There are many steps involved in the evaluation of a cataract. The first step is a visit with your ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) to see if there is any other cause of vision impairment beyond a cataract. If a cataract is the reason for the vision decline, the next step is to assess vision limitations and the level of impairment on your daily activities. How much the cataract inhibits your activities helps guide the treatment discussion and together you and your eye surgeon will decide if it is time to proceed with treatment (surgery).
Prior to surgery, your eye surgeon will evaluate the overall health of the eye and take precise measurements of your eye to help determine the power needed for your lens implant (IOL). Sometimes the surface of the eye (the cornea) is too dry or in need of repair prior to undergoing cataract surgery measurements. Optimizing the cornea surface improves the accuracy of your eye measurements and the quality of your vision after surgery. For example, your eye surgeon may recommend a corneal polishing procedure or dry eye treatments to smooth a rough/irregular eye surface prior to surgery. Once the corneal surface is optimized you will then proceed with the eye measurements.
Many patients have dry eye disease which can worsen after any eye surgery and can last for several months. It is common to need to improve control of dry eye disease prior to surgery. There are many options for treating dry eye and some preoperative treatments may include lubricating eye drops, oral supplements, warm compresses, and procedures such as Lipiflow.
It is important to review all your medications with your doctor prior to surgery and you may be asked to adjust some medications before surgery. You may also be asked to start eye drops prior to your surgery to help reduce swelling and inflammation and risk of infection after surgery.