Will A Diabetic Patient Take a Longer Time to Heal After Cataract Surgery?

Will A Diabetic Patient Take a Longer Time to Heal After Cataract Surgery?

Aug 01, 2023

What Is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery in Upper Ragsdale is a procedure performed to treat cataracts that cloud the natural eye lens. When you have cataracts, the natural lens of your eyes progressively clouds and becomes opaque over time, leading to blurred or impaired vision. Cataract surgery involves eliminating the cloudy natural lens to substitute it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore clear vision. In fact, advanced or Premium Intraocular Lenses come with more features than a single vision.

Here’s an overview of the cataract surgery process:

  • Preoperative Evaluation: Before the surgery at Eye MD Monterey – Ryan Ranch Dr., an ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam, Assessing the cataract’s severity to determine the appropriate IOL power for your treatment.
  • Anesthesia: Local anesthesia numbs the eye to ensure optimal comfort. In some cases, general anesthesia may be necessary so that you can be in a deep sleep during your treatment.
  • Incision: The nearby ophthalmologist creates a small incision in the eye using the phacoemulsification technique that uses ultrasound waves to break the cloudy lens into tiny fragments. The doctor will then remove the fragments through the incision.
  • Intraocular Lens Placement: After removing the cataract, the surgeon inserts an artificial IOL eye made of plastic, silicone, or acrylic. It is designed to correct the eye’s refractive error, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
  • Closing the Incision: Since the incision is usually self-sealing, you do not need sutures. Therefore, the surgeon will protect the eye with a shield or patch.

How Long Does Healing Take After Cataract Surgery?

Since the surgery is generally safe and highly successful, with a low risk of complications, the healing process after cataract surgery is relatively quick. Most people experience improved vision and significantly reduced cataract-related symptoms after surgery. The majority of healing occurs within the first few weeks after surgery. Still, it can take several months for the eye to fully stabilize and adapt to the new intraocular lens (IOL).

Some general timelines for healing after cataract surgery are:

  1. Immediately After Surgery: You will experience mild discomfort, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. It is typical and expected but should improve within a few days.
  2. First Few Days: Many patients still experience mild irritation, redness, or scratchy sensations in the operated eye. Your eye doctor will recommend eye drops to promote healing and prevent infection. Still, many patients notice improved vision within a day or two after surgery, although it may take some time for the vision to stabilize and reach its outcome. Some patients experience immediate clarity, while others may have fluctuating or blurry vision during the initial healing period.
  3. Complete Healing: The final visual outcome will unfold a few weeks after surgery. However, it can take several months for all symptoms of surgical intervention to disappear completely. Meanwhile, maintain regular follow-up visits to monitor the progress of healing.

Will It Take Longer When You Have Diabetes?

Patients with diabetes can sometimes take longer to heal from surgery than healthy patients. The primary reason is that diabetes affects the overall health and functioning of the eyes, which can complicate the healing process. Even then, many diabetic patients undergo successful cataract surgery and achieve positive outcomes.

Some of the factors related to diabetes that can impact healing time after cataract surgery are:

  • Diabetes can affect the body’s ability to heal efficiently—high blood sugar levels and poor circulation associated with diabetes generally slow healing. Therefore, the incisions may take a bit longer to heal, and the visual recovery may be slower than in individuals without diabetes.
  • Diabetes can increase the risk of certain complications, such as infections, inflammation, and diabetic retinopathy. The stakes are higher in individuals with poorly controlled diabetes or pre-existing eye conditions related to diabetes.
  • Diabetic retinopathy – pre-existing diabetic retinopathy features high blood sugar levels that destroy the blood vessels in the retina, potentially affecting the surgical outcomes and the healing process. Therefore, additional treatment or management of diabetic retinopathy may be necessary before or after cataract surgery.

While diabetes can present some challenges, cataract surgery can still be performed successfully in individuals with diabetes. It is possible through managing blood sugar levels, closely following postoperative instructions, and working closely with your doctors.

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