Before Small-Incision Cataract Surgery

Man sitting in front of eye exam scope. Man's chin is resting on support. Healthcare provider is sitting on other side of scope, looking through eyepieces to examine man's eyes.

Like any operation, small-incision cataract surgery requires preparation.

Your health history

Your eye healthcare provider will review your health history. Based on that, he or she may order tests or talk to your other healthcare providers. Tell your eye healthcare provider about any recent health conditions and which medicines you take. That includes over-the-counter medicine, such as aspirin and any vitamins or supplements. 

Your eye exam

You will have a complete eye exam. Your eye healthcare provider or a technician will use devices that measure the length and curve of your eye. These measurements let your healthcare provider select the proper new lens (IOL or intraocular lens) for you.

The night before surgery

Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes water, coffee, chewing gum, and mints. If you have been told to continue your daily medicine, take it only with small sips of water. Make sure you follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.

The day of surgery

Have someone you know drive you to and from the outpatient surgery clinic or hospital. Plan to be there for about 2 to 3 hours. When you arrive, you’ll sign a consent form if you haven’t done so already. This form explains the risks of surgery. Be sure to get answers to any questions you have before signing the consent form. Just before surgery, your healthcare provider will give you medicine that will relax you and keep you from feeling pain. You may sleep lightly.

Risks and complications

  • Your healthcare provider may have to shift from a small incision to a larger incision.

  • There is a small chance of bleeding, infection, or swelling.