So long as you are having your surgery with local anaesthetic then you can eat and drink as normal. You should take all your normal medication. It is sensible to wear clothes in which you will be comfortable when lying flat. You will not normally need to get undressed for the operation. Do not wear eye make up.
You will normally be admitted to the day case ward and your nurse will put dilating drops into your eye. Your surgery and potential risks would have been discussed at the preop assessment or in the outpatient clinic. You can discuss any concerns with your surgeon on the day of surgery.
While the actual surgical time is quite quick, you will normally be in the Hospital for 2 to 3 hours.
The procedure typically takes about 15 minutes. It is one of the most common operations in the UK and it is normal to operate on each eye on separate occasions. You will not see what is happening but you will be aware of a bright light and may see a kaleidoscope of colours. You should not feel any discomfort.
During the operation, a micro-incision, approximately 2mm in size, is made at the edge of the cornea. A tiny probe is inserted into the eye and the existing lens is gently broken down by ultrasound and removed. The process is called phacoemulsification.
A new lens implant is inserted to replace the natural lens that has been removed. The strength of the new lens is chosen before surgery, after your eye has been measured by a laser or ultrasound scan. The new lens is placed where your natural lens used to be. As the incision is so small, stitches are rarely required.
The most common type of lens used is called a monofocal lens implant. It will allow you to see well in the far distance, probably without glasses, but you will need glasses to read for near and possibly also in the intermediate distance.
There are newer lenses available that are approved by NICE, but are not commonly used in the NHS. These are called multifocal or accommodating lenses. These allow your vision to be corrected in the distance, and depending on the type of lens used, also your intermediate and near vision. Mr Kamalarajah will explain whether this type of lens implant is suitable for you before surgery.
When you return to the ward after your surgery you will be offered a drink and something to eat. The nurses will explain how to use your eye drops. We recommend that someone takes you home from the hospital but it is not necessary for a friend or relative to stay with you overnight.
You will usually go home with a plastic shield covering your operated eye. You should be comfortable but a gritty sensation from the eye is common. You do not need to start any eye drops until the next day. If you develop a headache take some paracetamol.
The next day you can take the shield off, clean your eye and start instilling your drops. Your surgeon or a nurse will phone you the day after surgery to check all is well and to answer any queries. Normally you will be immediately aware of how much more clearly you can see and you may be somewhat dazzled by how bright everything seems. For the majority of patients the improvement in their vision is quite remarkable.
Sometimes it takes a little longer for the vision to improve. If your cornea has become swollen your vision can be a little misty initially. Crucially any such mistiness should improve during the day.
Your eye may feel gritty, you may have some eye ache, you may have some headache and your vision may not always be immediately perfect but these symptoms should all rapidly improve. No symptoms should deteriorate.
When you look in the mirror your eye may be red and you can sometimes have bruising around the eye depending on the anaesthetic technique used. So long as you are comfortable and your vision is good it does not matter at all if your eye is red. The redness will fade away over the next few days.