Healthy Aging

storm eye institute

Cataract Eye Surgery

Cataract surgery THEN:

Some of us can still recall the way cataract eye surgery was done in our parents’ and grandparents’ day: the hospital stay, the sandbagging, and the lengthy recovery time…and don’t forget the “coke bottle” glasses they had to wear for the rest of their lives.

Cataract surgery NOW:

Cataract surgery is not like it used to be. The more than three million people who will have cataracts removed this year are fortunate to live at a time when cataract correction is so very convenient, safe, and comfortable.

Modern Cataract Surgery is…

CONVENIENT: Cataract eye surgery is performed on an outpatient basis at MUSC Storm Eye Ambulatory Procedure Center, a state-of-the-art, hospital-based ambulatory procedure facility, where patients experience an intimate, pleasant atmosphere. MUSC offers cataract eye surgery at our locations in Charleston SC, Mt. Pleasant SC and Goose Creek SC.

SAFE: Our doctors perform the procedure under the high magnification of a microscope, using small instruments and ultrasound energy.

COMFORTABLE: Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye, and modern techniques mean NO stitches

EFFECTIVE: Patients experience an almost immediate improvement in vision and a speedy recovery time after cataract eye surgery.

STATE-OF-THE-ART: We offer advanced technology replacement lenses.

AFFORDABLE: We gladly accept Medicare assignment.

What actually happens during CATARACT SURGERY?

The idea behind modern cataract surgery is quite simple: the surgeon removes the clouded natural lens from the eye and replaces it with a clear lens implant, called an “IOL” (IntraOcular Lens), that takes over the job of focusing light that enters the eye. Our surgeon removes cataracts on an outpatient basis at MUSC Storm Eye Ambulatory Procedure Center, a convenient, state-of-the-art, hospital-based ambulatory procedure facility. No hospital stay is required.

In preparation, your doctor will examine your eyes and prescribe the IOL that will provide an appropriate level of focusing power.

On the day of the cataract eye surgery, you may be given medication to help you relax, and drops will be placed in your eye. A local anesthetic is used, and you will remain quite comfortable during the surgery. To prevent infection, the skin surrounding your eye will be cleaned, and strict precautions are observed to maintain a sterile environment.

Your doctor will use a microscope throughout the procedure. Only a very small (1/8 inch) incision is necessary because he will use ultrasound energy to break up the clouded lens, making it easy to remove. Your doctor will then implant an IOL in its place. No stitches are needed because the incision closes naturally.

The entire process is quick and may be finished in as little as 15 minutes. You will be taken to the recovery area, and after a short stay, you will be allowed to return home with your designated driver (you will NOT be allowed to drive yourself home).

Most patients experience better vision within just a few days of the cataract surgery. More than 99 percent of patients who undergo cataract surgery rank their vision as significantly improved.

Learn about advanced replacement lens implants that may reduce your dependence on reading glasses and bifocals after cataract surgery.

Preparing for Your Cataract Procedure at Storm Eye Institute

3 Days Before Your Cataract Surgery

To help you prepare your eyes for surgery, you will receive a prescription for eye drops. These drops will help prevent infection and aid in the healing process after surgery. Please take them as follows:

  • Use 1 drop of Zymar® in the eye that will have surgery.
  • Wait 5 minutes, then use 1 drop of Acular® LS.
  • Repeat above steps 4 times per day at 4 hour intervals (ex. 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm).
  • To help prevent infection, use eyelid scrubs 2 times per day (morning and night), on the eye that will be operated on.  You can buy eyelid scrub at any drugstore or you may use a warm cloth with baby shampoo instead.

The Day Before Your Surgery

Between 2pm and 4pm on the working day before your cataract eye surgery, we will call to confirm your check-in time, or you can call us at 843-876-0116.

To avoid nausea and vomiting, DO NOT eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes gum, mints, all liquids and breakfast the day of surgery.

Surgery Day

Pre-Surgery Checklist

  1. Take morning medications, only if instructed to do so.
  2. Wear loose-fitting, short-sleeved clothing.
  3. DO NOT wear jewelry, nail polish or makeup.
  4. DO NOT bring any money or valuables with you.
  5. Make sure an adult driver is available to take you home following surgery and will be available for the next 24 hours.
  6. Bring any medications you are currently taking.
  7. Bring your medical insurance ID cards with you.
  8. Check in at MUSC Storm Eye Ambulatory Procedure Center at your scheduled time.

During Your Cataract Procedure

Most cataract surgery is performed under topical or local anesthesia (numbing eye drops).

Although you may feel some pressure during surgery, you should not experience any discomfort or pain.

If you feel any pain or become nauseated during surgery, let the physician or nurse know so that they can make you more comfortable

Following surgery, you will spend a short period of time in the recovery room, then you will be free to return home to your normal daily activities after scheduling your one-day post-operative appointment when you checkout.

What to Expect After Your cataract Eye Surgery

If you experience discomfort for a few days following cataract surgery, you may take Tylenol for relief. If you are allergic to Tylenol, please take what you would normally take for a headache.

Your vision may be slightly blurred for a few days (up to a week) following surgery, as your eye recovers.

Your eye may appear slightly red; this will gradually clear the first few days after surgery.

You may also notice that your pupil (the black part of your eye) is smaller than the pupil of the other eye. This is normal. The pupil will slowly return to its normal size within the first two days after surgery.

If you, or someone you know, would like more information about cataract treatment options, contact Storm Eye Institute at 843-792-8100 or toll-free at 800-894-3513.

Storm Eye Institute Doctors Specializing in Cataract Surgery 

Dr. Matthew Nutaitis 

Dr. Edward Trudo, Jr.

Dr. Lynn J. Perry

Dr. George O. Waring IV


© Medical University of South Carolina | 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425