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Not Your Parents Cataract Surgery Anymore

By: Trent L. Vande Garde,  MD

I am frequently asked questions by my patients about what they can expect during their cataract surgery experience. Understandably, most people get nervous when they think about having a procedure done involving their eyes. Many of them have also heard stories from others in the past about cataract surgery involving hospitals, pain, injections, stitches and restrictions on their normal activities during the healing process.

The good news is that I can now tell them that current day cataract surgery is completely different than the stories they’ve heard. We no longer have to go to the hospital, put patients to sleep, use injections around the eye, use stitches, or restrict their normal activities following their surgery.

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Cataract surgery is now performed as an outpatient procedure and the surgery itself usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Because patients are nervous on the day of surgery we give some relaxing medicine prior to going into the operating room. I also talk to each of them as we go through the procedure to help put them at ease. Our goal is to make the whole process as comfortable and easy as possible. The most common reaction from patients after their procedure is, “That was so much easier than I thought it was going to be!”

During the postoperative healing process, patients are able to return to normal activities the next day. The old way of performing cataract surgery required restrictions such as not bending over or lifting things for several days. These type of restrictions are no longer required. Many patients are also glad to hear that once cataracts are removed they never come back. So this is a procedure that only needs to be performed once.

As you can see, cataract surgery has dramatically changed from the way it used to be done. Though I expect patients to be nervous, once they get through the process, many of them tell me they should have done it sooner. My goal is to make the entire process as comfortable and easy as possible for all of my patients.

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