What You Should Know About Cataract Surgery


When Cataract occurs, the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy.

Treatment for cataracts requires surgery. The cloudy lens is removed by PHACOEMULSIFICATION and a replacement lens is surgically implanted.

The operating room at Veterinary Vision where cataract surgery is performed:

Cataract surgery is performed using phacoemulsification to break up the cloudy lens and aspirate it from the eye. The arrow indicates a video monitor showing the surgery in progress:

The replacement lens is made of Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). It is inert and well tolerated for life.

Occasionally, weakness in the ZONULE fibers may make it difficult or impossible to implant a replacement lens. Vision without a replacement lens is still somewhat blurry.

Apply eye medication before and after cataract surgery.

You will need to apply eye medications starting FOUR days prior to cataract surgery and continuing for approximately SIX WEEKS after cataract surgery. Initially the medications are applied four times daily (EVERY SIX HOURS) then gradually decreasing in frequency.

There is very little discomfort after cataract surgery and pain medications are rarely needed.

The protective ELIZABETHAN COLLAR is essential to prevent rubbing at the delicate stitches. It must be worn at all times during the first week following the cataract surgery. During the second week you can take the collar off when you can supervise. It is usually not needed after two weeks.

The collar requires some adjustments and most people say that this is the hardest part of the entire cataract surgery. Eating, drinking, and sleeping are possible with the collar on although some help may be needed and, of course, lots of TLC! Here is a video that illustrates some hints to make it easier for your dog to eat with an Elizabethan collar on.

Examination schedule:

ONE DAY after cataract surgery

ONE WEEK after cataract surgery

TWO WEEKS after cataract surgery

FOUR WEEKS after cataract surgery

SIX WEEKS after cataract surgery

Additional rechecks may be needed and, once healing is complete, annual exams are recommended. In most cases there are no sutures to remove.

Read comments from owners of patients who have had cataract surgery in our hall of fame.

View a short video describing cataract surgery