A Closer Look At Cataracts
Cataracts are common in the elderly, and there’s no doubt that people are living considerably longer than they used to. This means that there’s a need for better access to treatment for people who have problems with cataracts. In Alberta, the good news is that AHS (Alberta Health Services) has signed an agreement with providers of ophthalmology services to provide 2,140 more surgeries this year for Albertans. This should reduce waiting times.
Do You Need a Cataract Evaluation?
If you’ve found that lately your vision has become cloudy, blurry or dim, or that things don’t seem as colorful as they once were, you could have a cataract in one eye or both. As the cataract develops, you could begin to have difficulty with your daily activities. Usually cataracts take a while to develop, but you should get in touch with your ophthalmologist to have an evaluation done, and to investigate the possibility that you may need cataract surgery. Unfortunately, cataracts cannot be treated with eye drops or other medications ?? the only possible cataract treatment is surgery.
What Is Involved in Cataract Surgery?
When cataracts are causing you to have vision problems, and surgery is warranted, the procedure is very simple. It’s done under general anesthesia, so you’ll be able to sleep through the operation, and you’ll be able to go home the same day. The doctor will remove the cloudy, natural lens, and replace it with an artificial lens implant. Once the procedure is over, some antibiotic drops will be placed in your eyes in order to prevent infection, and anti-inflammatory drops will also be used to reduce swelling.
You’ll spend a bit of time in the post-operative room because you’ll be groggy. Someone will have to drive you home, and you won’t be able to drive for 24 hours.
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Your eye will be covered by a bandage, or perhaps you’ll just be asked to wear sunglasses. You’ll need to avoid rubbing the eye, or even touching it.
You can resume light activities almost immediately. If you require a bath or shower, keep your eyes closed. Don’t wear any kind of makeup until your doctor gives approval.
Some aspects of your vision, like color perception, will likely improve immediately. Others may take a few weeks to six months. During the first week, you may see halos or a glare around lights ?? don’t worry; this is normal and it will go away.
Make sure that you use any eye drops and other medications that your doctor may have prescribed on schedule and exactly as directed. Keep in mind that your old glasses are also a type of prescription, and that with your new artificial lens, your prescription for your eyeglasses may be outdated. You should check with your doctor to find out if you should be using your old glasses.
A week or two following the surgery, you should be able to resume all your day-to-day activities. Congratulations, you’re on the road to better eyesight!