What Should I Expect On The Day Of My Procedure?

Cataract surgery from start to finish typically takes 15 to 30 minutes in the operating room. With the addition of preparing the patient for surgery and the time it takes to recover, most patients complete the entire process in only two hours. That being said, the importance of a successful surgery is just as crucial as a comfortable experience by means of sedation.

How will I not feel anything during surgery?

One of the first things that happens while being prepped for cataract surgery is the numbing of the eye. To do so, anesthetic is typically given by administering a series of eye drops, repeated several times. The repetition is to ensure the eye is fully numb and to ensure the patient sees nothing during surgery.

If the ophthalmologist feels the need for stronger anesthesia in the eye, an injection can be used. The anesthetic can be inserted into the eye to temporarily paralyze the muscles. With this method, the eye will not be able to be moved during surgery.

My eye is relaxed; how can I relax too?

Along with the eye drops or an injection, an anesthetist will be in the room to administer sedation through an IV. The IV sedation keeps the patient in a relaxed state as the eye doctor performs the procedure. The anesthetist stays in the room during the procedure to ensure the patient remains in that state the entire time.

The process is known as MAC anesthesia, or monitored anesthesia care. The peaceful state patients are in is not a complete sedation. The healthcare specialists can still communicate with patients, and patients will be able to respond. Interestingly enough, IV anesthesia often induces a mild amnesic effect. Most patients do not remember any of the experience in the operating room.

What happens if IV anesthesia isn’t enough?

Although a rare occurrence for cataract surgery, general anesthesia can be used as needed. If a patient can’t lay still during the procedure, the anesthetist will put the patient completely to sleep while the cataract is being removed. General anesthesia is always used as a last resort to avoid the risks of placing a patient in a wholly sedated state.

When do I feel back to normal?

After the procedure, the patient is taken to a discharge area to allow the sedation to begin leaving the body. Patients usually start feeling back to normal after only a few minutes. However, certain activities like driving are not allowed for 24 hours as a precaution.