Dr. Robert Maloney believes that a well-informed patient is key to successful vision correction surgery. He wants to be sure that you fully understand what you can expect from your procedure you choose. He wants to help you care for and preserve your eyesight in the best way possible. Here, you can find the information that you need to help you make informed choices about health care for your eyes.

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Almost anyone who has cataracts and who is in reasonably good health, regardless of age, can have cataract surgery. Here are a few things to keep in mind, however:

  • Remember that cataract surgery corrects only cataracts and won't fix other eye problems
  • Ask your doctor how well you can expect to see after lens replacement if you have macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma, extreme nearsightedness, or very small pupils.
  • Replacing the clouded lens with a clear one might well improve your eyesight, just as a clear camera lens will give you a sharper photograph than a scratched or blurry lens
  • But if your retina is damaged, it's like having defective film in your camera
  • Depending on the type of damage, cataract surgery might or might not help.
  • Extremely nearsighted people present special challenges to the surgeon
  • "High myopes" can have excellent results from cataract surgery and lens replacement, but the process is more complicated
  • They are at greater risk 57 Planning for Cataract Surgery for retinal detachment, macular disease, and inflammation than other cataract-surgery patients
  • It's also harder to calculate the precise "prescription" for the replacement lens and to keep the lens stable after surgery.

Extreme nearsightedness by no means disqualifies you for lens replacement, but you'd be well advised to find an ophthalmologist who is very experienced with cataract surgery on highly myopic patients.

  • You'll want to postpone your surgery if you've recently had an infectious (viral or bacterial) illness or any unexplained health problems, such as chest pain.
  • If you take blood-thinning medication-aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin), for example- talk with your doctor about the type of surgery you'll be having
  • You won't have to stop taking blood-thinning drugs if you are having the clear-corneal phacoemulsification procedure (described later in this chapter), in which there is no bleeding.
  • Don't expect the impossible
  • In all likelihood, you'll be delighted with the improvement in your eyesight after you've adjusted to your new lenses-as long as you don't expect to see as well as you did in your teens and twenties.

Deciding When To Have Cataract Surgery

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