about my cataract surgery today

I can’t remember a damn thing. Some eye drops. Then getting on the gurney, the dr. taping my head to the headrest and drawing an arrow to the eye needing surgery. Then I was awake, shaking from hypoglycemia, fed sicky sweet apple juice, wheeled to the med. center entrance, and driven home by Devoted Big Sister.

I’m told I asked questions when I “appeared lucid” but was still zonked. :smack: And reassured that I didn’t say or do anything that might show up on youtube. :slight_smile:

Follow-up visit with my regular eye dr. tomorrrow, in two weeks, in a month, then I get the all-clear. Barring any complications.

Henry Ford would be so proud of the way the surgery center has adapted the assembly line method for zipping patients in one door and out the other. :rolleyes:

Congrats on getting this done! My sweetie had hers done a couple of years ago and loves her cyborg-enhanced distance vision. Still needs reading glasses, though. Hope you have an excellent, worry-free recovery period.

I assume you had an IV, right. It’s my understanding that they usually give you a sedative to keep you from flinching, but if you don’t remember anything, they almost certainly gave you Versed as well. About 5 minutes after that’s in you until it wears off an hour or two later, that part of your life is gone. It’s how they keep you semi-awake enough to give you instructions, but keep you from remembering something traumatic…like cutting or burning off part of your eyeball. It’s also used for endoscopes and colonoscopies as part of the cocktail to put you in a ‘twilight’ (for me the rest of the cocktail was Benadryl and morphine).

They also gave it to me for my shoulder surgery, but I’m not sure why. It could be so I don’t remember the prep that came in the minutes before the surgery, but I have to wonder if they give it to all surgery patients in case you have that ‘I was awake but paralyzed’ experience, you don’t remember it.

No sedative or IV when I had mine done, other than a mild relaxant if you asked for it. Eye drops, then a needle to the eye area to deaden the optic nerve, but I was awake and aware throughout. Slightly traumatic, especially the needle to the eye, but really no big deal.

Versed is the usual sedative for non-complex cataract cases, and yes, it’s basically brain Teflon. By 48 hours post-surgery, patients generally remember next to nothing, even though they were aware enough in the OR to obey instructions from the surgeon.

These days, the vast majority of cataract cases (again, excluding complex cases) are “no-shot, no-stitch, no-patch,” unlike your parents’ or grandparents’ cataract surgeries in the 70s. Modern intraocular lenses are thin and soft enough to be rolled up and delivered through a syringe, then unrolled inside the eye, meaning the incisions are small enough to require no stitches. The shot (a retrobulbar nerve block) that used to be routine is now generally abandoned in favor of topical numbing drops.

OCS, clinic director at a cataract surgery center, and whose wife is the post-op nurse at that center

I had Versed when they set my broken ankle. Good shit.

Glad to see you can roll both eyes so soon after surgery!

That sounds reassuring. Like a lot of older folks, I’m showing the beginnings of cataracts.

But how do they remove the old lens?

A small suction tube inserted through the incision, I believe. While I was awake for the whole thing, I couldn’t see anything, so flinching wasn’t an issue. It’s a very fast procedure, with the lead-in procedures taking longer than the actual surgery.

Up until the 70s, the lens was broken into pieces with a couple of hand-held “choppers,” and the pieces then pulled out of the eye through the access incision. This is why your parents or grandparents needed stitches and an eyepatch after cataract surgery, and probably had to spend days in bed afterwards, not exerting themselves at all.

Starting in the late 70s (later in some places), an ultrasound probe was used to liquefy the cataract (a process uncreatively named “phacoemulsification”), which was then sucked out through a (much smaller) access incision. That incision was usually small enough to heal without stitches, leading to the modern “no-stitch, no-patch” procedure.

In the last five years, lasers have come on the scene, creating the access incisions and opening the lens capsule with unprecedented speed and precision. The laser can then pre-fragment the cataractous lens, leading to the surgeon using less ultrasound energy to finish the job of phacoemulsification. Less energy applied to the eye = less trauma to surrounding tissues, which we believe can lead to faster healing and better postoperative vision.

This is very good to know. I remember my grandmother getting cataract surgery in the early 1970s, and she was patched up and in pain for days. I hadn’t realized it has become such a fast and easy surgery. Thanks.

My father’s first eye when smoothly, and he didn’t remember much. The second one, the person putting in the IV missed the vein so the sedative/amnesiac meds filled up his hand. He was aware through the whole operation. :eek: So don’t be polite like my father, and say something if the IV doesn’t feel right. I was sitting right there too and he didn’t say anything to me.

ETA: He’s fine now and just has to wear glasses for the reading bifocals. I guess you have to go back once to have a film lasered off and then that should be it.

I’m a bit late in getting on with the rest if the story.

Eyedrops: gatifloxacin and ketorolac, 1 drop each, 4x/day. Three days before surgery and then gatifloxacin stops. Ketorolac continues for another week.

Durezol: 2x/day for first week post-surgery. Third and fourth week, durezol 1x/daily at bedtime.

No strenuous activity. No bending over. No lifting above 20# max. My dog is 22# so he’ll be sleeping on the floor for a while longer.

I’m amazed at the clarity of vision in my left eye. The cataract grew so slowly I didn’t notice the vision loss.

Aside from having to wear sunglasses all the time, I feel fine; not a bit of pain. Until the bills come in, that is.

Thanks everyone for adding to my non-story.


There is no FECKING way I could stay on the table for that.

Whatever you do… do not rub your eye no matter how much it itches…

No table; reclining chairs.

The alternative was steadily deteriorating vision, everything in sepia tones, inability to drive at night, and a prescription that was changing every few months and costing a shitload of money. End result: 20/15 in one eye and 20/25 in the other (slight astigmatism).

No, the alternative was to ask for an anesthetic.

The only thing they offered was a mild sedative, which I declined for the first eye. There was no pain, only discomfort. All the drops they used numbed things up. I agreed to the sedative for the second one, but didn’t notice any real difference. Seeing the world with clarity was worth it all.

Yeah, somehow my father’s don’t-rock-the-boat mentality won out over shrieking, I don’t know how! Luckily it is a relatively short procedure and he knew what steps would happen and how much was left.

I have glasses on most of the time, which helps. And I plan to wear my eye shield during sleep until a month after surgery. Being very cautious.