Cataract Surgery and Blood Thinners
By Jeffrey L. Martin, MD
Published on April 02, 2010
Cataract surgery is a very successful outpatient procedure that is performed more than one million times each year. Cataract surgery has progressed to a treatment that is usually pain-free, and surgeons can perform the procedure in just a few minutes without use of needles around the eyes, stitches, or an eye patch following surgery.
Dr. Jeffrey Martin has his patients stay in their own clothes during cataract surgery and they return to the comfort of their homes the very same day. Eye drops are used to numb the surface of the eye and IV sedation is used for general relaxation. Cataract surgery is performed through a microscopic incision using gentle ultrasound called phacoemulsificaton. The defective lens is replaced with an intraocular lens implant that is used to restore vision.
Many of our Long Island cataract surgery patients use blood thinners to aid in their systemic health. Medication such as Coumadin, PLAVIX, and aspirin are used to keep blood vessels clear and help to prevent heart attack and stroke. Years ago, it was important to stop use of blood thinner medications because cataract surgery was more traumatic and the possibility of bleeding was greater. Needle injections around the eye also caused a heightened risk of bleeding. Today, cataract surgery is much safer with more gentle techniques including no injections, no stitches, and smaller incisions. Therefore, Dr. Martin often keeps his patients fully anti-coagulated through the cataract surgery experience. In over 10 years of eye surgery experience, Dr. Martin has not had a case of significant bleeding. Because of this, when the primary care doctor thinks that it is safer for the patient, he or she can continue use of blood thinners.