Same-day eye surgery options to improve your vision

Posted on 6 April 2021

Modern-day eye surgery is faster, less of a hassle and less scary than many people imagine. A specialist gives us the lowdown.

Eye surgery may sound daunting, but nowadays you can have an eye operation at a day clinic and change your quality of life in a matter of minutes.

Did you know eye surgery can restore your eyesight in minutes?

Don’t wait

“I’m sometimes amazed at how long people wait to come and get help,” says Dr Theodor Keulder, an ophthalmologist who practises out of Mediclinic Cape Gate, Mediclinic Worcester and Mediclinic Cape Gate Day Clinic.

He shares the story of a patient whose eyesight was so weak that she couldn’t read an eye chart, so she had to do a finger count vision test. “She said she’d had cataract surgery about five years before, somewhere else,” he recalls. When her vision started to deteriorate again, the patient assumed nothing more could be done. But it was just thickening of the membranes – not unusual after cataract surgery. “It’s a three- or four-minute procedure just to shoot it off with a laser beam and the next day she could see as well as she did after the cataract surgery. I was absolutely amazed that you can be really blind for two years before you come for a simple procedure that can restore your sight to nearly 100%.”

Life-changing surgery in minutes

Eye surgery in general is pretty quick, says Dr Keulder. It ranges from as little as 10-15 minutes for cataract surgery to around 40 minutes for glaucoma. And the success rate is high, although he notes that if you have comorbidities, such as diabetes or age-related macular degeneration, they can cause complications.

Eye surgery aftercare

If you’re the type of person who dodges eye drops, listen up: “All of these operations involve two to three drops up to six times a day for the first two to three weeks,” says Dr Keulder. “With cataract surgery, it’s three drops: the one’s six times a day, the one’s four times a day, and the other one’s three times a day – so it’s quite a schedule. You also need to avoid rubbing your eyes, getting soap or sweat in them, and for up to a week, you’ll need to sleep with a special hard shield that protects them from pressure. You can usually start light exercise within seven to 10 days, provided you don’t rub your eyes or get sweat in them.


Types of eye surgery

Dr Keulder explains some of the most common eye operations:


For: Blindness

What happens: The doctor removes most of the lens and replaces it with an artificial lens to restore vision.

Need to know: Membranes behind the lens can thicken again over time, causing vision to deteriorate, but that’s usually an easy fix for an ophthalmologist.


For: Growth on the white part of the eye

What happens: The growth is cut away and the wound is patched with a graft from the membrane lining your eyelid, and connected to the white of your eye with a special tissue glue.

Need to know: The growth typically looks like a wedge-shaped membrane that grows from the outer corner of your eye.


For: High pressure in the eye

What happens: A drainage valve is inserted to relieve pressure from the eye.

Need to know: These days, your ophthalmologist can prescribe eyedrops to manage glaucoma, so you don’t even need surgery.


What happened to laser eye surgery (LASIK)?

“It’s diminished significantly,” says Dr Keulder. “When LASIK came out, it was one of the major operations, but the medical aids don’t pay for it any more so numbers have dropped significantly. Very few ophthalmologists still do it.”



Interested in same-day eye surgery?

Mediclinic offers many of these opthalmic procedures at Fixed Fee rates at  day clinic’s located across the country.

Published in Ophthalmology

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.