Surgery FAQs | Nelson Eye Surgeons - Your Questions Answered

What Is Day-Surgery?

Day-surgery is a modern concept made possible through innovative anaesthetic and surgical techniques, reducing your hospital visit to just a few hours. The highest quality care is maintained with the benefit of effectively reducing anxiety that can sometimes be associated with undergoing surgical procedures, and it is the ideal way to minimise disruption at your work or home.

What types of Surgery do we offer?

After the brain, the eye is the second most complex structure in the body and treatments related to it are broad. Some of our most frequently performed day-surgeries include:

  • No needle, micro-incision cataract and refractive lens exchange surgery
  • Eyelid surgery including blepharoplasty, ptosis, ectropion, entropion and tumour removal with reconstruction
  • Pterygium surgery
  • Glaucoma surgery

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts – or cloudy lenses within the eye – are the commonest eye problem requiring surgery, with thousands of patients undergoing cataract surgery in NZ every year. Cataracts tend to cause problems with your eyesight, which can manifest as blurred vision, haloes, glare from headlights, or a constantly changing spectacle prescription. Once present, cataracts are highly unlikely to spontaneously improve and the only proven treatment is surgery.

How are Cataracts treated?

Fortunately, thanks to modern microsurgical techniques, this day-case procedure is easy to undergo and the overwhelming majority of patients are delighted with the outcome. We offer bespoke modern, keyhole surgery as standard for all patients with cataracts and by choosing private surgery, we are able to guarantee that your procedure will be carried out by a specialist consultant who has performed thousands of cataract and lens procedures.

We are happy to be able to offer immediately sequential bilateral cataract surgery (i.e. cataract surgery to both eyes on the same day) to those patients who meet clinical criteria and seek the convenience of this option. Some patients choose to defer second eye surgery to within a fortnight or later. There is certainly no need to wait until your cataract is ‘ripe’ these days. In fact, many patients are choosing to have cataract surgery earlier in order to take advantage of modern intraocular lenses which can reduce one’s spectacle-dependence and increase one’s quality of life.

Can I have my surgery performed at the Public Hospital?

Within the public hospital setting, most regions (including Nelson and Marlborough) have strict referral criteria, which mean that patients usually need to have significantly impaired vision before surgery can be contemplated. If your vision and symptoms meet the criteria, you may be eligible for publicly funded surgery. However, the vast majority of our patients opt for treatment privately at Nelson Day Surgery, as it can bypass this system and results in excellent vision without waiting. A fully trained surgeon, no waiting lists and no compromise.

What will Cataract Surgery feel like?

Cataract surgery is generally very comfortable for the patient but surgical procedures in and around the eye can seem daunting. We understand this which is why we offer several options to ensure your comfort – ranging from modern “no needle, no suture” techniques, the option of a sedative for relaxation, and all the way through to general anaesthesia with a specialist anaesthetist if required.

Will I see what is happening during my Surgery?

No. The microscope used during surgery has a very bright light source which has the twin benefits of allowing your surgeon excellent visibility but also preventing you from seeing anything other than blurred movement. Furthermore, any instruments held near to your eye during surgery will be out of focus for you so you will not see any detail.

How will I stop myself from blinking?

Do not worry: we use a comfortable speculum that fits to the contour of your eyelids and prevents them from blinking during the surgery.

What if I cough/sneeze/need to move during the Surgery?

We spend time to ensure you are lying in a comfortable position before any surgery begins. Should you need to move during the surgery itself, simple verbal communication to your surgeon will usually allow ample time for a pause during the procedure before safe continuation. Whilst we ask that you remain as still as able, there is no need to hold your breath and it is extremely unlikely for any significant problems to arise from movement.

Will I be able to see immediately after Surgery?

Recovery following modern cataract surgery is fast, with many patients attaining 20/20 vision or better within 24-36 hours. We use clear plastic shields immediately after your surgery simply as a preventative against unintended eye-rubbing. Things will initially be a little blurry but because we do not use occlusive dressings, you will not be left in the dark.

What will happen after Surgery?

For your complete reassurance, all patients are contacted or seen in person depending on preference as a matter of course the day after surgery. A second post-operative check-up is then usually only required at around 7-10 days. A full course of post-operative anti-inflammatory eye drops is an important means of ensuring a good outcome and our team will discuss this with you at each step of your recovery. After your final post-operative check with one of our optometrists or skilled ophthalmic technicians, you will need to wait around a month for your eye to completely stabilise before considering a visit to your regular optometrist for an update of your spectacles if required.

Will my Health Insurance cover the procedure costs?

This will depend on your insurer and your individual policy. If you are unsure please check with your insurers and our friendly receptionists will also be able to help you. Nelson Eye Surgeons are affiliated providers to Southern Cross Health Society, other insurers and to ACC.