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Sarah asked...

My father is to undergo cataract surgery.

My father is to undergo cataract surgery shortly, could you please explain what this entails, how long the operation will take , how long the recovery period will be , and what if any major risks there are. He is 87 with an aortic aneurysm. Thank you

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The answer

The good news is that cataract surgery is very quick, usually taking about 30-45 minutes to perform. The patient stays awake for the operation, so a general anaesthetic is not needed. This means the risk to the patient is very low (and the aortic aneurysm will not be affected).

The patient’s head is held very still during the operation by a brace. The vision is improved almost immediately (because the cloudy lens that has been affecting the vision is removed and replaced with a new lens). An injection is given to the eye area so it does not hurt during the operation. Most patients can go home the same day, as long as there is someone to look after them. Drops will need to be applied into the eyes afterwards to help the eyes heal (usually for about a month).  It is best to rest for a few days after the operation. The main risks for the operation are to do with the vision. Risks are low but include the cloudy vision to return (posterior capsule opacification), infection and retinal detachment.

Answered by Dr Emmajane Down.


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