Cataract Surgery in Guatemala Cataract Surgery Specialists

Foreign Patients


Process for Foreign Patients

Foreign Patient - Cataract Surgery

If you are a person who don’t actually live in Guatemala city, then the following is the process when you come to Guatemala to have cataract surgery:

Day 1 – Consultation and Diagnosis: The diagnosis of a cataract can only be done through a full eye examination, including visual acuity assessment, evaluation on the slit lamp and measuring intraocular pressure. Patient will be presented with final diagnosis and recommended treatment technique, as this may vary according to the maturity of the cataract.

Decision for Cataract Surgery: The decision to get a cataract surgery can only be reached between the ophthalmologist and the patient. In general, this decision is based on the degree to which the patient’s vision is diminished, and the impact this decline has on their quality of life.

Before the development of small incision cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants, the results were much less efficient than the results we get now. That’s why ophthalmologists used to wait until the cataract was very advanced before offering surgery.

Today, with the advanced surgical techniques and special equipment available, a cataract surgery can be offered at a much earlier stage. In fact, most ophthalmologists would agree that it is safer to remove a cataract at an early stage than to wait until the cataract is very advanced and very dense.

Day 2 or 3. Cataract Surgery:

Modern cataract surgery is performed almost exclusively as outpatient. Some ophthalmologists prefer that their patients use anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops 3 days in advance. Most patients are asked to arrive about 1 hour before the scheduled surgery. Before going into surgery, eye drops will be applied to the eye to be operated, to prevent pain, reduce inflammation, prevent infection and to fully dilate the pupil. Typically, the surgery is performed under local or topical anesthesia. With local anesthesia, the entire eye and surrounding muscles fall numb to prevent discomfort and inadvertent movement. With topical anesthesia, only the front of the eye is numb. Both types of anesthesia do allow for a painless procedure. The type of anesthesia depends on the surgeon’s preference and patient factors.

During surgery, most patients are fully awake, but you can use a light sedation depending on the discretion of the physician and the patient’s wishes. The patient is asked to lie still during surgery. The surgery usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete. Patients are asked to be very still during the procedure and inform the surgeon if there is need to cough or move for some reason. Once surgery is completed, the patient is monitored briefly, and will be given instructions for the post operative period. In most cases, the patient can go home in less than an hour.

Day 3 or 4 to 10. Follow up: After going home, patients are asked to return to a consultation the next day. Also depending on the type of incision and the surgeon’s preference, some patients are asked to wear a plastic shield over the eye, especially for sleeping. We recommend using shoe slippers or easy to fit (Swedish type) to avoid bending.

Post-surgery advise

Some eye drops will be needed: usually antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs. These drops usually will subside in frequency during the first month after surgery.

During the first week after surgery:

• Patient should not scratch the eye or put pressure directly on the eyelid.
• Avoid stress (exercise, sex, bending below the waist, carrying weights over 25 pounds).
• Avoid positive pressure in the abdomen / chest (Cough, constipation, vomiting, Valsalva maneuver, etc.).
• Avoid swimming during first 6 weeks.

What to expect after Cataract Surgery

Peak vision improvement will be reached until a few weeks after surgery, but individual results vary considerably, depending on many factors. The vast majority of patients can return to normal activities the next day or second day after surgery. Activities such as reading, watching television, and mild desk job will not harm the operated eye. Most surgeons recommend waiting 4-6 weeks before they prescribe new eyeglasses. This allows the eye to achieve considerable stability from a refractive standpoint.

Many patients are surprised by the clarity of their vision after cataract surgery. Some patients even achieve better vision than even before they had cataracts. Also, depending on the degree of refractive error (need for eyeglasses) before surgery, many patients will be less dependent on glasses for distant vision than before. Patients often notice brighter and glowing colors. Results in some cases are quite dramatic.