How do I prepare for small-incision cataract surgery (phacoemulsification)?
Before proceeding with the surgery, you will have a consultation session with your eye doctor. During this session, our ophthalmologist will discuss which intraocular lens (IOL) best suits your eye, vision and lifestyle.
Your surgeon may suggest:
Monofocal IOL, which provides good distant vision following the surgery
Presbyopia-Correcting IOLs, which provide great distance vision as well as help people with presbyopia (an age-related inability to see well at arm’s length or close objects). There are two types of lenses available: accommodating lenses and multifocal lenses
Toric IOLs are used to correct astigmatism, a vision impairment that causes blurry vision at all distances and is often caused by an irregularly shaped cornea.
What happens during phacoemulsification surgery?
The entire phacoemulsification procedure would usually be performed in less than 30 minutes and generally requires only local anaesthetic (an anaesthetic injected around the eye) or topical anaesthesia (numbing drops inserted into the eye).
During the procedure, our ophthalmologist will make a small incision at the edge of the cornea, next to the outer corner.
The hard part of the lens (nucleus) will be broken into small fragments using an ultrasonic probe and then sucked out.
After removing your cataract lens, our ophthalmologist will replace it with the selected IOL that was determined during the consultation session.
What happens after phacoemulsification surgery?
It is recommended to ask our ophthalmologist what to expect and what precautions to take after the surgery. You are safe to head home after the surgery but it is best to have someone drive you home as your vision may be blurry after the surgery.
You may see dark spots and there might be discharge, itching of the eye or the eye may appear red; this should disappear a few weeks after surgery. A few precautions that our ophthalmologist may suggest after surgery are to use sunglasses outdoors, use a night shield when sleeping or napping and avoid rubbing or applying pressure on the eye.
Our ophthalmologist may also prescribe medications and eye drops to prevent inflammation or infection of the eye.
How long does it take to recover from phacoemulsification surgery?
You can head back home after the surgery but will be advised to avoid any strenuous activity to the eye for the next 24 hours. Phacoemulsification recovery takes around 2 to 4 weeks. The length of recovery includes the time the eye needs to adjust to the replacement of the lens as well as the restoration of your vision to its optimal potential.
Are there potential phacoemulsification surgery complications?
Like every other cataract surgery, the chances of complications are low. Some complications can be fixed and vision loss can be restored.
Some complications that may follow long after a surgery are problems with glare, dislocated intraocular lens, or aftercataract. These complications can be treated and you should consult our ophthalmologist if you are experiencing them.