Cataract Frequently Asked Questions
Who is at risk?
Older people are generally more at risk of developing cataracts than younger people. Approximately 60% of people ages 60 and older have their vision significantly affected by cataract formation. For people over age 55, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss. In addition, cataracts can result from a variety of other causes including injury, heredity and disease.
How is a cataract diagnosed?
Cataracts are usually detected during an examination by a qualified ophthalmologist. Regular appointments are important for early detection of cataracts. Some of the standard eye tests that may be used to diagnose cataracts include:
- Visual acuity test - A chart is used to evaluate how well the patient sees at multiple distances.
- Pupil dilation - Eye drops widen the pupil so that the lens and retina can be better examined.
- Tonometry - Fluid pressure in the eye is gauged in this exam, which also helps detect glaucoma
How effective is cataract surgery?
According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), 98% of cataract surgeries are considered successful. Risk is lower in patients who undergo extracapsular or phacoemulsification surgery, both of which leave the eye’s capsule intact. Most patients report improved vision and few complications.
What happens after surgery?
Recovery time after cataract surgery is usually about six weeks, but most discomfort should subside after a day or two. Immediately following surgery, the patient may experience some pain and irritation of the eye. Many patients also experience increased light sensitivity and a small amount of fluid discharge. Special pills and eye drops may be prescribed to promote healing and regulate the pressure inside the eye. Pain relievers may also be taken during the first few days if necessary. Follow-up exams allow the physician to monitor patient progress. Sunglasses or eye shields can help protect the eye while it is healing.
What is the chance of having normal vision again?
Most people will still require glasses or contacts after cataract surgery, despite the improvement in vision that the procedure offers. After surgery, there will be a period of recovery time, while the eyes adjust to seeing without the cataract. If only one eye is treated, the eyes must learn to work together again. Many everyday activities can be resumed soon after surgery, although patients may experience blurry vision for a time. Driving may be impractical and unsafe at first; the physician can advise the patient on the appropriate time to begin driving again. Also, patients who receive intraocular lenses (IOLs) may notice some color distortion at first. This should resolve itself within a few months, as the eyes adjust to the new, clear lenses of the IOLs.
How much does cataract surgery cost?
Medicare generally covers basic cataract surgery for patients 65 and older, and many private insurers do the same. Contact Medicare or your insurer for more information. Associated Eye Care may be able to answer some coverage-related questions as well.
Will I have to wear reading glasses after cataract surgery?
Until recently, life without reading glasses was not an option for most cataract patients. The standard lenses traditionally implanted during a cataract procedure provide excellent distance vision, but patients generally require glasses for up-close tasks such as reading, tying knots and sewing. Associated Eye Care is proud to offer a new generation of lifestyle lenses specially designed to reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses, If life without glasses after cataract surgery appeals to you, click here to see our lifestyle lens page for more information.
How does laser cataract surgery work?
Laser cataract surgery is a bladeless, advanced procedure that provides our surgeons with a high level of precision, resulting in a truly premium surgical experience for you. For more information on this revolutionary technology, click here.
What is the ORA system?
The ORA System is a sophisticated system that increases the accuracy of your results by providing your surgeon with real-time information about the optical performance of your eye during surgery. For more information on ORA technology, click here.