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Cataract FAQs

Will new glasses help people with cataracts see better?

Sometimes, they do. During a complete eye examination, we evaluate vision and the total health of the eye, also screening for other disorders like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes. This allows us to determine whether a change in glasses would significantly improve vision. Even new glasses will not help when cataracts become severe because the eye sees through a cloudy internal lens that can not be corrected with glasses.

Can cataracts be reversed or prevented?


Do cataracts happen to both eyes at the same time?

Generally, cataracts progress at about the same rate in both eyes. However, many people are more bothered by cataract symptoms in one eye first. During an examination, we can determine whether any other conditions, such as macular degeneration, are also contributing to difficulty with vision.

When should I have my cataract removed and why?

The decision to have surgery is based on when visual difficulties begin to interfere with normal activities of daily living, such as driving, reading, working, or enjoying hobbies.

Is cataract surgery performed in a hospital or as an outpatient?

Cataract surgery is performed as an outpatient and in an ambulatory surgery center. The staff is highly skilled at helping patients comfortably undergo surgery.

How long does the cataract surgery take?

Between 7 – 20 minutes

Is cataract surgery performed under general anesthesia?

Cataract surgery is typically performed with local anesthesia. We provide intravenous medications to help patients fully relax and administer local medicines around the eye so that patients don’t feel any discomfort during surgery. On rare occasions, a patient may be put to sleep for cataract surgery.

Is cataract surgery painful?

Most people say that there is no pain during or after cataract surgery. They may experience a scratchy sensation (like an eyelash in the eye) and mild soreness for about 24 hours after surgery. They take aspirin, Advil (ibuprofen), or Tylenol (acetaminophen) if necessary. Stronger pain medicine is rarely needed.

How is the cataract removed?

The cataract is removed through a small opening (about 3mm) in the cornea. This allows the surgeon to dissolve the lens and remove it in tiny pieces. Your selected acrylic lens implant is folded onto itself, then inserted into the eye and unfolded in the proper position. In this position, the new lens will remain permanently.

After the surgery will my cataract come back?

After cataract surgery, a cataract can NEVER come back because the lens of the eye, where the cataract grows, has been removed. The new lens implant will last a lifetime and will never need replacement. However, It is possible for a cloudy film to grow on the lens capsule membrane behind the lens implant. This occurs in about 40% of cataract surgery patients but usually many months or years after surgery. Treatment of this film is done with a laser in a simple procedure (YAG) that involves no postoperative restrictions or downtime period for most people.

What restrictions will I have after cataract surgery?

For the first day after surgery, a clear plastic shield is placed on the healing eye, and the effects of anesthesia will wear off. During this time, we recommend resting. Eating, watching television, reading, and walking around the house are allowed.

Heavy lifting (more than 20 pounds) is not allowed for the first few days after surgery, and we recommend avoiding eye makeup for one week.

There are other restrictions as well after surgery. These are fully discussed with our doctors and counselors before surgery. For more information about restrictions after surgery, contact us.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Every kind of surgery has risks, and cataract surgery is no exception. The risk of severe complications, such as infection, severe inflammation, or retinal detachment, is about 1 in 1000. Other, less severe complications of surgery may occur more frequently. These less severe complications can include the need for additional surgery or prolonged recovery time with delayed visual improvement.

This is not a complete list of risks that occur with surgery, and individual patients may have other risks based on their co-existing medical or eye conditions. Our doctors have extensive experience performing cataract surgery in unusual circumstances and can fully discuss these risks during an office consultation. Contact us to schedule your consultation for cataract surgery.

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