Is surgery the only treatment for cataracts?

Although stronger eyeglasses or brighter lighting may help relieve the symptoms of a cataract in its early stages, surgery is the only cure for cataracts. However, just because you have a cataract doesn’t mean that you have to have it removed. Cataract surgery only becomes necessary when you’re not happy with your vision and want to see better. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your vision.

Does cataract surgery hurt?

Thanks to numbing drops and medications to help you relax, the surgical procedure involves minimal discomfort.

Will I be asleep during cataract surgery?

Since cataract surgery does not take very long - often only 20 to 30 minutes - it’s unnecessary to put you completely asleep with general anesthesia. Instead, your surgeon will use a local/topical anesthetic to numb your eye, and you will remain awake during the procedure.

Who performs the procedure, a surgeon or a technician?

A surgeon will perform the procedure. There will also be a technician and nurse on-hand in the room to assist.

I have cataracts in both eyes. Will the doctor treat both at the same time?

Typically, doctors perform surgery in the second eye two to three weeks after the first eye. All patients are different, though, so talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

How long will I be in the surgery center?

Patients typically spend only a few hours at the surgery center, and are allowed to go home the very same day.

How long after surgery until I’m able to see again?

Every patient and every eye is different, but most patients typically see well enough to drive only a day after surgery. Ask your doctor how quickly he or she expects you to recover.

How long until I can return to normal activities?

Most patients can resume basic activities like reading and watching TV the day after surgery, and can usually return to work within two to seven days. Doctors typically advise against any strenuous activity for two or more weeks. Results vary by patient, however, so ask your doctor what’s best for you.

After surgery, will I be able to drive at night?

Your ability to drive at night should be significantly improved once your cataract is removed. Patients with the AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® IOL may notice a ring of light around headlights and other light sources. These halos are typically mild, rarely bothersome and tend to diminish with time.

Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?

This generally depends on what type of intraocular lens you elect to have implanted. Following cataract surgery, most patients with a traditional monofocal IOL do not need glasses or contacts for distance tasks, but still rely on reading glasses for close-up tasks. However, in the clinical trials of the AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® multifocal IOL, three out of four patients reported never needing glasses after their surgery.

Can my cataract come back?

Once a cataract has been removed, it cannot return. However, over time, patients may notice that their vision has once again become cloudy. This condition, which can occur with any type of IOL, is known as a secondary cataract, or "PCO." Secondary cataracts can be easily treated with a simple laser procedure.

Can the IOL be replaced if it doesn’t work properly?

Although it’s unlikely your implanted IOL won’t function properly, it can be replaced with a different one if necessary. Talk to your surgeon to learn how they would handle this situation.

Are there any precautions I should take after surgery?

Every patient is different, so be sure to ask your doctor for advice on caring for your eye after the procedure. Often, though, your doctor will simply ask you to refrain from rubbing your eye or engaging in any strenuous activity for a few weeks after surgery.

Who should I call if I have a problem after surgery?

Consult your doctor immediately if you have any issues, particularly if you experience decreased vision or pain.


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