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Cataract Surgery Experience

Posted by Joy F on Saturday, 30 July 2022, at 8:13 a.m.
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In response to 145281: Cataract surgery, posted by Laurel on Friday, 29 July 2022, at 11:55 a.m.

I have no experience with it in Hawaii, but I had both eyes done last fall, here in Wisconsin, one at a time, two weeks apart. I know of people who have had both done at once. I would not have been in favor of it at the time, due to my inexperience, but looking back, it would have been doable. So I offer my experience in case it will be useful to you.

It was a very easy thing, provided you have a "helper", in your husband's case that would be you. Going to Oahu would put more travel onto you. And I think staying in a hotel the night before and returning to the hotel after the outpatient surgery would be easier than returning to the Big Island same day, but same day return could also be doable. What time the surgery is done would have an effect on your plans, too, I would think. I have diabetes, so they like to do such patients early in the day, just in case there are complications, but my diabetes is well controlled, and I had no issues. If you're done later in the day, it might make it harder to get a flight back. Something to check.

From my perspective as patient: Friend took me to check in, I was whisked off to my own cubicle and had all the prep done. A lot of eyedrops. LOTS AND LOTS of eyedrops, lol (and afterwards too). IV in the back of hand. Blood check because diabetes. Cleaning skin on face/eyes. Finally done with all that, into operating room. I couldn't decide on sedation (IV), so they did half dose for me and that was fine. I was aware of what was going on, I heard what they said (but didn't much care), absolutely NO pain. Back to cubicle, doze awhile, then they start talking to you once they think you're nearly ready to leave. MORE eyedrops. I was fasting, so they gave me crackers and juice once I was awake enough, if I wanted them, and I did, I was starving.

Friend had been required to stick around the Medical Center, I was wheeled out to where she was waiting and then all of us to the car (still in wheelchair for me). We went to a nice breakfast place, as we were both still hungry and that served as lunch too. Off to the hotel (we chose that over either of our houses for personal reasons), where I slept for hours, and friend napped because we'd both gotten up WAY earlier than either had wanted. Later, we went out to dinner. My appetite was normal, though they do suggest a "light" meal. I felt so good, I just ordered what I wanted. We slept in the hotel, the next day I met with the surgeon at the clinic for one-day postop visit, friend dropped me at home, and then I was on my own. I did have to be careful when walking, with one eye blocked off, my depth perception was altered, but I managed just fine on my own. I had to see the surgeon after a week for a check up, and then a final check up a month after the second eye was done. When you need check ups and where you would need to be should be considered.

Having both eyes done at once and then having to fly home (and drive after the airport) would be longer, and possibly more tiring for the patient, and you can't really see well for awhile. It would be especially hard to have both eyes done at once for the overnights. You have to cover the eye(s) with a shield to protect it/them overnight, I think mostly so you don't rub the eye(s) in your sleep. This would possibly make it difficult to get up to go to the bathroom, with both eyes covered. Another problem, for me, would have been having to sleep on my back. I just can't sleep that way (side sleeper), but if one always sleeps on their back, it wouldn't be a problem. I just slept on the opposite side of my body, i.e. right eye, sleep on left side, and vice versa.

They do seem to have the procedures (both prep & surgery) down to a well-honed routine. And they probably have a lot of experience with people coming to Oahu from one of the neighboring islands. I would hope they would have a lot of guidance for you. Hope this helps.


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