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Top nine questions answered about cataract surgery

03 May 2021

St John of God Murdoch Hospital ophthalmologist, Dr Kai Goh, shares his insight into the most common fears and what you can expect during cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries today and for most people, can be life changing. Unfortunately, knowing the benefits don’t exactly make pre-surgery fear disappear. 

However, Dr Kai Goh, who has been performing cataract surgery for over 20 years at Murdoch alone, says often the fear is worse than the procedure itself.

Will I feel pain in my eye during surgery?

No, you will not feel any pain during surgery. The only sensation you might encounter is occasional pressure which is not uncomfortable or painful in any way.

Will I be awake during surgery?

Yes, most patients will be awake although the sedation given by the anaesthetist will make you relaxed and drowsy. In less common situations, patients can be given a general anaesthetic if required.

What happens if I blink during my surgery?

The surgeon will help keep your eyelids open by using some tape which will be attached to your eyelashes and an eyelid speculum. You will feel some drops applied from time to time – again nothing uncomfortable or painful.

Will my vision be impaired straight after surgery?

Immediately after, yes, but this is just temporary. Full vision will generally come back within a few days to a week after surgery.

Is there a chance that something goes wrong and I lose my eyesight?

There are always risks involved with any operation but the risk of a serious complication resulting in loss of sight is extremely uncommon. Most patients who have had one eye operated on generally look forward to having their second eye operated on.

The success rate of cataract surgery is well over 98% and the risk of complications is less than 1%. Will I have to take any kind of mediation after surgery?

After surgery, medication is simple. You will have a combination of antibiotic, steroid and inflammatory drops for about four week post-op.

When can I get back to normal activities?

I’ll give you an approximate guide for when you can resume the most vital activities:

  • Driving – after five days
  • Work – after one week
  • Exercise – after one week

Does this surgery last a life time?

In a nutshell – yes. Artificial lenses should last a lifetime, meaning 50 years or more.

Is there anything else I should know?

A good thing to be aware of it that cataract surgery is the most common elective surgical procedure in Australia, with over 200,000 cataract surgeries performed here each year. Due to its commonality, it has advanced leaps and bounds over the last 15 to 20 years. Patients have benefited from all these advancements and patient satisfaction following cataract surgery is very high.

If you would like to find out more information on cataract surgery and get some one-on-one information from a highly experienced surgeon, sign up to attend our free patient information session on Saturday 15 May, with Dr Kai Goh.

Kai Goh - Ophthalmologist
Dr Kai Goh is a highly accomplished eye surgeon at St John of God Murdoch Hospital, with more than 20 years experience in performing ophthalmic surgery. To date, he has treated over 20,000 successful cases of cataracts and glaucoma.