A cataract refers to when the lens becomes opaque and interferes with vision. Cataracts are fairly common in those 65 and older. In America, they usually don’t lead to blindness, because we have the skills and technology to perform cataract surgery and correct the issue. It is a safe and effective option for an elderly person with cataracts.
Surgeries for cataracts have become common and are a fairly safe and simple surgery to perform. Most of them are done as an outpatient visit, since they can be completed in about an hour. The patient is given some local anesthetics to numb the area, and a mild sedative to help the patient relax.
Once the surgery is over, your elderly parent will be sent home to heal and recover. Having some skilled nursing care lined up to visit the home for those first few days, or perhaps even for a few weeks, can help your parent (and you) feel comfortable that he will receive the best post-operative care he can receive.
What will those first few days of recovery look like?
It’ll be normal for your parent to feel itchy around his eye and mild discomfort. He can use over-the-counter medications, or the doctor may prescribe something to help him through those first painful days of healing. A skilled nursing care provider can help ensure he takes his pain medication when needed, and watch for anything to get worse.
The doctor may also ask your aging parent to wear an eye patch for the first few days of healing. This may cause depth-perception issues, so getting around the home might be difficult, and he definitely shouldn’t drive. Having a home care provider available to prepare meals or help with household chores might be the thing your parent will need to encourage him not to try to overdo it.
The doctor may also prescribe eye drops or other medication to prevent infection and reduce swelling or pressure in his eyes. Having someone who can provide skilled nursing care and help with the eyedrops can ensure your parent receives all he needs for this part of his post-surgery care. Sometimes putting eyedrops into one’s own eyes can be difficult, so having a nurse do it will ensure he gets all the recommended dosages of drops.
As his eye heals and adjusts, things will probably be blurry at first. But this, along with the discomfort, usually only lasts a few days. One thing your parent may discover is that colors are brighter now that the cloudy cataract has been removed. His world will start to look brighter and more vibrant.
Cataract surgeries have a high success rate, and usually restore vision in those who receive them. It won’t be long till your parent is completely healed and sees the world through completely new eyes.