Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Am I A Candidate For Topical Anesthesia For Cataract Surgery?

Topical anesthesia is now a very frequent and effective method of pain control utilized in short surgical procedures such as cataract surgery. The topical anesthetic is applied directly to the surface of your eye and affects only the area to which it is applied. Topical anesthesia is usually given in the form of eye drops or gels, or applied with sponges to the surface of the eye.

In some cases, if surgery time is relatively short, you may only require topical anesthesia. If this is the case, anesthetic drops or gel will be applied to your eye and you will need to follow instructions from your ophthalmologist during surgery to keep eye movement to a minimum. If you need to sneeze or shift position, you will simply need to alert your ophthalmologist beforehand.

Often, if surgery is longer and more involved, the topical anesthetic will be supplemented with other forms of anesthesia to make you more comfortable and perhaps to immobilize your eye.

By using topical anesthesia, your ophthalmologist ensures that you are as comfortable as possible during and following surgery. Since you will not be put to sleep using general anesthesia, your recovery time after surgery will be much quicker, and you will be able to go home soon after surgery is completed. There are usually few side effects or complications due to topical anesthesia.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Will I Need A Posterior Capsulotomy After Cataract Surgery?


During cataract surgery, a part of the front (anterior) capsule of the natural lens of the eye is removed to gain access to and remove the lens. The clear, back (posterior) capsule remains intact and supports an intraocular lens (IOL), a plastic or silicone disc that is implanted in the eye and replaces the natural lens. As long as that capsule stays clear, you will experience good vision. However, in 10 to 30 percent of cases, the posterior capsule loses its clarity. When this happens, your ophthalmologist can create an opening in the capsule using a laser in order to restore normal vision. This procedure is called a posterior capsulotomy.

Before the procedure, the ophthalmologist does a thorough ophthalmic examination to make sure there is no other reason for vision loss.

The posterior capsulotomy is painless and takes approximately five minutes. Vision usually improves within hours. A Yag laser is usually used for this procedure.

Potential but rare complications following laser posterior capsulotomy are increased intraocular pressure and retinal detachment.

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