1. Do cataracts only affect older people?
No. Cataracts can form at anytime. Generally they will start to occur after age 40. About half of the population can expect to have cataracts by age 65, and nearly everyone over 75 has at least one cataract.
2. Is there any risk to cataract surgery?
All surgery involves some risk; however, this surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the United States, and is considered one of the safest and most effective of all surgical procedures. Choosing a skilled surgeon will help reduce the risk of complications. Your surgeon will discuss pertinent risks, benefits and alternatives if they exist.
Complications are possible with any surgery however 99.9% of cataract patients experience no ill effects at all. Provided you receive a thorough examination and your surgeon is fully qualified and experienced you can expect to be one of the 3 million cataract patients each year who enjoy excellent vision for the rest of their lives.
3. Does cataract surgery hurt?
You can expect to feel virtually no pain during the surgery and usually only mild discomfort afterward, often lasting no more than one to two days after surgery. The procedure takes between 10-15 minutes including the placement of the IOL. Most incisions for cataract or lens replacement surgeries are self-sealing, but some incisions may need to be sutured.
4. What happens after the surgery?
After a short period in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home. Remember to make arrangements to have someone drive you home after surgery.
You will be given protective eye shields and prescription eye drops for a few weeks following the procedure. Patients usually return to work two to three days after the procedure. Strenuous activity, swimming or exposing your eye to dust or grime should be avoided for at least two weeks after surgery.
5. My doctor says I have a cataract, but he recommends I wait before removing it. Why?
When a cataract begins forming, it is often unnoticeable. However, as it grows larger and cloudier, it can begin to interfere significantly with your vision. If your cataract is in the stage where it is not affecting your vision, your ophthalmologist will recommend waiting to perform surgery. Regular visits to your ophthalmologist to monitor progress of the cataract are definitely recommended.
6. Will I ever need to wear glasses after the cataract is removed and IOLs are inserted?
The vast majority of patients who elect to have multifocal IOLs usually enjoy excellent vision, including reading without glasses. Remember, there are some vision disorders that are the result of irregularities of the cornea. Only a full cataract consultation can determine what outcome you can expect for your eyesight.
7. How much does cataract surgery cost?
Medicare and most health insurance plans usually cover most of the cataract surgery and standard (single focus) intraocular lenses as these are considered medical necessities. Upgrading to a Premium IOL to correct Presbyopia and astigmatism is not covered by Medicare, as these IOLs are considered a luxury and not a medical necessity. We will discuss the costs and payment options with you when you have your consultation.