When your Family Doctor or Optometrist refers you to our office for a cataract assessment, we start working on providing you with the best possible eye care right away. Our office will call you within one week of the receipt of your referral to schedule an appointment. You will also receive an information package in the mail to help you prepare for your visit.
CATARACT ASSESSMENT APPOINTMENT
On the day of your appointment you will need to arrange for transportation to and from the office, as your eyes will be dilated, making it unsafe for you to drive. The appointment will probably take about 90 minutes in total. One of our technicians will ask you questions about how the cataract affects your vision as well as questions about your ocular health and your health in general. If there is some detail about your health that you feel is important, please let the technician know. The technician will test your vision and make some other measurements of the eye, and will dilate your pupils. At some point during your visit you will asked to complete some forms and watch a video explaining the risks and benefits of cataract surgery.
Your next stop will be with Dr Hillson. Dr Hillson listen to your symptoms and will perform a thorough examination of your eyes, looking at your cataract but also at the overall health of your eyes. He will make his treatment recommendations to you, and together you can formulate what to do next. Cataract surgery is an elective surgery, meaning there is rarely an urgency to its completion, so you should make your decision about whether or not to have cataract surgery based on how much visual difficulty you are having in performing your daily activities.
If you decide to proceed with cataract surgery, Dr Hillson will provide you with some more information and a prescription to take two days before the surgery. Some additional testing may be performed at this point; we like to do all the necessary testing at this first visit to avoid bringing you back at a future date. Before you leave the office on that first visit, you will be given a date for cataract surgery and a pre-operative package with instructions, a prescription, and a complimentary pair of sunglasses for after the surgery. Detailed drop instructions are downloadable here
PREPARING FOR SURGERY
ONE MONTH BEFORE SURGERY
After you leave our office you will need to contact your family doctor to set up an appointment to complete a pre-operative assessment of your health in general. This assessment cannot be done any more than one month in advance of your surgery; this rule is to ensure that the information gathered is still current at the time of your surgery.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE SURGERY
One or two weeks before your surgery date, Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital will call you to set up a preadmission appointment. Make sure and bring your completed preadmission package to that appointment. At that appointment you will meet with a nurse and have an ECG and some blood work completed.
TWO DAYS BEFORE SURGERY
About two days before you surgery, our office will call you to remind you to start taking your preoperative eye drops (Vigamox or Zymar or gatifloxacin and Acuvail). The drops are taken in the operative eye four times a day for two days before the surgery. The prescription is stapled to the information package Dr Hillson handed to you at your visit for cataract assessment. Maxidex is not on the pre-operative prescription. Dr Hillson will give you a prescription for Maxidex after the surgery is completed.
The working day before your surgery (for Monday surgeries this would be Friday), call the hospital to find out your surgical arrival time. This is the time that the hospital wants you to arrive on the date of your surgery. Your surgical arrival time could be as early as 6:30 am.
THE DAY BEFORE SURGERY
Take a shower or bath the night before your surgery or in the morning on the day of your surgery; after your operation you must keep water out of the operated eye for a whole week, so getting nice and clean before the surgery is a good idea.
THE DAY OF SURGERY
On the day of your surgery, make sure and have a driver available to take you to the hospital and back to Dr Hillson’s office in the afternoon.
Unless you have been specifically instructed otherwise, you should take all prescription medications (except insulin) according to your usual routine on the day of surgery. If you use inhalers (puffers) even occasionally, please bring them with you. If you have diabetes, it is important to bring your glucometer with you to the clinic.
Prior to and during your cataract surgery you may have IV sedation and therefore will be required to fast. Insulin dependent diabetics should follow special instructions.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing to surgery. Do not wear any make-up, jewelry, or nail polish to the surgery. Leave all valuables at home or in the care of your family/caregiver for safekeeping.
Dr Hillson will check you at the office post-operatively between 3:00 and 4:00 PM to make sure your eye is doing well and to go over post-operative instructions with you. You will receive your prescription for Maxidex at this visit. Bring your friend or family member in the exam lane when you are at the office; sometimes there is a lot to remember and two sets of ears are always better than one!
THE FIRST WEEK AFTER SURGERY
There are some post-operative guidelines that must be followed to make sure you have the best possible outcome from your surgery:
1. Do not rub the eye or get water in the eye for one week
2. Wear your shield at night for one week to prevent accidentally rubbing the eye before you are awake
3. Use your eyedrops (Acuvail, Vigamox or Zymar or gatifloxacin, and Maxidex) four times a day starting the day after your surgery.
4. If you use glaucoma drops, use your glaucoma drops as usual in both eyes.
5. If you have any problems at all like decreased vision, pain, discharge, or things getting worse instead of better, please let us know right away. If it is late at night or on the weekend, go to the Emergency Department in your community and ask to see the ophthalmologist on-call.
You may wear your old glasses after the surgery but may find your vision to be better without them in the operated eye(s). If you wish to go without glasses, that would be fine. Wearing your old glasses will not damage your eyes in any way. You may be sensitive to light for weeks or even months after surgery and may want to wear sunglasses when necessary.
Dr Hillson will see you in follow-up one week after your surgery. If your other eye is scheduled for surgery it will be scheduled three to five weeks after the first eye is done. Four weeks or so after both eyes are done you will be ready to see your optometrist for a new prescription that reflects the change in your eyes after the cataract surgery.
IF YOU HAVE TO CANCEL YOUR SURGERY
We understand that life is unpredictable and that things like illness, injury, and even bad weather can make it impossible for you to attend your scheduled surgery date. However, given the scarcity of operating room time and the large numbers of people waiting for surgery, we ask that as soon as you know that you cannot attend your surgery, please phone our office (705-325-6591) and the hospital (705-325-2201 Ext 3117) to let us know. Rebooking fees will apply to patients not performing this courtesy.