What to expect on surgery day
You will need to arrive at Memorial Eye Institute’s surgery center entrance about an hour prior to your procedure. Once the team has checked you in, the nurse will offer you a sedative to help you relax and dilate the pupil in your operative eye. They will then prepare you for surgery.
Once in the operating room, the nurse will clean the area around your eyes and apply a sterile drape. We then use eye drops to numb the eyes. If necessary, an anesthesiologist will administer intravenous sedation and monitor your vital signs during the procedure. An eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the surgery.
We then make microscopic incisions in the cornea and use a tiny ultrasonic probe to break up the cataract into microscopic particles using high-energy sound waves. This ultrasound technique is called phacoemulsification. We then gently suction the cataract particles from the eye and insert a folded intraocular lens (IOL) through the micro-incision into the eye where it unfolds into the proper position behind the pupil. The small incisions usually self seal without the need for stitches. This type of incision heals fast and provides a more rapid and comfortable recovery.
You will go to the recovery room where nurses will go over post-operative care, and you will be discharged. Because you may have received some sedation during surgery, you will need transportation home. We encourage you to relax for the rest of the day. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many patients report improvement in their vision almost immediately after the procedure. Most patients return to their normal activities within a day or two.