Questions About Cataract Surgery

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cataract?
What is cataract surgery?
What is “custom” or “premium” cataract surgery?
What is “laser” cataract surgery?
Why choose “laser” cataract surgery?
Are there risks with “laser” cataract surgery?
Will I feel the lens implant in my eye?
Why do I need a lens implant?
What are my choices for lens implants?
Can I reduce or eliminate my need for bifocals or reading glasses with special or premium lens implants?
Is cataract surgery covered by my insurance?
Are the lenses that reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and bifocals covered by insurance?
Is “laser” cataract surgery covered by insurance?
If I have cataract surgery with the “laser” or with these premium lenses, will I have to have it done again in the future?
Does cataract surgery hurt?
What does the procedure involve?
Is cataract surgery safe?
What is the recovery time for cataract surgery?
When can I return to work?
What restrictions are there after cataract surgery?

What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. In the front of our eyes, we are born with a lens—the eye’s natural lens. This lens sits just behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. The job of the eye’s natural lens is to focus light on the back of the eye so we can see clearly. This job of the lens is similar to a lens on a film projector that focuses light on a screen. Our lens focuses light on our retina, and that’s how we see.

When we are born, the eye’s natural lens is crystal clear. Over time, the lens gets cloudy. This is usually a slow process that occurs day by day over many years. This clouding results from many reasons including aging, medical illnesses such as diabetes, smoking and alcohol consumption, exposure to ultraviolet light, eye injuries and trauma, and the use of certain prescription medicines such as prednisone.

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What is cataract surgery?
Unfortunately, there is no medicine or eye drop that can clear up a clouded lens in the eye. The only thing that can be done is to remove it. The procedure of removing the eye’s clouded lens is cataract surgery. Today, in modern cataract surgery, the eye’s clouded lens is removed and replaced with a crystal-clear, artificial, lens implant.

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What is “custom” or “premium” cataract surgery?
Up until several years ago, patients did not have a choice on traditional vs. “laser” cataract surgery, nor on the type of lens implant that was placed in their eye. Now, through consultation with an eye surgeon, most patients can choose between traditional or “laser” cataract surgery and can choose the type of lens implant that’s placed in their eye. These new options include lenses that use the latest technology to give the best possible distance vision, or the best possible distance and near vision without eyeglasses. We now can truly offer custom cataract surgery.

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What is “laser” cataract surgery?
Laser cataract surgery is an advanced procedure performed by a surgeon who uses a precise, computer-controlled laser system to automate some of the most challenging steps of cataract surgery. The laser replaces the traditional hand-held blade to optimize all incisions for enhanced surgical performance.

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Why choose “laser” cataract surgery?
While all human eyes share the same basic structure, every eye is a bit different in size, depth, and curvature. The LenSx® Laser Surgery System uses a range of advanced technologies, including high resolution imaging of your eye, to guide the surgeon in the cataract surgery procedure for your specific eye. These technologies are not available with traditional cataract surgery. Furthermore, laser cataract surgery at Metrolina Eye is bladeless, fully-customized, and a premium surgical experience.

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Are there risks with “laser” cataract surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks with laser cataract surgery. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure during your cataract evaluation.

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Will I feel the lens implant in my eye?
No. The artificial lens is a very small implant that is placed INSIDE of the eye. You will not feel the implant or even know that it is there.

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Why do I need a lens implant?
Without a lens implant in your eye after cataract surgery, your vision will be significantly out of focus and blurred.

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What are my choices for lens implants?
With modern cataract surgery, not only can we make your vision better than it was before you developed cataracts, but it may be possible to make your vision better than it has ever been. We do this by the use of premium lens implants. These lenses include “Toric” lenses for distance vision, and “multifocal” lenses for both distance and near vision. The use of these lens implants can correct some causes of life-long poor vision and difficulty seeing up close due to the need for glasses.

You may choose to have a basic lens implant placed in your eye after cataract surgery. With these basic lenses, you will have to wear new glasses for your best vision, most often bifocals or trifocals. You will also be dependent on glasses for reading and up-close.

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Can I reduce or eliminate my need for bifocals or reading glasses with special or premium lens implants?
Yes! The use of “Toric” lens implants can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses for distance and the use of “multifocal” lenses can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses for both distance AND for reading!

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Is cataract surgery covered by my insurance?
Yes. Cataract surgery is a covered expense under Medicare and ALL private medical insurances exactly like most other surgeries, for example, heart surgery or knee surgery. As with any procedure, you may have a co-payment or deductible.

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Are the lenses that reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and bifocals covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, no insurance covers the extra cost associated with the use of premium lens implants. This is similar to some hearing aids and dental implants that are not covered by insurance. Your surgeon will discuss with you the cost of these upgraded or premium lenses.

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Is “laser” cataract surgery covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, no insurance covers the extra cost associated with the use of the laser cataract system. Your surgeon will discuss with you the cost of laser cataract surgery.

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If I have cataract surgery with the “laser” or with these premium lenses, will I have to have it done again in the future?
Once you have completed a successful cataract surgery, the cataract will never come back and you will never again need cataract surgery. The premium lens implants will not need to be changed or replaced and they will last you the rest of your life.

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Does cataract surgery hurt?
Cataract surgery is a practically painless procedure. We use no needles, shots, or stitches.

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What does the procedure involve?
Cataract surgery is performed in an operating room in a hospital or surgery center. It is a totally outpatient procedure. The procedure itself takes only about 10 minutes! Plan on spending 2 or 3 hours at the hospital or surgery center for preparation and recovery. You will need a responsible adult who can drive you home after the surgery.

Patients are awake for cataract surgery. We use a medicine through an I.V. for deep relaxation. We then use a gel or drops to numb the eye. We do not use any needles or shots to numb the eye! In traditional surgery, we make two tiny little incisions in the side of the eye that you will not feel. Through those incisions we use a microscopic ultrasound to break up the cataract into little pieces and gently wash it out of the eye. We then put into the eye the artificial lens implant that you have chosen.

In laser cataract surgery, a computer-guided laser is used to make all incisions into the eye and to break up the cataract into tiny pieces. These pieces are then washed out of the eye as in traditional cataract surgery.

Because of the cutting-edge technology combined with the deep relaxation anesthesia, most patients only remember being taken into the operating room and then being told the procedure is completed!

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Is cataract surgery safe?
Cataract surgery is a very safe and successful surgery. In the United States, the procedure has about a 97% success rate. That means about 97% of people see BETTER after than they did before the surgery. No surgery, however, is 100%. Your surgeon will discuss with you in detail your specific risks for cataract surgery.

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What is the recovery time for cataract surgery?
Very short! While it may take a month or so to fully recover from the procedure, most patients notice a significant improvement the next day and can even drive themselves to their follow-up appointments. Most healing takes place during the first several days.

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When can I return to work?
Patients can often go back to work the next day. Depending on your profession, however, you made need to take more time off of work. Your surgeon will discuss with you your specific timeline for returning to work.

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What restrictions are there after cataract surgery?
Not very many. But, it is very important that patient’s do NOT do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity in the immediate period after cataract surgery. Also, the eye must be kept clean. You can shower and shampoo but you must not rub your eye. You must also protect your eye from injury. We supply you with a clear, plastic patch to wear over your eye after surgery for one week while sleeping. Your surgeon will discuss with you specific restrictions.

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Call today to schedule a cataract evaluation with one of our highly skilled surgeons.
Matthews/Stallings/South Charlotte 704-234-1930
Monroe 704-289-5455