once in the operating room the area around your eye will be cleaned and sterilised and a drape will be placed over you.

The operation usually takes less than 30 minutes and is virtually painless. The majority of patients are awake during surgery and after your sedation, you will have a local anaesthetic block put into your eye to numb the nerves in and around your eye. You will not have to worry about holding your eye open because an instrument known as a 'lid speculum' will hold your eyelids open without discomfort. You will see light and movement during surgery, but the procedure is not uncomfortable.

It is a delicate operation that involves manipulation of the tiny structures inside the eye. A high powered microscope is used to view the parts of the eye clearly. A tiny incision is made at the outer edge of the cornea and a probe is inserted which is used to remove the cataract. This probe uses ultrasound which breaks the cataract into tiny pieces allowing the cataract to be gently vacuumed from the eye. An artificial lens is then inserted, called an intraocular lens (IOL). This lens is needed to bring light rays into proper focus onto the retina. The incision created is self-sealing and usually no sutures are used, which increases post-operative comfort, improves recovery and the final visual result.

In some cases, the artificial lens adjusts to a greater or lesser degree for near- or far-sightedness and can even reduce or eliminate the need for glasses. There are many different types of artificial lens and your ophthalmologist will discuss which lens is going to give you the best possible outcome.

After the operation, a shield or a pad will be placed over your eye and you will rest for a short period of time and will be right to go home the same day. You will be required to wear a patch over your eye for a short period; you are unable to drive after your surgery for a minimum of 24 hours, you should confirm with your ophthalmologist when you will be able to recommence driving.

After surgery your eye will be padded and your surgeon will advise you if this can be removed before your appointment the following day. You are to commence using your post operative eye drops when you remove the eye pad. At your post operative visit in the rooms at the Launceston Eye Institute your ophthalmologist will check your eye, the corrected vision and the intraocular pressure as well as the retina and optic nerve. You are to continue using your eye drops as instructed by your ophthalmologist up until your next visit which is usually 1-2 weeks later. Your vision should improve following surgery, but this depends on several factors. Some patients may still require glasses after the surgery, which we recommend you wait 4-6 weeks after the operation to allow your eye to settle.

Cataract surgery results are usually excellent, however as with all surgical procedures complications can occur. Routinely, the doctors will discuss any risks with you at your pre-operative consultation.

Anywhere between a few months to 4-5 years after cataract surgery about 10% of patients each year experience blurred vision or have difficulty with glare and loss of visual clarity compared to what they experienced immediately after surgery. (This will increase by 10% each year after surgery and by 5 years it will be 50% chance). This is the result frosting or thickening developing behind where the intraocular lens was inserted during the cataract surgery. This condition is known as Posterior Capsule Opacity.


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