How to Prepare For Cataract Surgery

June 03, 2021

Cataracts develop when the lens of the eye becomes clouded over time. This condition is usually an age-related eye issue, and it causes problems with seeing clearly. However, cataracts can usually be fixed through an outpatient procedure performed by an ophthalmologist. While the surgery itself won’t take long, cataract patients must also undergo a preparation and recovery process. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for cataract surgery.

Step 1: The Consultation

If you have a cataract in either eye or both eyes that you want removed, your first course of action should be to talk to your ophthalmologist about the possibility of surgery. In some cases, your ophthalmologist may suggest this during a routine exam before you bring it up. They will look at your medical history and ask you questions about your health, and will likely perform a few basic tests to ensure that you’re a good candidate to receive cataract surgery. They will also introduce you to the different procedures available for cataract surgery and help you choose which one will work best for your needs. Different kinds of replacement eye lenses are also available, from a regular synthetic lens to lenses that use more advanced technology to improve your vision.

Step 2: The Lead-Up

About a week prior to your surgery, your ophthalmologist will want to see you again to perform a few more minor, painless tests, such as an ultrasound of your eye to determine its size and shape in order to most effectively operate. Your doctor will also discuss the process with you, likely advising the following:

  • Arrange a ride to and from the surgery center (as you’ll be unable to drive after the procedure)
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing like a sweatshirt and sweatpants on the day of surgery
  • Don’t wear any kind of makeup, cosmetics, perfume, or cologne the day of the procedure
  • Don’t eat or drink anything the night before or at least six hours prior to the procedure

During this meeting, your doctor will also likely prescribe you medications for preparation and recovery.

Step 3: The Procedure

The day of your cataract procedure, plan to arrive at the surgery center at least 30 minutes early so you can check in and fill out any extra paperwork. This is also a time to ask any final questions (don’t be afraid to ask anything you need to!) and receive anti-anxiety medication if you have discussed that with your doctor.

Once your ophthalmologist is ready for you, you will be taken to a preparation and operation room. Here, you will receive some form of localized anesthesia and be moved into the correct position for your procedure. Your eye will be held open using special tools, and the doctor will perform the procedure. The most common technique used today for cataract surgery is called phacoemulsification. If this is your and your ophthalmologist’s chosen technique, your doctor will:

  • Create a tiny incision in your eye
  • Break the cataract using an ultrasonic device
  • Remove the pieces of the cataract with suction
  • Insert a brand new synthetic lens
  • Seal the incision with a special liquid (usually, no stitches or sutures are required)

After the procedure is over, your eye will be covered with an eye shield and you will be led to a recovery room for 15-30 minutes.

Step 4: Recovery

After your procedure, you will need a lot of rest. It’s usually a good idea to take a long nap as soon as you get home. You will also need to begin using your prescribed recovery eye drops as directed by your doctor. During the first 24 to 48 hours of your recovery, your eye may feel itchy or appear red. It may also feel sore or irritated, and it may sting or burn. Your vision may also be blurry. All of these initial side effects are normal, but you should talk to your doctor immediately if they persist for more than a couple of days. Blurry vision may take up to a week to resolve.

During your recovery and subsequent follow-up appointments, it will be important to:

  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eye
  • Use your eye drops according to your doctor’s instructions
  • Sleep with a protective eye patch or shield at night to avoid injuring yourself
  • Wear protective eyewear during the day if your doctor recommends it
  • Avoid using contact lenses 

It’s also important to note that you may still need corrective lenses or eyeglasses even after your cataract surgery for tasks like reading and using a computer.

At Piedmont Eye Center, it’s our goal to ensure that you’re satisfied with your eye care, and we want to make sure that you experience the best sight possible. If you have cataracts and need to get them removed, contact us today to schedule a consultation!

What Our Patients Think

    I couldn't recommend a better doctor, a better facility, and I'm so glad I did it.
  • Brenda Edson in front of a brick home
    Brenda Edson /
    "I could not have asked for a better experience at Piedmont Eye Center. From my very first visit, the staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and genuinely interested in me."
  • Bobby Moore /
    "I wish I would have done it many years ago now."
  • Bryan Mitchell outside of a football stadium
    Bryan Mitchell / ANALYST
    "My vision was the best it had been since I was a teen. I had my LASIK surgery performed almost 2 years ago, and it is as good today as it was then."
  • Caroline Trexler /
    "They ensured that the entire process from preliminary appointments to follow up visits went seamlessly – the perfect team that gave me perfect vision."
    "All and all, this has been a very pleasant and beneficial period for me. I recommend it highly for anyone in a similar situation.'
  • Cynthia Stewart standing outside
    Cynthia /
    "I feel almost like a new person It’s a wonderful feeling to wake up in the morning and be able to actually see across the room without fumbling for my glasses. "
  • Frances / RETIRED
    "Dr. Ceballos has always been very positive, clarifying everything medically, never leaving me in doubt and has always made me feel special and important."
  • Guy / RETIRED
    "The procedure was painless, and now I’m happy to say I only wear glasses to read. I have 20/20 vision in my left eye and 20/25 in my right. "
  • Janice Bloom standing in front of a tree
    "Dr. Bowers and his staff treated me with the utmost in professional care, making sure I was comfortable throughout the entire process."
  • Barbara / RETIRED
    "The procedure was pain free and I am so pleased with the results. It was money well spent and it is unbelievable how clear and colorful everything is. I want to tell Dr. Bowers and his staff how grateful I am."
  • Jerome / RETIRED
    "Doctor Vogel has treated me professionally as has his staff. They have been caring and have answered my questions to my satisfaction."
  • Jon Dupin standing outside of a brick home
    Jon Dupin / PASTOR
    "LASIK is not just a medical advancement to me; it’s a miracle"
  • Josh Brewer / HUMANITARIAN AID
    "Because of Dr. Bowers and his team at Piedmont Eye Center, my everyday life is now a whole lot easier. "
  • Judy Bowman / MISSIONARY
    "My experience of having Laser Vision Correction was fantastic. Dr. Bowers and all his staff are so knowledgeable and professional, yet very personal, warm, caring, and friendly."
  • Lucy standing in a classroom
    Lucy /
    "Dr. Bowers and his team were very comforting. The next morning, I opened my eyes and was able to see the alarm clock across the room, which I was never able to see before. It was a miracle!"
  • Martha Ann / GRANDMOTHER
    "It is a wonderful feeling to have no RX lenses. I want to thank Dr. Bowers and the Surgery Center for the freedom I feel.”
  • Monica Shelton / Featured Patient
    "Everyone told me what they were going to be doing to me and what to expect every step of the way. My experience with Piedmont Eye Center and Dr. Bowers and the whole LASIK team was awesome!"
  • Adelia / RETIRED
    "God led me to Dr. Vogel. He is absolutely the most wonderful doctor in the world. Not only is he a great doctor, he is a great ‘people person’. You always feel safe with him."
  • Penny Abbot in front of a home
    Penny Abbott / Financial Consultant
    "From the great staff who helped me, to the simplicity of setting up my flexible spending account, to my complete satisfaction and enjoyment of having clear sight, this has been an easy process."
    "The staff at Piedmont eased my nerves and the procedure was swift and smooth."
  • Sue Earsing and lasik eye surgery
    "I have always seen the world through glasses or contacts, so the sharpness of vision I have now was never there before."
    “Dr. Bowers not only met my expectations, he surpassed them. I had no idea that vision like this was possible. I no longer struggle in the shadows of a course- everything is clearer.”
  • Troy Doss
    "Piedmont Eye Center takes care of the little things to make LASIK a comfortable process."
Read More Testimonials