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Cataract Surgery – FAQS

Cataract Surgery FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Siems LASIK and Eycare Center (702) 948-2010

Q: What is a cataract?

A: A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye clouds and vision is affected. Cataracts are most often identified in older individuals. More than half of all seniors in the U.S. will experience cataracts by their 80th birthday. Cataracts may be present in one or both of the eyes.

Q: What is the lens of the eye?

A: The lens of the eye is transparent and it covers the retina. When the lens clouds due to a cataract, light is unable to pass through the eye and vision is adversely affected.

Q: How do cataracts develop within the lens of the eye?

A: Cataracts develop via one of two ways. Cataracts may develop by protein clumping within the lens and reducing the sharpness of the image that is conveyed to the retina. When cataracts form in this way, vision may be blurred and vision reduced due to the inability of light to pass through the protein clumps.

Cataracts may also develop by discoloration of the lens over time. As people age, the lens of the eye may become yellowish or brownish. For cataracts that develop via discoloration of the lens, the individual may experience and change in the perception of colors. All objects tend to take on a brownish or yellowish tint.

Q: Who is at risk for cataracts?

A: As individuals age, they are more at risk for development of cataracts. In addition, those with diabetes, as well as those who smoke and consume alcohol, are more at risk for developing cataracts. Environmental factors, such as allowing the eyes to be exposed to ultra-violet light over a prolonged period, will increase risk for cataracts.

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Q: What are some of the symptoms of cataracts?

A: Symptoms of cataracts include:

- Blurry or clouded vision
- Faded colors
- Glare while driving.
- Halo effect around lights
- Poor vision at night
- Double vision

Q: What are some other types of cataracts?

A: Most cataracts are related to aging. However, cataracts may form for other reasons. A secondary cataract may form after eye surgery to address another issue. Traumatic cataracts may develop years after a traumatic injury to the eye. Radiation cataracts may occur due to exposure to radiation. Some babies are born with cataracts. These are known as congenital cataracts.

Q: How are cataracts detected?

A: A complete eye examination is required to properly diagnose cataracts.

Q: How are cataracts treated?

A: Early on, cataracts may be treated with anti-glare glasses, bright lighting and magnifying devices. However, surgery is the most effective method of treatment. The cloudy lens must be replaced. with a transparent artificial lens.

Q: How to know cataract surgery is right for you?

A: Cataract surgery is the only way to restore the lens and return vision to normal. However, surgery is not necessary unless the cataract interferes with daily activities or if the cataract limits the ability of the doctor to perform an eye examination.

Q: Who performs cataract surgery?

A: An eye doctor who specializes in cataract surgeries performs the procedure.

Q: How effective is cataract surgery?

A: Cataract surgery is very effective. In the vast majority of cases (over 90 percent), vision is completely restored.

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Q: What are the different types of cataract surgery?

A: The two types of cataract surgery are phacoemulsification and extracapsular. The most common type of surgery is phacoemulsification. Your eye doctor can explain the two different procedures.

Q: What happens to the lens of the eye?

A: During cataract surgery, the natural lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens.

Q: What are the risks associated with cataract surgery?

A: As with all types of surgery, there are a few risks associated with cataract surgery. Risks include bleeding and infection. In addition, there may be a risk of retinal detachment.

Q: What happens before cataract surgery?

A: A week to ten days before surgery, the eye doctor will measure the curve of the cornea, as well as the shape and size of the eye. As with most surgery, the patient may be required to abstain from eating or drinking for 12 hours prior to the surgery.

Q: What happens during cataract surgery?

A: First, eye drops are applied to dilate the pupil of the eye. Next, the area surrounding the eye is washed. Finally, an anesthetic may be applied. Cataract surgery is virtually painless and most patients prefer to remain awake during the procedure.

Q: What happens after cataract surgery?

A: A patch or dark glasses may be required after surgery. The eye may water and there may be mild discomfort for one or two days following the procedure. The eye doctor may also prescribe eye drops to be applied after surgery. The doctor will schedule follow-up visits based on the patient’s history.

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Q: Can problems possibly develop after cataract surgery?

A: Though rare, possible problems that may develop after surgery include bleeding, pain, infection, swelling, loss of vision, fluctuation in eye pressure or double/blurry vision.

Q: When will vision be normal after surgery?

A: In many cases, vision will return to normal within hours of the surgery. However, some healing may need to occur before the eyes adjust properly for driving. Consult with the eye professional.

Q: What if some vision has been lost due to a cataract?

A: In some cases, low vision may be present. Consult with the eye care professional about community organizations that cater to visually impaired populations.

Q: How can individuals protect their vision?

A: Don’t smoke. Wear sunglasses when exposed to sunlight. Make sure to maintain a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables. Consume foods that are high in antioxidants.

Q: Where can more information be found?

A: The National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health may provide additional information.

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