A cataract is an opacity or clouding of the eye's natural lens (crystalline). It is still the leading cause of blindness in the world. The development of cataracts in adults is related to age, sun exposure, the use of snuff, poor nutrition, eye trauma and certain systemic diseases or the intake of certain medications to treat them.
Today, most ophthalmologists agree that it is safer to remove a cataract at an early stage or when the cataract is affecting the patient´s quality of life than to wait until the cataract is very advanced and dense.
Cataract surgery today is the result of at least 20 years of extraordinary advances in technology and surgical techniques, and allowing millions of people return to a clear and sharp vision. It is considered one of the safest surgical procedures available. Cataract surgery can restore vision to levels you never thought possible. Success rate for cataract surgery is above 98% on patients with no other eye problems.
Most cataract surgeries are performed with microscopic
incisions (2.5mm) with advanced ultrasonic equipment to
fragment cataracts into small pieces (Phacoemulsification)
and foldable intraocular lens (Foldable OIL) to maintain
small incision size. The advantage of this type of surgery is
that the patient has less discomfort during and after
surgery, and has a faster recovery of vision.
Since it’s safe and fast, modern cataract surgery is
performed almost exclusively as outpatient. Some
ophthalmologists prefer that their patients use
anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops 3 days in advance.
Typically, the surgery is performed under local or topical anesthesia.
During surgery, most patients are fully awake, but you can
use a light sedation depending on the
discretion of the physician and the patient's wishes. The surgery usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete. Patients are asked to be
very still during the procedure and inform the surgeon if
there is need to cough or move for some reason. Once
surgery is completed, the patient is monitored briefly, and
will be given instructions for the post-operative period. In
most cases, the patient can go home in less than an hour.
Length of stay at the hospital: Procedure performed as outpatient. No hospitalization required.
Average stay in Guatemala: 7-10 days for surgery in both eyes. Patients can generally fly
immediately after cataract surgery.
Anesthesia: Generally performed with local anesthesia
Duration of procedure: The surgery usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete.
Other recommendations: Travel with a companion.
After going home, patients are asked to return to a consultation the next day. Also depending on the type of incision and the surgeon's preference, some patients are asked to wear a plastic shield over the eye, especially for sleeping. We recommend using shoe slippers or easy to fit (clogs) to avoid bending.
Some eye drops will be needed, are usually antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs. These drops usually will subside in frequency during the first month after surgery.
Peak vision improvement will be reached until a few weeks after surgery, but individual results vary considerably, depending on many factors. The vast majority of patients can return to normal activities the next day or second day after surgery. Activities such as reading, watching television, and mild desk job will not harm the operated eye. Most surgeons recommend waiting 4-6 weeks before they prescribe new eyeglasses.
This allows the eye to achieve considerable stability from a refractive standpoint. Many patients are surprised by the clarity of their vision after cataract surgery. Some patients even achieve better vision than even before they had cataracts. Also, depending on the degree of refractive error (need for eyeglasses) before surgery, many patients will be less dependent on glasses for distant vision than before. Patients often notice brighter and glowing colors. Results in some cases are quite dramatic.