Before Small-Incision Cataract Surgery

Like any operation, small-incision cataract surgery needs preparation.

Your health history

Your eye healthcare provider will review your health history. Based on that, they may order tests or talk to your other healthcare providers. Tell your eye healthcare provider about any recent health conditions and all medicines you take. That includes over-the-counter medicine, such as aspirin and any vitamins or supplements. You will also be asked about your smoking history.

Your eye exam

You will have a complete eye exam. Your eye healthcare provider or a technician will use devices that measure the length of your eye and the curvature of the cornea. The cornea is the clear part that covers the front of your eye. These measurements let your healthcare provider select the correct new lens (IOL or intraocular lens) for you. You may also discuss your goals for what you would like to be able to see after surgery. This might be better far away vision, or better reading vision. This will help your eye care provider to choose the best lens for you.

Healthcare provider examining man's eyes with slit lamp.

The night before surgery

Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before surgery. If you have been told to continue your daily medicine, take it only with small sips of water. Follow any other directions your healthcare provider gives you.

The day of surgery

Have someone drive you to and from the surgical facility. Plan to be there for about 2 to 3 hours. When you arrive, you’ll sign a consent form if you haven’t done so already. This form explains the risks of surgery. Be sure to get answers to any questions you have before signing the consent form. Just before surgery, your healthcare provider will give you medicine that will relax you and keep you from feeling pain. You may sleep lightly during surgery.

Risks and possible complications

  • Your healthcare provider may have to shift from a small incision to a larger incision.

  • There is a small chance of bleeding, infection, retinal detachment, or swelling.

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