Cataract Information for Patients

What is a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. When the lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass through it easily and vision becomes blurred.

What causes cataracts?
Cataract development is a normal process of aging. Cataracts can also be present at birth, develop from injuries, certain diseases, medications or long-term exposure to sunlight.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?
∙Cloudy or blurry vision
∙Colours seem to fade
∙Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses / contact lenses
∙Haloes may appear around lights
∙Double vision or multiple images in one eye
∙Poor night vision
∙Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright.

How is a cataract treated?
A cataract may not need to be treated if your vision is only slightly blurry. Simply changing your eyeglasses prescription may help improve your vision for a while. There are no medications, eye drops, exercises or glasses that will cause cataracts to disappear or prevent them from forming.
Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. When you are no longer able to see well enough to do the things you like to do, cataract surgery should be considered. Cataract surgery involves removing the cataract and replacing it with an artificial lens.

The risks of cataract surgery
Though they rarely occur, possible complications of cataract surgery are:
•Swelling of the retina
•Swelling of the cornea
•Detachment of the retina
•Dislocation of the lens and/or lens implant

Preparing for your cataract surgery
• If you are claustrophobic, please tell Dr. Mack before the day of your surgery.
• If you take blood thinners (e.g. Aspirin, Plavix, Warfarin), check with your surgeon to be advised if there is a need to stop them before surgery. Do NOT stop these medications without your surgeon’s advice.
• If you have ever taken the drug Flomax (Tamsulosin), please inform Dr. Mack.
• You will need to arrange for a responsible adult to take you home from surgery and stay with you until the next day.

Beginning three (3) days before your surgery
You will start taking different types of eye drops which will prepare your eye for surgery.
∙ One type of eye drop is used to decrease the amount of swelling in your eye that may occur as a result of cataract surgery.
∙ A second type of eye drop is used to prevent eye infection.
∙ A third eye drop may be necessary in some cases to help dilate the pupil.

Please note:
If you use glaucoma drops continue to take them up to and including the morning of your surgery.

How to put in your eye drops
1. Wash your hands.
2. Shake the bottle of eye drops well.
3. Remove the cap from the bottle.
4. Sit with your head tilted back or lie down.
5. Open both eyes and look up. With one finger, draw the lower eye lid of your operated eye down to form a “cup”.
6. With the medication in the other hand, hold it as near as possible to the eyelid without touching the eyelid and squeeze the eye drop into the cup made when the lower lid is pulled down.
7. Do not touch the eye or eyelid with the bottle.
8. Close the eye gently for one (1) full minute. With a tissue, gently remove excess liquid from the eye lash/cheek.
9. Wait five (5) minutes before putting in a different type of eye drop.

Day of your surgery
• Do NOT eat anything after midnight prior to surgery.
• Shower or bathe the evening before or the morning of your surgery. You must remove all your face make-up.
• Wear comfortable clothes that do not need to be pulled over your head. This will make it easier to get dressed for home.
• Please leave all valuables at home.
• Take your regular prescription medications with a sip of water prior to 6:30 am on the morning of your surgery except:

*Do NOT take your insulin or diabetic medication on the morning of surgery (Bring Diabetic medication and insulin with you)

*Do NOT take diuretic medication (Fluid pills) on the morning of surgery.

• Bring all of your medications and/or a printed medication list from the pharmacy with you.

Your Cataract Surgery
The surgery usually lasts for less than one hour. You will receive a local anesthetic (numbing medicine) to numb your eye so you will not feel any pain during the surgery.

During the surgery the nurses and Dr. Mack will explain what they are doing. You will hear a machine talking and making different sounds and noises. You may see light movement but you will not be able to see the surgery while it is happening.

There are only certain times during the procedure when Dr. Mack can safely allow you to move. Therefore, it is crucial for you to remain still unless you have Dr. Mack's permission to move.

Using an operating microscope, the surgeon will make a tiny incision (cut) in the eye. Your cloudy eye lens is removed. Usually, during the same surgery, a new lens is inserted.

Tell Dr. Mack immediately if you:
• Need to cough or sneeze
• If you are uncomfortable If your nose or face is itchy

Eye care following your surgery
∙ Plan to spend a quiet day at home following your surgery.
∙ You will wear a shield over your eye until the morning after your surgery.
∙ You may wear your glasses on the day after surgery, but they may not properly correct your vision. Please ask Dr. Mack on the post op visit about your current eyewear.
∙ You will have a follow-up exam at Dr. Mack's office the day after your surgery. Your post op examination should be arranged ahead of the surgery date, and the location of the visit (Oakhurst or Brick) needs to be confirmed as well.

What to expect after your surgery:
• Your eye may feel scratchy and you may have a burning sensation when putting in your eye drops.
• Your vision may be blurry for the first few days after surgery.
• Mild discomfort is normal and may be relieved by taking Tylenol or Advil.

To avoid injury to your eye you must NOT:
∙ Touch, rub or apply pressure (especially to your upper lid) of your operative eye for two weeks following your surgery.
• Allow soap or water in your eye. You can GENTLY wash around your eye. (2 weeks)
• Lift anything over 25 pounds. (2 weeks)
• Swim for at least four (4) weeks.
• Drive, operate machinery or participate in sports until given permission from your surgeon.

Following Surgery you can:
• Climb stairs-one step at a time until your eyesight improves.
• Have your hair washed by another person for two weeks. Keep your head back, such as in a beauty salon or barber shop, to avoid getting water in your eye.
• Take a bath, as long as you avoid getting soap or water in your eye.
• Watch T.V. or read at your own comfort. A feeling of eye strain or pressure in the eye is a warning to stop any activity.
• Shave.

Call Dr. Mack right away if you have:
• Severe pain, especially associated with nausea and vomiting.
• Increased swelling, bruising, redness or unusual discharge of your operative eye.
• Sudden flashes of light in the eye.
• Significant decrease in vision.
• A shadow as though a dark curtain has been drawn across your eye.