HealthSheets™


Before Small-Incision Cataract Surgery

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

Your health history

Your eye healthcare provider will review your health history. Based on that, he or she may order tests or talk to your other healthcare providers. Tell your eye healthcare provider about any recent health conditions and which 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 and curve of your eye. These measurements let your healthcare provider select the correct new lens (IOL or intraocular lens) for you.

Healthcare provider examining man's eyes with slit lamp.

The night before surgery

Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes water, coffee, chewing gum, and mints. If you have been told to continue your daily medicine, take it only with small sips of water. Make sure you follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.

The day of surgery

Have someone you know 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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