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Are You Awake During Cataract Surgery?


Yes, typically you are awake during cataract surgery. This eliminates risks associated with general anesthesia (being "put to sleep") and enables your cataract surgeon to communicate with you during your procedure.

If the idea of being awake during cataract surgery concerns you, fear not — you will be given oral medication before the procedure so you are fully relaxed and feel no discomfort.

You also may be given (or offered the choice of receiving) intravenous (IV) medication to help you remain calm and comfortable throughout the procedure.

The medication typically makes it difficult for most patients to remember their experience in the surgical suite after the brief 10- to 15-minute procedure has been completed and they are in the recovery area.

Within a short period of time after your procedure, you will be able to leave the surgery center, but you cannot drive after surgery. You must have someone with you to drive you home.

SEE ALSO: Does Cataract Surgery Hurt? >

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Dr. Vance ThompsonAbout the Reviewer: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.

Page updated August 2017


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