Your pupil size is the most important factor in cataract surgery, as most of this procedure takes place at or behind your pupil. A well-dilated pupil is imperative for a safe and successful surgery. Also, if your pupil fails to dilate properly, you are at an increased risk for complications.
Before your cataract procedure, your pupil will be dilated with special eye drops that will allow your ophthalmologist to see your eye in greater detail. If your eyes are lighter colored (blue, green or hazel), they will be more sensitive to dilating drops and will dilate faster than if you have darker colored eyes.
Dilating drops either temporarily paralyze your iris sphincter muscle (which makes your pupil smaller), or they stimulate your iris dilator muscle. Drops that affect your iris sphincter muscle (called parasympatholytics) will dilate your pupil anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks. Drops that stimulate your iris dilator (called sympathomimetics) last about three to six hours.
After your cataract(s) are removed, your pupils will be constricted with another type of eye drop. This is necessary for the secondary implantation of the IOL in front of your iris. The type of IOL that you have implanted will partially determine how long your pupils will remain dilated after surgery.
If you have an accommodating lens such as Crystalens™ implanted, chances are that your pupil will remain dilated for longer than if you have a multifocal IOL implanted. You may need to use pupil-constricting drops for a week or longer. Your pupils should return to normal, and your vision should become clearer with time. If you have difficulty seeing after about one week, contact your ophthalmologist.
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