Will Cataract Surgery Hurt?

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on January 9, 2020

Happy older couple outside

Did you recently find out you have cataracts? Are you trying to make a decision about whether you should have cataract surgery? One of the most common questions about the procedure is if it’s painful. 

Many people fear things like cataract surgery because of their fear of the unknown. Keep reading to learn why cataract surgery isn’t something to fear!

You’re Awake During Cataract Surgery

The eyes are one of the most sensitive body parts, and we all know this! It is reasonable to think that having your eye cut open and operated on with a laser could be painful. 

What’s not reasonable is postponing cataract surgery because you think it will hurt. 

Patients who have cataract surgery rarely say it was painful. They usually say that they felt slight discomfort during the procedure. 

After cataract surgery, most patients are very happy with their clear vision. They also remark on how quick the recovery process is. 

It may be surprising to learn that you need to be awake during cataract surgery. This is one of the most common reasons patients think the procedure will hurt. 

Before surgery, patients get a sedative, ex. Valium, to help them remain calm while they are awake during surgery. The sedative helps patients stay calm and comfortable throughout the surgery. 

Your Eyes Are Numbed Before Cataract Surgery

Before cataract surgery starts, patients receive anesthetic eye drops. These drops help numb the eye and reduce the likelihood of feeling any pain.

During cataract surgery, you should not be in pain. At most, it might be uncomfortable. While recovering, patients usually say that they felt some eye pressure. This pressure is not painful. 

Your surgeon uses a special tool called a speculum to keep your eyes open during the procedure. This should not hurt or cause any pain. 

You could experience some discomfort as your surgeon removes the lens. Once this is done, the surgeon will replace the lens with your new intraocular lens. This is done quickly, and it won’t hurt. 

You Will Receive Medications Before Surgery

Part of undergoing cataract surgery involves receiving medications before it starts. These medications can make your memory fuzzy. 

It can be hard to remember everything that happened before, during, and after surgery. This is true even though you are still awake during cataract surgery. 

Post-surgery, the medications will begin wearing off. As this occurs, your eyes could start to feel uncomfortable. 

This is only temporary. To manage any discomfort or slight pain, you can take over the counter pain medications. 

You will also receive post-surgery instructions from your surgeon. They include instructions for what to do if you happen to experience any discomfort. 

After Cataract Surgery, You May Be Uncomfortable

Like any surgical procedure, there is a recovery period after cataract surgery. You may experience symptoms like itchy or irritated eyes, light sensitivity, watery eyes, blurry vision, or a foreign body sensation. 

This should last only a few days. Within one week of cataract surgery, you should have clear enough vision to go back to work and drive. 

If you have intense pain, it can mean you are having a complication from surgery. You need to reach out to your doctor if this happens. 

Have you decided it may be time to get cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Missouri Eye Institute in Springfield, MO today!

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