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Cataract Extraction


Cataract extraction is a procedure to remove a cloudy lens from your eye. An artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) is put in its place. This will improve your vision.


The week before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your healthcare provider will measure your eye's length and how much it curves. He will also check your vision. This helps him choose the best IOL to put in your eye when the cataract is removed. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
  • Your healthcare provider may give you antibiotic eyedrops to use for a few days before your procedure to prevent infection.

The night before your procedure:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • Your healthcare provider may put drops in your eye to dilate your pupil (make it bigger). This makes it easier for healthcare providers to put in the IOL without damaging your eye.


What will happen:

After your pupil is fully dilated, a tool will hold your eye open to prevent blinking. A small incision will be made in your cornea (clear covering over your iris). A tiny instrument will be placed next to the cloudy lens. This instrument uses sound waves to break the lens into small pieces that are suctioned out. The IOL will then be placed in this area. The incision will be closed. Stitches may be used, depending on the size of the incision. A protective eye shield may then be placed over your eye.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest and recover. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be allowed to go home.


  • You cannot make it to your procedure.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.


You may develop an eye infection and bleeding inside the eye. Your retina may swell, or a piece may break off. This is called detachment. You may go blind. You may develop glaucoma (increased pressure inside your eye). You may have swelling in and damage to your cornea. Sometimes the area where the IOL is placed also clouds up. This may happen months or even years after the procedure. Your cataract will continue to get more cloudy if it is not removed. It may cause you to go blind.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.