What to Expect
You will be given a check-in time. This is the time you should report at reception. There will be some administrative tasks to be completed. Following this, you will visit different evaluation stations depending on your situation. These may include vision testing, eye pressure testing, eye scans and others. In order to allow a proper retinal examination, eye drops will be placed in your eyes to dilate the pupils. Pupil dilatation can take quite some time in certain eyes.
Following all of these processes will be your consultation with the ophthalmologist. Due to all these processes, it is not uncommon to have a significant difference between your check-in time and your consultation time
Please note: It is not advised to drive a motorcar after pupil dilatation, and if you do not have a driver, please mention this to the staff.
If surgery is needed
If it is found during consultation that surgery will be your best option, the ophthalmologist will explain exactly why surgery is needed, what your alternative options are, what surgery involves, and what risks are associated with it. You will have ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss concerns. Please make sure that you leave the consultation adequately informed.
Certain medications may need to be discontinued prior to surgery. Please be sure to bring the names of all medications that you are using. Be certain to report any known allergies. Also mention if you currently have any active infection- surgery might need to be postponed.
Your surgery day
The staff will give you very specific instructions to follow for your surgery day. These instructions are easy to follow.
Most retinal surgeries are performed as day procedures, meaning your admission day and your discharge day is usually the same. Your admission time will be prior to your scheduled surgery time. This is to allow various administrative and nursing processes. An anesthetist will also evaluate your fitness to proceed with surgery. Please understand that there may be delays due to emergencies and other factors, causing you to spend a significant amount of time at the hospital.
The ophthalmologist performs most procedures under local anesthetic. For a local anesthetic, the anesthetist gives a sedative and you will sleep comfortably for 5-10 minutes. During this time, anesthetic is injected around the eye to numb all sensation. Once you wake up after this, you are taken into theatre where the surgery is performed.
Children and some individuals will receive a general anesthetic. The anesthetist will help with this decision.
Your theatre team
You can expect many people in theatre. A normal operation team consists of the surgeon, the anesthetist, a scrub nurse (who assists the ophthalmologist), a floor nurse (who assists the scrub nurse) and an anesthetic nurse (who assists the anesthetist). During your operation, the whole theatre team is totally focused on delivering a safe operation.
There are often students or colleagues who visit to observe the surgery. If you do not wish to have them present during your surgery, they will be asked to leave.
While comfortably lying on your theatre bed, your eye will be cleaned and covered with sterile coverings. You will be able to breathe easily. Only your eye will be exposed to allow surgery. A speculum (frame) will be used to gently keep your eye open. The ophthalmologist will then start the surgery. You might be surprised how relaxed the atmosphere is in theatre! If you were to be uncomfortable during a local anesthetic surgery, you are welcome to mention this. The ophthalmologist and the anesthetist will immediately ensure your comfort and peace of mind.
After your surgery
An eye patch will be placed on the operated eye. This will be removed the next day at your Day 1 follow up examination. You will receive a prescription of eye drops to use. Only start with this after you’ve seen the ophthalmologist on Day 1.
After certain operations, some patients will receive a very specific position to maintain to enable healing. This instruction needs to be followed exactly.