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«Guide to Cataract Surgery According to Prevent Blindness America’s Vision Problems in the U.S. report, more than 24 million Americans age 40 and ...»

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problems with your doctor. Here are three areas of complications:

Problems during surgery, called operative complications, such as severe bleeding, happen to less than 1% of patients. Up to 2% of patients lose the gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye (vitreous humor) during surgery. Complication rates may be higher if you have certain medical or ocular diseases.

Problems soon after surgery, called early post-operative complications, can include leaking from the wound, bleeding or infections.

Problems after healing, called late post-operative complications, include retinal detachment (this requires surgery to correct but happens in about one out of every 100 patients), swelling of the cornea, or swelling of the retina (called cystoid macular edema). Infection is a rare complication. This happens in fewer than one in every 1,000 patients, but it may cause severe vision loss. Remember, the risk of severe problems or blindness from cataract surgery is very low. Still, it may ease your mind to talk about your concerns with your doctor before surgery.

Sometimes after the extracapsular or phacoemulsification procedure, the capsular bag that remains in your eye Guide to Cataract Surgery—Page 6 can become cloudy. This is called an after cataract or posterior capsular opacification. If this happens, your doctor may suggest laser surgery to make a tiny hole through the cloudy lens capsule. This hole will let you see clearly again.

Your recovery After surgery, most of the healing takes place in the first few days. But it may take up to 1 month for your eye to fully heal. For the first week or two, or as your doctor recommends, you should minimize vigorous physical activity. You should restrict any lifting or deep bending, which causes increased eye pressure. If you experience severe pain, loss of vision or a sudden increase in redness or swelling of your operated eye, call your eye doctor right away.

Other DO’s and DON’Ts Do use your medication as directed.

Do sit down and lift your feet to put on your shoes.

Do try to sleep on your back or on the unoperated side.

Do have someone else drive while your eye is healing.

Do wear sunglasses in bright light.

Do keep follow-up appointments with your doctor.

Do keep moderately active.

Don’t rub or press your eye.

Don’t bend over to pick things up; kneel instead.

Don’t get soap, shampoo or other irritants in your eye.

Take care of your eye

Here are some pointers that can help you recover more quickly:

Applying eye medications Use the eye drops or ointment that your doctor prescribed to help your eye heal. This medicine protects against infection and helps decrease swelling.

How to apply eye drops or ointment Tilt your head back. Pull your lower eyelid down to create a “cup” that holds the drops or ointment. Put in the prescribed amount of medicine and close your eye to distribute it evenly. If you have trouble doing this, ask a friend or relative for help. Start with a fresh bottle of medicine after surgery so germs don’t get transferred.

Eye shields Your doctor may want you to use an eye shield at night to protect your eye while you sleep.

Follow-up care Your doctor will suggest a schedule for follow-up visits. The first one will be the day after your surgery. It is important to keep these appointments to find out whether your eye is healing well. These visits will also let you

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