In most cases, cataract surgery is performed under local anaesthetic, which means you’ll be awake during the procedure. Your eye will be numbed using anaesthetic eye drops, so there are no needles or injections involved.
The area around your eye will be cleaned using an iodine-based solution, then a sterile sheet will be placed over your head and chest, creating a sterile zone around the eye that’s being operated on.
As you’ll be awake during your surgery, you’ll still be able to see – but don’t worry, you won’t be able to see the surgeon operating on your eye! The surgeon uses a very bright light during the procedure to give them the best possible view of your eye, and our patients report that the bright light is often all they can see during their cataract surgery, although staring at it for a sustained period of time can produce other visual phenomena – like seeing lots of bright colours!
It’s estimated that around 80% of patients see colours during their cataract surgery. The most common colours are blue and red, although pink, yellow, green, purple, turquoise and orange have also been reported.
Nearly all patients who see these colours during their cataract surgery say that it’s a pleasant experience.
In summary – although you’ll have your eyes open during cataract surgery – all you’ll actually be able to see is a bright light and, if you’re lucky, lots of different colours!
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