Eye surgery risks & recovery FAQs
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Eye Surgery FAQS

If you’re thinking about having cataract surgery or another eye surgery procedure, you’ll no doubt have lots of questions. Whether you’d like to know about the risks of eye surgery, what happens before, during and after surgery, or how long you can expect your recovery from eye surgery to take – our experienced surgeons and staff will be happy to deal with your concerns.

In the meantime though, you’ll find the answers to some commonly asked questions about eye surgery here.

General questions about eye surgery

1. What types of eye surgery does Eye Institute offer?

Eye Institute offers all of the most commonly performed eye surgery procedures, including cataract surgery and laser eye surgery. Our specialist surgeons also have experience in a wide range of other eye surgery procedures and treatments. You can see the full list of procedures and treatments offered by Eye Institute on our eye surgery page.

2. How much experience do Eye Institute surgeons have?

Eye Institute’s eye surgeons have a great deal of collective experience. They have performed many successful procedures since Eye Institute first opened in 1995. And because our surgeons specialise in specific areas, you can be sure you’ll be looked after by someone with experience in your condition.

3. Can I choose my eye surgeon?

Because all of our surgeons are specialists in specific areas of eye care and surgery, your condition may dictate which surgeon you are seen by. However, for some procedures such as cataract surgery, where there is more than one specialist available, you may be able to choose which surgeon you are treated by. Just ask us when you make an appointment.

4. How much will my eye surgery cost?

Because every procedure is different, you can find out the exact cost of your eye surgery by calling Eye Institute on 0800 39 35 27, or contacting us online . You can also find out more about costs, including how we may be able to help you spread the cost of your eye surgery, on the cost of eye surgery page.

5. Will I have to go to the Central Auckland Eye Institute for my surgery?

The Central Auckland Eye Institute is equipped with the very latest eye surgery equipment and clinical facilities, which is why you’ll need to go there for most procedures.

However, many of our smaller ‘satellite’ clinics are equipped to deal with minor procedures and treatments for a number of conditions, as well as consultations and follow-up appointments. You can see where your local Eye Institute clinic is on our locations page, or simply ask us when you make an appointment.

Questions about eye surgery procedures & risks

1. How long will my eye surgery take?

Every procedure is different, but thanks to the highly advanced technology and techniques available at Eye Institute, nearly all treatments are now ‘day stay’ procedures. For more information about specific eye surgery procedures, see the appropriate eye surgery page.

2. What are the risks of eye surgery?

With all surgical procedures, there is a possibility of complications. However, complications from eye surgery that could threaten your vision are extremely rare. Your surgeon will thoroughly explain all of the potential risks to you at the outset.

Generally, the most serious risk associated with eye surgery is that of infection, and this risk can be reduced substantially by following the advice of your surgeon after your eye surgery. For example, it’s important to use any eye drops or medication you are given after your eye surgery. You may also be advised to avoid swimming and exposure to potentially contaminated water such as hot tubs for a few weeks.

3. How should I prepare before my eye surgery?

The majority of eye surgery procedures performed at Eye Institute are done under local anaesthetic. That means no special preparation (such as not eating beforehand) is usually required. However, your surgeon and their team will advise you at your consultation appointment if any special preparations are necessary for your eye surgery.

4. Can my family or friend accompany me during my eye surgery?

You are welcome to bring a family member or friend with you when you come for your surgery, and any other appointments as well. During your surgery, they can wait for you in one of our comfortable, air-conditioned reception areas. Or they can remain close to you throughout your surgery by viewing through an observation window, or on an observation screen.

5. What if I’m too nervous to go through with eye surgery?

It’s natural to be nervous before undergoing any medical procedure. That’s why our caring and friendly staff are always on hand, to make sure you feel relaxed and comfortable before, during and after your eye surgery. Our highly trained staff will be able to answer all of your questions and concerns before your eye surgery, and are capable of making even the most nervous patient feel completely at ease.

6. Will there be any pain during my eye surgery?

You shouldn’t feel any pain at all during your eye surgery. The vast majority of procedures are now carried out under local anaesthetic, so you will be awake, but your eye will be ‘numb’ to any pain. You may experience some slight discomfort, but your surgeon will clearly explain to you exactly what to expect before your surgery. You may also have the option of taking a mild sedative to help with the discomfort if you wish.

7. Will I be sedated for surgery? What kind of anaesthesia is used?

For the majority of procedures, a local anaesthetic is used, so you will be awake during your eye surgery, but you should feel no pain. A trained and experienced anaesthetist will administer your anaesthetic – usually by a local anaesthetic injection, or topical anaesthetic cream or gel.

For some procedures where it’s likely you will experience some discomfort, you may also have the option of taking a mild sedative if you wish. Your surgeon will explain all of the options to you before your eye surgery.

Questions about after eye surgery & recovery

1. How long will my recovery from eye surgery take?

Because every procedure is different, and so is every patient, recovery times from eye surgery will vary. However, thanks to the highly advanced technology and techniques used by Eye Institute, most procedures now have vastly improved recovery times.

For example, the majority of patients can now return home within just one hour of cataract surgery, and usually enjoy normal vision again within a couple of days. For more information about specific eye surgery recovery times, see the appropriate eye surgery page.

2. How long does the whole process take? Are there any follow-up visits?

This depends on the procedure. However, the majority of eye surgery procedures performed by Eye Institute are now ‘day stay’ procedures. That means in most cases you will be able to return home on the day of your operation.

For some procedures, one or more follow-up visits are required to ensure the surgery has been successful, and check that your eye is healing well. For more information about whether follow-up visits are required for specific eye surgery procedures, see the appropriate eye surgery page.

3. What precautions should I take after eye surgery?

After eye surgery, it’s important to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible. That usually means avoiding swimming, and exposure to potentially contaminated water such as hot tubs. For how long depends on your surgery and expected recovery time, but two weeks is generally advised.

Some procedures, such as those involving retinal surgery, will require you to avoid any strenuous activity for the first few days after your surgery. And after a vitrectomy, you may be advised to keep your head in a certain position to aid healing. However, after most procedures, including a cataract operation, you’ll be able to return to normal, non-strenuous activities almost straight away.

It’s also very important to follow any specific instructions your surgeon gives you, such as using any eye drops or medication you are given, or wearing an eye patch to protect your eye. For more information about after-care for specific eye surgery procedures, see the appropriate eye surgery page, or contact us today.

4. Will I still need glasses after cataract surgery?

Eye Institute offers a range of different intraocular lenses (IOLs) that can be fitted during your cataract operation. These IOLs can help correct long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism. It may even be possible to improve your eyesight to such an extent that you no longer need to rely on glasses. For more information, see the cataract operation page, or contact us today.

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