I am thinking of canceling my mom's cataract surgery because of the long term effects of anesthesia.

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Mom is almost 95 years old. I notice that she is becoming confused and hallucinating sometimes. I know cataract surgery would improve her eyesight but if the local anesthesia causes her to become even more confused, I'm not willing to risk that result. Shes says she sees okay and my sister says she seems to see alright. Has anyone out there had the same dilemma? What did you do?

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Keilin...
My mom is the same age, and we decided together to get her cataract surgery.
It went well....the first eye was her "good" eye, which left her 100% blind until we could remover her bandage the next day. That was the worst of it.
Also, many eye drops must be applied over 3-4 weeks....takes determination and patience to get thru the rounds of eye drops.
She's all done now....zero problems, thank God.
If you can discuss this procedure with your mom, and she can understand what to expect...it will go pretty well. But, she must Understand and be receptive to having it done.
Hope this helps.
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Hi Keilin, I had to have both eyes done recently in my early 40's! Mine were pretty bad, had grown slowly over so much time it had gotten to where I plain saw everything as though looking through waxed paper. My eye Doc was shocked when he dilated and found they were like that. My improvement was remarkable, it reminded me of being grade school aged, so suspect that was when they started growing. I've told anyone considering it, yes, go get it done. :-) But if they aren't that bad, and given the age, here's things my experience would have me consider. I was put clear out. And I was thankful for that. The 1st eye went smoothly. Not much affect from anesthesia. The many drops that have to be put in days before and days after have to be held in the eye for like 5 minutes each type, seems like there were 3 types, and 3 times a day each. Was told it was very important to prevent infections, inflammation. So someone would need to sit with her several times a day and make sure that went off OK. Afterwards I was told not to get any tap water in the eye for 7 days which makes washing face and hair a bit awkward and kind of scary. (Was told organisms in water normally not harmful could cause problems with the operated eye.) Sleeping for 7 days was a bit of a trick. Was given a protective hard lens to tape over the eye for sleeping to protect it, other wise a person could very easily rub it while asleep, it since it hurts a little, feels weird. So if she naps too, someone needs to make sure the cover is on. Leaning forward is a "no no" for 5 days, (think standing on your head, pressure). :-) So pretty much would plan on having someone with her for the 7 days afterwards. Now, the second surgery, while still awake the eye becomes completely numb, they tape your hands back so you don't mess with the eye, or put a little piece of tape over they eye to remind you not to rub it. The tape that was put over my eye was loose and scratched the cornea pre op, and since it was numb I couldn't tell it was happening. The pain from the scratch was really, really, terrible. I woke up in the middle of the night the 1st night with water absolutely pouring out of the eye since the medicines had worn off. Had to get the Doc out of bed. It was frightening. It required lots and lots of follow up trips to look at the scratch, check it's healing progress, make sure it wasn't infected. Had a bad reaction to the anesthesia the second time, also. Had chills and shakes and nausea and memory loss for a day or 2. Would I do it again? Yes, I see so much more clearly and it makes life so much easier. But things to consider for you. :-) Good luck!
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I would like to clarify that my Moms dementia is NOT severely advanced. She can follow directions and also I can leave her a home during the day. This entered into our decision making :)
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Thanks Cathy2014. I appreciate your perspective.

I think it most certainly does depend on what level the dementia is when you consider doing anything like surgery or some medical procedure that requires patient cooperation and compliance. For some, who's family members have moderate dementia, they may not be able to comprehend what it's like to be with a loved one who is severely effected. They may not comprehend how the loved one may tear off a bandage, pick at a wound, attempt to crawl over a bed rail, refuse to open the eye for drops, etc. Challenging behavior can make simple procedures very difficult. And then when the doctor doesn't get it either.......it's tough.
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I am an RN, and help getting people ready for cataract surgery often. If your mom is not cooperative to lay still as she would be some awake they could do general anesthesia. You can have a slight feeling of irritation and also you have to watch that she gets the eye drops and also does not rub her eye. Personally at age 95 I do not think I would put her through it. My husband is 61 with FTD dementia and would have to have general anesthesia. I will not put him through it. With him it would not help his quality of life any. It would not help to have good eyesight with his dementia getting so much worse. I have helped patients get ready for the cataract surgery that were mild dementia, it would benefit them the most. It is a hard decision.
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PS Be sure to go with the lenses that Medicare pays for. They worked fabulous. Some offices (not all) try to upsell you to better lenses. NOT NEEDED! They also bring much more profit to the doctors, if you get my drift. A friend of mine who is a doctor shared this tip with me. He said to be just be aware.
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My 85 Mother has dementia and also needed cataract surgery for both eyes. I spoke with the Chief of Neurology at the best hospital in Southern CA. I also spoke with the top eye surgeon at UCLA. Mom claimed that she could see just fine but she was used to diminished vision. Both Doctors said that it would not impact her cognition. There is ample medical journals with studies that state folks with dementia will cope better when hearing and vision issues are addressed. She is on a very complex medication regime as she also get seizures etc. She did beautifully with the surgery. I was thrilled as we are trying to reduce her fall risk. Best of all she was shocked at how much better she could see. Our family was THRILLED because the television appeared much brighter to her. This is great as TV is something she watches. I took some days off to make sure that the eye drops were put in at the proper time and that the after care was excellent. It was a breeze. I, too, am HIGHLY sensitive to adding medications or anesthesia. If her health is decent and you think she will live a few more years, I would do it. She will enjoy the beautiful new colors the operation will bring her. Oh and we had them do the eyes a few of days apart rather than a few weeks so her balance would not be impacted. The doctor agreed!
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Guess I am stuck with mine. The eye Dr told me she did not want to do it because of the operative risk. The head of anesthesiology he would never give me an anesthetic. Not really sorry as I am terrified of having the proceedure even though being reassured that there is nothing to it. I am still legal to drive but close vision is very poor. Now I have to see the ear Dr - not afraid of her!!!!!!
Gone from being relatively healthy three years ago to being very "old" now.
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I have worked as an Ophthalmologist assistant before. They give a medicine to make you sleepy but not general anesthetic. then only numb the eye.Most patients tolerate the procedure well.My only concern would be how advanced the dementia is and would the outcome be worth the surgery.
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I had cataract surgery in both eyes (about a year apart) in my late 60's, and it was simple and painless, local anesthesia. The only other thing was the patch for 1 day and drops for a few days. I did ask about the prescription in the implants, and having been nearsighted all my life and most of what I do is fairly close, I got close-vision implants. Each side is slightly different, which extends the total range. I have progressive lens glasses with a driving prescription on top and clear on the bottom, and rarely wear them in the house. People are surprised when they find that I can read very small print, so I tell them "I cheated!". If your mom is a reasonably calm person, I think she'd do fine, and eliminating the glare from lights at night was a definite improvement. If she can still read and enjoys looking at pictures or TV, improving her near vision would be a plus.
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