Is Cataract Surgery Painful?
Preparing yourself for any kind of surgery can be a scary prospect. From planning your journey to the clinic or hospital and considering how long you might be away from home, to worries about the procedure itself – there is often a lot to consider. One of the most common questions that patients have when seeking treatment for cataracts is this: Is Cataract Surgery painful?
Luckily, many ocular surgeries are now much less invasive than they used to be – in many cases, much less so than other traditional procedures. For example, while many patients may expect to spend at least a night or two in a hospital following other kinds of surgery, patients undergoing Cataract Surgery and Laser Eye Surgery can return home within a matter of hours.
Are Cataracts Painful?
Cataracts are a natural part of the body’s ageing process with their development becoming increasingly common as we get older. While the formation of cataracts can have a significant impact on a person’s life, they are not usually painful when treated in a timely manner.
Pain may be experienced if a patient also has another eye condition or if cataracts are allowed to reach advanced stages of development. As such, it is essential to contact an eye specialist as soon as you experience any signs of cataracts, including if:
- Your eyesight becomes blurred or misty;
- Lights appear too bright or glaring;
- You find it harder to see in low light;
- Colours look more faded.
What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure designed to remove cataracts that have developed in the eye. These are cloudy obstructions that can significantly affect your vision. For example, many people with cataracts may have difficulties in perceiving colours and details, and may also experience night glare.
As cataracts develop, these side effects gradually worsen and in severe cases can even cause blindness. The good news is that Cataract Surgery is a simple and effective procedure that can restore vision to its former glory. This is done by replacing the eye’s natural lens (and so removing the cataract) and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
Is Cataract Surgery Painful?
In order for the surgeon the be able to access the cataract, small incisions must be made in the surface of the eye. The cataract can then be broken up with the help of ultrasonic waves and drawn out of the eye. Finally, the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an IOL.
While this might sound a little grizzly, the use of an anaesthetic ensures that the patient does not feel any pain during the procedure. Patients who have undergone Cataract Surgery tend to report that they feel a little pressure and tightness in the eye. In fact, the application of the numbing eye drops may well be the most unpleasant part of the surgery.
After the Procedure
When it comes to many traditional surgeries, anticipating the recovery process can often cause as much apprehension as the procedure itself. Overnight stays in the hospital, time off work, and the potential of a painful recovery can cause real disruption to patients’ lives.
In contrast, the simplicity of Cataract Surgery means that the vast majority of patients are able to head home in just a matter of hours. The fast-healing nature of the eyes means that many patients experience minimal pain in the days and weeks following their surgery.
To minimise this further, you may be fitted with an eye pad and plastic shield to protect your eye from light and debris; however, this can usually be removed the day after your surgery, though it is recommended to wear the plastic shield at night for at least a week.
Some common side effects which may occur during your recovery include:
- Eyes watering
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- A red or bloodshot eye
It is important to contact a doctor or healthcare professional if you begin to experience increased pain and/or redness or decreased vision after Cataract Surgery.