We interviewed Dr. Leonard Teye-Botchway to understand the typical routine on the day of cataract surgery.
Leonard Teye-Botchway: Cataract surgery works by removing the cloudy lens, which is causing blurring and replacing it with an intraocular lens. Once we make the diagnosis, if the decision is to proceed with surgery, you would need to undergo some tests to determine certain aspects of your eye.
We need to know the length of your eyeball, the shape of your eyeball, your refraction, and that will let us determine what implant would be best for you.
Before cataract surgery
Before embarking on the surgery, the ophthalmologist will council you. Typically, you’ll be in the hospital for about two hours, maybe a little bit more than that sometimes. The first hour would be for the nurses to put drops in your eyes. For the surgery, we need to have you very well dilated. In other words, we will need to get your pupil to be very wide open so the surgeon can see the lens very well. It makes the surgery easier if there’s a bigger and clear operating field.
During cataract surgery
You’ll be in the surgery for about half an hour in total. That includes preparing you on the table, getting the microscope across, cleaning the eye and everything. The actual surgery takes about 10 to 15 minutes, typically. Once the surgery is over, we will send you to the recovery room where you’ll be for about another 15 minutes or so, and then you can go home.
At surgery, once we’ve anaesthetised the eye, we place a speculum in the eye. A speculum is a special instrument that keeps the lids apart so that even if you try to blink, you won’t be able to. Some patients ask, what would happen if I blink, but this doesn’t happen because the lids are securely open. Then we use a special instrument we call a phacoemulsification machine to remove the cloudy lens after carefully separating the capsule from the lens itself. Finally, we get all the cloudy lens out and then replace it with an implant.