What to Expect When Having Cataract Surgery

It is common for people to feel nervous or worried as their surgery approaches. Knowing what to expect before, during, and after the procedure can help you prepare and feel more at ease.


Frequently Asked Questions regarding Cataract Surgery with Dr. Devgan

Do you have a video walk-through of the day of surgery?

Yes, please click the video below for a brief video showing everything from the location and parking to the patient experience and procedure.

Where is the surgery performed?

All cataract surgery is performed at Specialty Surgical Center in Beverly Hills at 9001 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Note that this location is different than Dr. Devgan’s clinic where your initial consultation and eye measurements were performed, that address is 11600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90025.

When do I arrive at Specialty Surgical Center?

Our office will give you the arrival time, which is typically on a Monday morning. Keep in mind the traffic issues when planning the trip from your home. The first appointment for the morning is 5:30am and the last one will be about 10:30am. The appointments prior to 7:30am tend to have less traffic and an easier commute. Specialty Surgical Center may also call you a few days ahead of time to confirm the time. Please try your best to be on time. If you are running late, we will try our best to accommodate you, but there is a chance that we may need to reschedule your surgery.

Where do I park at Specialty Surgical Center?

There is underground parking, both self-park and valet, at the surgery center (9001 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills), with the entrance driveway at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Almont. Note that this parking is not validated by the surgery center or our clinic. There is also metered street parking just outside the surgery center, please read the posted signs for rules and limitations of these metered spots.

How long will I be at the Surgery Center?

The total time at the center is about 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the patient. The time is usually about 30-45 minutes for the pre-operative meeting with the nurses which includes eye drops and placing an intra-venous line, then 15 minutes for the preparation for surgery, 10 minutes for the surgery, and then 20-30 minutes for post-operative care.

How long should I stop eating / drinking before surgery?

It is important to stop eating and drinking any liquids by midnight, the night before your surgery. Then ensures that your stomach will be empty for at least 6 hours before the surgery starts. “No liquids” means that you should not have any coffee, tea, juice, or water on the morning of surgery. You may take a small sip of water in order to swallow your medications on the morning of surgery.

Which medications should I take on the morning of surgery?

You should take your blood pressure pill, breathing medications, and heart drugs on the morning of surgery before you arrive at the surgery center. If you take insulin or other medications for diabetes, you should wait until after the surgery to take these. The other medications are not as critical and you may take them after the surgery is over. You may take a small sip of water in order to swallow your medications on the morning of surgery. Yes, it is fine to take any blood-thinner medications.

Should I take my eye drops on the morning / day of surgery?

No, there is no need to take any eye drops on the day of surgery. We have all of the required eye drops at the surgery center and we will put these in your eyes for you. Also, immediately after the surgery Dr. Devgan will personally instill the required eye drops for you. After surgery when you go home, you do not need any more eye drops for that day. Do not touch the eye and do not put in any eye drops. In rare cases, if you have discomfort and you call Dr. Devgan on his cell phone, he may advise you to put in a drop on the day of surgery.

What should I bring to the surgery center with me?

Please bring the following items with you on the morning of surgery:

  • A responsible friend or relative (must be an adult / age 18 or over)
  • Your ID card, your insurance cards, Medicare card
  • The required co-pay according to your insurance plan (the surgery center accepts credit cards)
  • A list of all the medications that you take
  • Please do NOT bring valuables or jewelry

May I take a taxi, Uber, or other hired car service?

Yes, you can use these forms of transportation but please bring a responsible adult with you. Once you have the sedation medications in your system after surgery, we want this responsible adult to be with you in the taxi or Uber car service with you. Some people find it convenient to take a taxi or Uber to the surgery center before surgery, and then have a friend / relative pick them up after the surgery.

What clothing should I wear on the day of surgery?

Wear comfortable, freshly laundered, loose fitting clothing. You will remain in your clothes (and socks / shoes) during the entire process. A button-down shirt makes it easier for the nurses to place the cardiac monitor stickers on your chest and to fit the blood pressure cuff to your arm. Our surgery center is kept at relatively cool temperatures, so if you tend to get cold, please dress in layers. We provide all patients a freshly laundered and warmed blanket to stay comfortable.

May I wear make-up on the day of surgery?

It is best to avoid wearing make-up on the day of surgery. While lipstick may be acceptable, any eye make-up such as eyeliner, mascara, or eye shadow should be avoided. We will clean your face and ocular area before surgery and wearing make-up just creates delays. You do not need to spend time doing your hair on the morning of surgery since we give all patients a surgical cap to wear in order to keep your hair away from your face.

Will I be able to speak with Dr. Devgan before the surgery?

Yes, Dr. Devgan and the anesthesia doctor will both meet with you prior to the actual surgery. This is done before you are given any sedation, so you will be perfectly alert and able to ask any questions. Dr. Devgan will triple check with you that we are all on the same page with regards to your surgery, the choice of lens implant, the fixing of the astigmatism, and anything else.

What is the anesthesia like and who will administer the anesthesia?

The anesthesia is both systemic (throughout the whole body) and ocular (on the eye and within the eye). The systemic anesthesia will be given by our anesthesiologist who is a physician specializing in just this field. The agent that is most commonly used is Versed (also called midazolam), which is a short-acting benzodiazepine from the same family of medicines as Valium, Ativan, and Xanax. The Versed is given in the intra-venous line so it acts very quickly. This medication reduces anxiety, gives a feeling of calm, and also induces temporary amnesia. This is why patients have a tough time remembering the surgery.

Will I see the surgery being done or feel any pain?

Do not worry, you will not see the surgery or feel any pain during the procedure. If you think that you’re feeling even the slightest bit of discomfort, please just say so and we will give more anesthetic agents. It usually takes about 2 drops of tetracaine to numb the eye, and we end up putting 7 or 8 drops just to be sure. You will see some beautiful lights and you may feel the cool water that we use to clean the eye and eyelids. The pretty light show and the cool water sensation are completely normal and to be expected. We give the same surgery experience that we would want to receive: safe, comfortable, and with great results.

What if I wake up during the surgery?

Your body is technically awake for the entire surgery, but in a state of twilight. You are breathing on your own and you are still able to speak to us if needed. You are completely unaware of what is happening. When I finish with the surgery, I tell the patients that it is all done and everything went beautifully. Most patients then respond by saying that they didn’t even realize that I had started the procedure. Just like that, it is all over and successfully completed.

Will my eye be patched after the surgery?

No, there is no need to patch the eye after 99% of cataract surgeries. We will place wrap-around sunglasses on your face to protect the eye as you leave the operating room. Keep wearing these sunglasses as you leave the surgery center and head home. The sunglasses will help to prevent dust or dirt from blowing in the eye and will also prevent you from touching the eye. Once you get home, you may remove the sunglasses and then just wear them as needed for comfort.

What happens after the surgery?

After the surgery, you will be taken to the post-op area where our anesthesiologist and our nursing team will monitor your vital signs, give you a small snack with fruit juice, and then send you home once you are noted to be stable. The nurse will also review the post-op instructions with you. This form also has Dr. Devgan’s cell phone number highlighted and should you have any pressing questions or concerns you can call or text him.

When will I be able to see out of the operated eye?

You will see out of the operated eye by the time you leave the surgery center. Because the pupil will be dilated for the rest of the day, the vision is expected to be blurry. Later than evening or the next morning, the dilation will wear off and the vision will be much sharper. You may drive yourself the day after the surgery. You can use your old glasses, but the newly fixed eye will not likely need glasses (if you are in the 90% of patients who have opted for the simultaneous refractive surgery correction). Some patients just go without glasses, or they pop out one lens from their glasses as a temporary fix.

Will it hurt after the surgery?

The vast majority of patients feel fine and do not experience pain. In the few patients that have an achiness, you may take Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, or a similar over-the-counter pain reliever as needed. It is normal to feel like there is dirt or sand in the eye for the first 24 hours. Also, the second eye surgery may feel like a different experience compared to the first eye surgery. This is normal and to be expected. No two eyes are exactly the same. There is a less than 1% chance that you will have significant pain after the surgery. If you experience this, call Dr. Devgan on his cell phone to determine the best course for relief.

When can I eat and drink after the surgery?

As soon as you leave the surgery center, you can enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch including coffee. Start with something light such as toast, granola, or yogurt before opting for the triple stack of pancakes with sausage and eggs. Give your body time to recover from the anesthesia, which is typically 4 to 6 hours after surgery. During this time, abstain from alcohol and sedative medications. Once you feel fine and the anesthesia has worn off, you can go out for dinner and even have a glass of wine, just make sure that someone else drives.

What can I do for the rest of the day after surgery?

On the day of surgery, after your procedure, take it easy. Have a nice, easy, lazy, relaxing day. Most patients take a nap, eat a meal, watch television, or go for a relaxed walk. Do not exercise the same day as your surgery. Do not make any important business or personal decisions on the day of surgery because the anesthesia medications can impair judgment while they are active.

When can I drive and work after surgery?

On the day of surgery, do not drive at all. The next morning, you may drive yourself if you feel comfortable with the new vision. You will see Dr. Devgan in the clinic (11600 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90025) on the Tuesday morning after your Monday surgery. At this appointment, we will examine the eye and clear you for returning to work. Many patients choose to go to work the same day (Tuesday) while others take another day off and return to work on Wednesday.

When can I shower and shampoo? What about make-up?

Wait until the day after your surgery before having a shower or shampooing your hair. You can keep the operated eye gently closed during the shower. If any water gets in the eye, do not worry, just gently wipe it with a freshly laundered towel. You should avoid swimming for at least one week after surgery since the water in the pool, Jacuzzi, or ocean is not nearly as clean as the water in your shower. Do not use eye make-up for one week after surgery and then once you resume wearing make-up, treat yourself to new mascara and eyeliner just to lessen the risk of bacterial contamination from the old products.

When do I resume the eye drops?

On the day of surgery (Monday), you do not need any additional eye drops. Dr. Devgan already placed the required medications in your eye at the time of surgery. The next morning (Tuesday), you may resume the eye drop schedule according to the instructions that we have given you. You can use the eye drops that Tuesday morning before your post-op visit with Dr. Devgan or you can wait until after the appointment.

When will I have the second cataract surgery done?

Most patients have cataracts in both eyes and they tend to schedule the eyes about one or two weeks apart. The day after the first cataract surgery, you will speak with Dr. Devgan and make plans for fixing the other cataract. While it is helpful to have both eyes corrected to maximize your vision, there is usually no harm in delaying the second cataract surgery.

When will I get my new eye glasses?

For 90% of our patients, we have addressed the glasses prescription including astigmatism at the same time as the cataract surgery. This means that these patients will not typically need distance glasses and they may use over-the-counter reading glasses. On the day after your surgery, just ask us and we will provide these reading glasses to you for free. If you opted for the standard cataract surgery instead, then you will likely need full-time glasses and these can be prescribed by our optometrist about one month after surgery.

What if I have another important question that is not answered here?

Simply use the link above to contact us and leave a message. We will usually get back to you within one business day.

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