Question: I was wondering what I need to know about having cataract surgery if I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I have severe COPD and am on oxygen 24/7 - is there anything I need to know before I have my cataracts removed? I haven't been to the cataract surgeon yet but I need to know as much about the cataract removal as possible.
Answer: Assuming that your COPD is somewhat stable and that you are otherwise in generally good health, your Cataract Surgeon will obtain clearance from your primary care physician or pulmonologist prior to your Cataract Surgery. The Cataract and Lens Implant operation is relatively quick and in most cases can be done using "eye drop anesthesia" or a local injectable anesthesia so as not to require intubation or in any way compromising your breathing. That said, you will need to be able to lay flat on the operating table for a brief period of time and continue to breathe. Any restrictions or limitations will be fully evaluated by your Cataract Surgeon and with proper planning can be accommodated. Follow the instructions of BOTH your primary care physician and you eye surgeon carefully and you should expect to do well.
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