Over time, your vision has gotten more blurry, and you see distinct halos appearing around lights at night. Your eye doctor says it's time to remove the cloudy lenses in your eyes, or cataracts, that cause this blurriness. This is a common procedure done that takes only a few minutes to complete. You'll begin to experience improved vision within a day or two of the surgery. Here is what to expect from the cataract surgery and your recovery at home afterwards.

1. Replacing the Cloudy Lens with an Artificial Lens

Prior to the surgery, your doctor will discuss a type of artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) that will replace your cloudy lens. IOLs come with vision correction built in, like contacts. Depending on your circumstances, you may prefer to correct either your near or far vision. Once your doctor has removed cataracts from both eyes, you'll likely get new eyeglasses to correct any part of your vision not addressed by the IOLs.

2. Performing a Quick Surgical Procedure

Your doctor will operate on one eye at a time, which means you'll have to schedule two appointments. He or she will monitor the healing of the first eye, then have you schedule the removal of the cataract from the other eye.

Once you arrive at the doctor's office, you'll get a local anesthetic via eye drops. The doctor will also dilate your pupils with drops so he or she can better access the lens.

Next, if your cataract is soft, the doctor will make a small incision in the tissue membrane that holds the cloudy lens. If the cataract is advanced and hard, a larger incision is required.

The doctor will remove a hard cataract in one piece; otherwise, he or she will break the cataract into smaller pieces for easier removal. Some doctors use a laser to fragment the lens while others use an ultrasonic probe. Regardless of the technique used, you'll feel no pain during this step.

Finally, the selected IOL is placed into the tissue membrane that held the cloudy lens. If a large incision was required, you doctor will suture it closed. Smaller incisions will heal on their own without a suture. Your eye is then bathed in an antibiotic solution to prevent infection and the procedure is completed.

3. Recovering at Home

After the surgery, you'll have some aching in the affected eye that can be controlled by an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. The eye may be swollen and blurry for a day or two. You may experience some bruising around the eye and redness in the eye itself.

You may also have some itching in your eye as it heals. If this occurs, your doctor will give you a bandage to cover your eye, which will keep you from scratching or rubbing your eye and causing an infection.

As the swelling goes down in your eye, your vision will become clearer. You'll be able to focus on objects once again and the halos around lights will disappear. When your doctor is satisfied with your eye's healing and improvement, you'll be ready to have the other cataract removed.

If you have further questions about cataract surgery, get in touch with an optometrist, like those at Midwest Eye Care PC.