Top 10 Cataract Questions

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Often times when it comes to eyesight, patients avoid going to the eye doctor until they can barely see or function. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, it can be treated with precise procedures, a short recovery time and great outcomes. Check out this blog post to learn more about how cataract surgery will have you seeing the world through a different lens.

What is cataract surgery and what are the symptoms?

When the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, it’s a cataract. They develop over time, and though they can be bothersome, they are painless. The usual symptoms of a cataract include fuzzy or blurry vision, double vision, seeing limited contrast and colors, halos and glare around lights, and/or having a hard time seeing at night.

What causes cataracts?

Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. Other causes include diabetes, smoking, some medications, damage to the eye, unprotected UV exposure, and history of eye surgery. In certain cases, cataracts might be present at the time of birth or develop shortly after. More than half of all Americans experience cataracts before the age of 80.

Are there risks associated with cataract surgery?

Risks are associated with any surgery, however the complications for cataract surgery are extremely low. Cataract surgery is known to be one of the most successful and frequently performed surgeries in the country today. Your surgeon will discuss risks, benefits and alternatives, and answer any questions you may have during your cataract evaluation.

What does cataract surgery entail?

The process of cataract surgery involves removing the natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.

Is the surgery performed on both eyes at once?

In most cases, surgery is performed on one eye at a time. There are 2 -4 weeks between each procedure, which allows for the first eye to recover before surgery is performed on the second eye.

When can I return to work and resume normal activities?

Normal activities usually resume the following day. You can return to work when you feel comfortable, but keep in mind that you will need to factor in time for your post - operative appointment. This will be the day after surgery.

How long will the surgery take? Does it hurt?

The procedure takes about 15 minutes. However your entire visit, including the pre-op preparation, will last 2 - 3 hours. Though patients usually don’t experience pain after surgery, you may feel mild discomfort or irritation. These symptoms usually stop within a few days. If significant eye pain is felt after your surgery, you must report it to your doctor immediately.

Will I still need glasses after surgery?

This depends on the anatomy of your eyes and the type of lens you and your doctor select. We offer a wide range of lenses, including ones that decrease dependency on glasses. These premium lenses are not covered by your insurance. For astigmatism, distance, intermediate and near activities, glasses may be needed. During your appointment, your doctor will go over your best options with you.

How much will my surgery cost?

The cost of this surgery depends on your insurance and the lens choice you make. Testing fees that determine the power of the lens may not be covered by your insurance. Laser assisted cataract and premium lens packages are not covered by insurance, and can be further discussed during your cataract evaluation. A financial counselor will discuss all out of pocket fees after your appointment with the doctor and surgical counselor.

Will my cataracts “grow” back?

Though your cataract cannot grow back once it is removed, there is a condition known as “posterior capsular opacification” that can occur. In your cataract surgery, your surgeon uses tiny instruments to break up and remove the cloudy lens material, but leaves the capsule that once held the lens in place. The surgeon places the intraocular lens implant (IOL) inside the capsule to help correct your vision. There are some cases where the capsule can become “opacified” after surgery, which leaves the patient’s vision cloudy and often with glare sensitivity, much like the symptoms people experience with cataract. The cataract surgeon can quickly create an opening in the capsule which restores vision almost instantly. This procedure is known as a “YAG Capsulotomy.” It only takes a few minutes and is performed in the comfort of the doctor’s office using only eye drop anesthesia without any discomfort.

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