The consultation appointment is to evaluate your cataracts and the effects cataracts are having on your vision. The consultation appointment is not for surgery. Surgery, if needed, will be performed at a different appointment in an outpatient surgery center. After you check in at the front desk, one of our ophthalmic technicians will escort you into a private examination room. You will have a one on one conversation with your technician regarding your health history and you will be asked several questions regarding your vision and visual goals. Your technician will perform testing including, visual acuities, pupillary reaction, eye dominance, eye muscle movements, intraocular eye pressures, refraction, and dilation.
Dilation is done by placing drops in your eyes to enlarge pupil size. This allows the doctor to look inside the eyes and check your ocular health and the severity of your cataracts. The dilation takes about 15-20 minutes, on occasion it may take longer depending on the individual. Pupil dilation may blur your vision. Although it is not mandatory, if you are uncomfortable driving while dilated, you may want to arrange for someone to drive you home. Dilation can last for several hours, longer if you have lighter colored eyes.
Once pupils are dilated, you will be escorted to a different room to be seen by one of our eye surgeons. The doctor will do a thorough examination checking the front and back of the eye. The doctor will discuss with you all pertinent findings regarding the health of your eyes, and answer any questions that you may have.
Once you and your doctor have decided whether cataract surgery is the right option for you, you will be introduced to a surgery scheduler who will provide you with dates and times for future appointments and surgery. The scheduler will give you consent forms and information on different intraocular lens options that we offer at Nevada Eye Consultants. This information is for you to take home and review, no decisions are necessary at this time. You should bring the consent forms to your next appointment. Cataract surgery will be scheduled one eye at a time on separate dates to ensure safety.
After you have selected a surgery date, we will have you return to our office for measurements to calculate the power of the intraocular lens that will be placed in your eye at the time of surgery.
These measurements may include, but are not limited to the following: The curvature of the eye, the length of the eye, orb scan measurement of the shape of the cornea, pachymetry corneal thickness, immersion scan, and B scan.
At this appointment we will discuss the consent forms and answer any questions you may have. You will be asked to sign the consent forms at this visit once all of your questions have been answered. You will be given a slip to have non-fasting lab work done at the location of your choice, the results will be faxed to us. You will also be given a prescription for one of the drops you will be using post operatively. You will want to get this prescription filled prior to your surgery date.
Although it is not typical to be dilated at this appointment, on occasion it is done for additional testing requested by the doctor. You may call our office and speak to a technician if you wish to know whether you will be dilated or not.
Day of Surgery
Your surgery will take place at the outpatient surgery center preferred by your insurance. In most cases, the preferred surgery center is Eye Surgery Center of Northern Nevada which is adjacent to our office.
You should not eat or drink 6 hours prior to your procedure. You should take all medically necessary medication as you normally would with a small amount of water, unless otherwise instructed by the doctor. Any vitamins, supplements, or medications that are not vital, may be taken after your procedure. It is not necessary to discontinue any medication that you are on prior to your procedure. If you take coumadin, you do not need to discontinue taking it.
After you check into the facility one of the nurses will dilate your surgical eye, and start an IV. Once the eye is dilated and an IV has been placed you will be ready for your procedure. We do NOT use general anesthesia, however there is an anesthesiologist present who will administer a sedative to ensure your comfort, and to help you relax.
Cataract surgery takes about 15 minutes, but can vary with each individual person. Although surgery is completed in a short amount of time, please expect to be at the surgery center approximately 2 hours. You must have a driver to take you home after cataract surgery.
Your vision will be blurry the day of your surgery. Most people notice significant vision improvement beginning the day after cataract surgery, but it is normal for the eye to be fuzzy for a few days or few weeks depending on the severity of the cataract. Minor irritation and foreign body sensation is normal, but you should not experience any pain following cataract surgery. Artificial tears or moisture drops should relieve any irritation you experience. You may use over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil for minor discomfort. Please call your doctor if you experience severe discomfort.
Follow-Up Care After Your Procedure
You may resume your normal activities, including reading and watching television the day of surgery. You may not drive until the next day, and you should use care driving if your vision is blurry the day after surgery. You do not have wear an eye patch unless instructed to do so by the doctor. Dark glasses will be provided by the surgery center for comfort. You are not required to wear them, but you may find the eye is more comfortable with dark glasses. Please do not rub or place pressure on the eye during the first month. You may resume normal exercises the day after your procedure. You should not swim or wear eye makeup for one week.
We will see you in our office the day after surgery. At this appointment we will check your vision, eye pressure, and the positioning of the intraocular lens. It is not uncommon for vision to still be blurry the day after surgery, but that should improve in the days ahead. Please bring your medications and medication instruction sheet (given to you at the surgery center) to this appointment.
After the first eye surgery is completed, you will need to be seen in either our office or your referring optometrist’s office prior to your second eye surgery. At this appointment we will check visual acuity, intraocular pressure and refraction in the postoperative eye.
After the second eye surgery is completed, we will repeat this process. Vision stabilizes quickly after cataract surgery, but is normal for minor fluctuations to occur for up to one month. After vision fully stabilizes, glasses will be prescribed if necessary. If there are no other health concerns with the eyes, follow up appointments will be every 1-2 years, and can be done with your optometrist.