Everything You Need to Know About Cataract Surgery

15 October 2019

Cataracts can affect anybody, from the elderly to newborn babies, but if you’re reading these words right now, there’s a high chance you’re over the age of 40. As our sight ages with us, symptomatic vision loss can occur, often caused by a cataract obscuring the lens. It can be a bit scary at first, nobody wants to have a one-on-one chat with a cataract specialist, but cataract surgery is considered a routine procedure which only takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes.

700,000 Australians are diagnosed with cataracts annually, so you’re not alone in your diagnosis. Of those 700,000 however, a fair percentage go on to regain their lost vision and even reduce how many times a day they pick up their glasses. Let’s take a closer look at cataract surgery, how much it costs, recovery time and potential complications.

What to Expect During Your Cataract Surgery Operation

Cataracts disrupt the picture your eye communicates to your brain. If ignored or delayed, a cataract won’t go away, instead it grows bigger, leading to worsening symptoms and greater obstruction. The good news? Provided no other eye diseases are contributing to your vision impairment, a simple cataract op can reverse any issues almost straight away, recovery time notwithstanding.

So, what should you expect when you have a cataract removed? Your very experienced cataract surgeon will make a small incision in the eye, break down the cataract before removing it and replace it with an artificial lens. The whole process takes under 30 minutes. Nervous about being awake? You’ll be under a twilight sedation – at Eye Specialists, we like to make sure you’re comfortable every step of the way. If you have cataracts in both eyes, there will be around two weeks between the surgeries.

How Much Does Cataract Surgery Cost?

The final figure really depends on your healthcare circumstances and the type of lens required to correct your vision. Even if you have health insurance, you may not be covered for cataract removal – if this is the case, and you’re happy to explore the public system, there are options available to you. Conversely, fully insured patients can book into Charlestown Private Hospital. Either way, you’ll receive the utmost care and the attention of experienced, highly trained eye specialists.

What is the Average Cataract Surgery Recovery Time?

You’ll be happy to hear cataract surgery recovery is short and sweet, much like the procedure itself. Expect blurred vision for a couple of days following the surgery, but you should be able to return to real life – including driving – three days post-procedure. That’s not to say your eyes are completely healed. For the next two weeks, avoid dirty, dusty environments, leave the heavy-lifting to someone else and avoid beaches and pools – you can shower, but no swimming laps or diving into the ocean. Make sure you apply the prescribed eye drops as directed until the bottle is empty – not only will these drop lubricate your recovering eyes, but they help the corneal tissue heal too.

Are There Cataract Surgery Recovery Complications to Consider?

Every surgical procedure carries a degree of risk. Thanks to modern inventions, refined practices and the steady hands of experienced eye professionals all around the world, it is highly unlikely you will suffer any complications. That said, we believe every patient should be informed of the potential outcomes of their choice, even if those outcomes are negative – cataract surgery complications include inflammation, swelling, infection, cataract retention, glaucoma, bleeding, worsening eye conditions and a lack of improvement, due to the presence of other eye diseases (like macular degeneration). Complications can require further surgery or repair strategies.

Don’t wait until your sight is almost gone. Book a consultation with EyeSpecialists and catch cataracts before they become a big problem. Already struggling to see? Our highly skilled doctors offer timely treatment, attentive postoperative care and clear instructions every step of the way. We are committed to your safety, wellbeing and satisfaction.

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ASO - Australian Society of Ophthalmologists
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