Cataracts

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are cataracts?
2. Can cataracts be prevented or cured?
3. How are cataracts treated?
4. What are the symptoms of cataracts?
5. Who is at risk for developing cataracts?
6. What is cataract surgery?
7. How long does cataract surgery take?
8. What is recovery like for cataract surgery?
9. Is cataract surgery safe?
10. What are the risks of cataract surgery?

1. What are cataracts?

A cataract occurs when proteins clump together in the eye’s lens and interfere with light passing through to the retina. This causes a progressive clouding of the eye's natural lens, which results in blurred, fuzzy vision and sensitivity to light.

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2. Can cataracts be prevented or cured?

There is currently no medical treatment to cure, reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, the only one way to achieve clear vision again is through cataract surgery.

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3. How are cataracts treated?

Once a cataract has formed, the only way to achieve clear vision again is through cataract surgery. Whether or not cataract surgery is required depends on how the cataracts affect a patient's vision. Not all patients with cataracts require cataract surgery.

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4. What are the symptoms of cataracts?

The symptoms of cataracts include:

    • Decreasing vision with age
    • Blurred or double vision
    • Seeing halos around bright lights
    • Difficulty seeing at night
    • Vision that worsens in sunlight
    • Difficulty distinguishing colors
    • Poor depth perception
    • Frequent prescription changes for glasses
    • Difficulty reading

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5. Who is at risk for developing cataracts?

Cataracts can occur in anyone at any age, but are much more likely to occur in people over the age of 60. Trauma to the eye, diabetes, glaucoma, smoking, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation can all increase someone’s risk of getting cataracts.

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6. What is cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s blurry lens and replacing it with an artificial one called an intraocular lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful medical procedures performed, and many patients experience vision that is actually better than what they had before they developed cataracts.

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7. How long does cataract surgery take?

The actual procedure typically takes only a few minutes, however, we ask that you arrive one hour prior to your procedure to allow ample time for preparation.

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8. What is recovery like for cataract surgery?

You will go home soon after the surgery and relax for the rest of the day. Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many patients report improvement in their vision almost immediately after the procedure. Most patients return to their normal activities within one or two days.

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9. Is cataract surgery safe?

Serious complications with cataract surgery are uncommon. It is one of the most common and successful medical procedures performed, but like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks. Going to an eye specialist experienced with the procedure can significantly minimize the risks involved with cataract surgery.

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10. What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Every procedure has risks, and cataract surgery is no different. Keep the area around your eyes clean, and make sure to wash your hands before touching your eye. Always use medications prescribed by your doctor to minimize the chance of infection.

Cataract surgery does slightly increase your risk for retinal detachment, especially when combined with other eye disorders. One sign of retinal detachment is an increase of specks that seem to levitate about in your field of vision. Should you notice these “floaters,” call an eye care professional immediately.

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