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When Do You Need Cataract Surgery?

Cataracts eventually affect everyone. They can be found in patients of all age ranges, and 73 is the average age of patients undergoing cataract surgery. Currently there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, the only way to see clearly again is to remove them from the eye.

Is Cataract Surgery Safe?

Many years ago, cataract surgery was considered risky, so the surgery was often postponed until the patient was virtually blind and disabled. With technical and medical advances, cataract surgery is now considered extremely safe and effective. The lengthy hospital stay has decreased to less than three hours in an outpatient setting. In fact, the surgery is often performed in less than 20 minutes. It is now one of the most successful medical procedures performed. Following cataract surgery, many patients experience vision that is actually better than what they had before they developed cataracts.

Realistic Expectations

Serious complications after cataract surgery are extremely rare. It is a safe, effective and permanent procedure, but like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks. Once removed, cataracts will not grow back. Some patients may experience a clouding of the thin tissue called the capsular bag that holds the intraocular lens. In most cases, a laser is used to painlessly open the clouded capsule and restore clear vision. A new eyeglass prescription will be given approximately two weeks after your surgery. If you have been referred to us for surgery, we will ask that you return to your eye care provider for the eyeglass testing and purchase of new eyewear.

Surgery Expectations

  • Three hours in the surgery center or hospital.
  • Your eye will be prepared with eyedrops for dilation, sterilization, and anesthesia.
  • An IV will be placed to deliver a mild sedative. This normally relaxes you for the surgery, but does not make you go to sleep.
  • The surgery itself usually takes less than 20 minutes.
  • The vision will be blurry or cloudy and the eye will be scratchy. This can worsen over the course of the day of surgery, but usually improves over the next few days.
  • You need a driver to take you home following the procedure.

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