The eye is made up of many parts and layers. The lens is the clear structure that sits behind the iris, or the colored part of the eye. The lens allows light to pass through the eye where it can be focused by the retina.
A cataract is a formation of proteins that clouds the lens of the eye and interferes with vision. Cataracts are a common result of aging and are the most prevalent cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 40.
Cataract surgery restores clearer vision to patients by removing the lens that has been affected by a cataract and replacing it with an IOL, or intraocular lens. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure. However, patients should understand that side effects will develop as they recover from this treatment. Dr. Steven Chander prepares patients for the cataract surgery side effects to expect after treatment at our Chicago, IL practice, Primary Eye Care Associates.
Cataract surgery is performed to improve a patient’s vision, and it does achieve that goal. However, it takes the eyes time to heal and adjust to the intraocular lens that is placed during surgery.
While many patients will notice an immediate improvement in their vision after cataract surgery, it is likely that images will remain slightly blurry for at least the first several days after treatment. Most patients notice a gradual improvement in their eyesight for the first week or two after cataract surgery.
Once the full results of surgery have been achieved, which usually takes just a couple of weeks, many patients are able to see clearly without the use of any prescription lenses.
Dry eyes are a common side effect of most eye surgeries, including cataract surgery. As the eyes heal, they may not produce as many tears as they did prior to surgery. It is important to keep the eyes moist until the natural moisture level is restored.
We recommend that patients use artificial tears in the weeks following cataract surgery. Patients should use lubricating drops several times a day until the dry feeling subsides, which is usually within a couple of weeks after treatment.
Itchy Eyes or Irritation
As the eyes heal from cataract surgery, it is typical for them to feel itchy and irritated. This discomfort is compounded by the fact that the eyes are dryer than usual. It is important to avoid rubbing or scratching the eyes, no matter how itchy they feel, as this can interfere with the healing process.
To avoid rubbing the eyes, we ask patients to wear an eye shield continuously for three days after surgery, and while sleeping for the first week of recovery. Lubricating eye drops can help manage any itchy irritation, and over-the-counter pain medication can help control general discomfort.
Cataract surgery is the only way to effectively treat cataracts and restore a patient’s vision. If you have questions about the cataract surgery procedure or what to expect during recovery, contact us at your earliest convenience. Dr. Steven Chander would be happy to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.