Living with cataracts is like living in a constant state of fog. No matter how hard you try, your vision that once was clear, sharp and vibrant is now clouded, blurred and dull. Cataract development is a gradual process; many people don’t experience the adverse side effects of cataracts for years or even decades until it is fully formed. Cataracts form because proteins in the lens start clumping together and at some point, will affect everyday activities. Inevitably, once a cataract begins to impair vision, surgery is necessary to remove the cataract to prevent vision from worsening. Cataract surgery is the solution to preventing vision loss and poor vision.
As part of the pre-operative as well as the post-operative care instruction, traditional cataract surgery requires the patient’s use of antibiotic eye drops before surgery and anti-inflammatory eye drops after surgery. Eye drops prescribed before surgery help prevent infection and inflammation. Any kind of surgery can make a patient more susceptible and vulnerable to infection. Taking these drops several times a day for multiple days leading up to surgery allows the medication to take full effect. Pre-surgery eye drops also serve to dilate the eyes and slowly begin to numb the eyes allowing for a mutually beneficial experience for the surgeon’s work and the patient’s comfort. Post-surgery eye drops typically include medications called chloramphenicol and dexamethasone to ensure the eyes heal properly.
Do all cataract surgeries require the use of eye drops? Post-operative care and compliance relies on the importance of the patient administering eye drops as part of their recovery and optimal outcome. As cataracts largely affect the aging population and the cost of eye drops can be very expensive, sometimes as much as $400 per eye, many patients are curious if eye drops are really necessary. In lieu of an eye drop regimen, there are 2 alternatives for cataract surgery patients. First, instead of eye drops, patients can follow a topical steroid schedule; however, the schedule timeline is much longer than that of eye drops. The second option is dropless cataract surgery where the need for drops with cataract surgery is eliminated. Instead, the surgeon will administer medications during surgery that contain the same antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agents found in eye drops giving patients the same benefits that eye drops provide without the care schedule needed to administer the drops themselves. Dropless cataract surgery is a great innovation and equally safe alternative for the treatment of cataracts in that it eliminates the use of eye drops, saves cost to the patient, has a lower risk of infection and swelling post-surgery, and simplifies post-operative care.
Most patients respond extremely well to dropless cataract surgery. If you are experiencing the effects of cataracts or have questions about your upcoming cataract surgery and want to know more about options to give you fresh eyes to see, call Pendleton Eye at 760-758-2008 or request an appointment at WEBSITE.