FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About Cataracts
What are cataracts and how do they impact my vision?
Cataracts are a common eye condition that are a result of the clouding of the eye’s lens. This leads to decreased and blurry vision, since light is no longer able to focus on the retina.
Some symptoms of cataracts can include:
- cloudy or blurred vision
- increased nearsightedness
- halos at night
- dulled color vision
- difficulties with glare
Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss, but treatment is available to correct your vision before this happens.
What causes cataracts and who is most at risk?
Cataracts are most commonly caused by aging and the natural degradation of the eye’s lens. Some other factors that can contribute to cataracts include:
- trauma or injury
- inherited genetic disorders
- exposure to UV light or radiation
- certain medications (like prednisone)
While older individuals are more at risk for cataracts, they can also develop in young adults and children as a result of these causes along with others.
How do I know when to see a doctor for my cataracts?
In the early stages of cataracts, many people do not realize that they have one. Until they start to experience symptoms such as a gradual clouding of the vision and difficulty with glares and halos at night, cataracts don’t make themselves known immediately. Patients should seek treatment when these symptoms develop and impact their everyday sight in order to prevent any future vision loss. We also recommend that all patients over the age of 50 undergo routine screenings for cataracts.
What are my treatment options?
While you can manage early symptoms with new prescription glasses or contact lenses, these are not long-term solutions. The most common treatment for cataracts is surgery, during which a surgeon will replace your clouded lens with a new, clear lens. These lenses can also be customized to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Your options for cataract surgery include manual and laser-assisted techniques.
How does cataract surgery work?
Cataract surgery has a high success rate and is typically quite comfortable. Both laser and manual cataract surgery work by replacing your cataract with a lens implant. Traditional surgery does this using handheld instruments. Laser cataract surgery uses a laser for more precise and personalized treatment that can reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery.
What are my replacement lens options?
If you have presbyopia, myopia, or astigmatism, you can choose an advanced-technology replacement lens that will not only replace your clouded cataract but also correct your vision. There are also lenses that can replace the need for reading glasses. Talk to your doctor about all your lens options and how your cataract surgery could also work as vision correction.
What results should I expect from surgery?
After surgery, you can expect your vision to improve within a few days. Keep in mind that if you do wear glasses or contacts and did not choose an advanced technology replacement lens for your surgery, you may still need to wear your glasses or contacts for your best vision.
Is cataract surgery safe?
Cataract surgery is overall a very safe and common surgery. In the United States, more than 3 million cataract surgeries are performed each year and complications are rare.
Every surgery has its risks, however, including:
- retinal detachment
- secondary cataract
- loss of vision
Cataract surgery is considered one of the safest surgeries on the market, but be sure to discuss any possible complications and risks with your eye doctor.
What does my insurance cover?
Your insurance coverage will depend on your individual insurance plan and specific factors with your surgery. Typically, your health insurance will cover the conventional surgery and a standard lens. If you choose to go with an advanced technology lens, you may need to pay some out of pocket costs.
How does cataract surgery impact my ability to get LASIK?
You can usually still have LASIK after cataract surgery. However, if you correct your vision with the advanced technology lens replacement, you may not need it.
- What are some of my lens options if I don’t want to wear glasses after surgery?
If you don’t have any astigmatism, then a monofocal lens will give you good distance vision. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need glasses for near activity
If you currently have astigmatism, you will have to wear a toric lens after cataract surgery.
If you want to reduce dependency on glasses altogether: The Symphony lens gives you the ability to see well at a distance, it takes care of astigmatism and also gives good midrange vision as well. Examples of mid-range vision would be your dashboard and phone.
If you really want to see well up close: if your goal is to be able to see really well up close, we will recommend an extended depth of vision lenses or a multifocal lens.
Why would I consider laser cataract surgery vs conventional cataract surgery?
Laser cataract surgery is more precise, more accurate, and the technology is able to treat small amounts of astigmatism and can help provide better outcomes for your vision in general. From a clinical perspective, laser cataract surgery allows us to produce quality vision outcomes more consistently.
If you would like to schedule an eye exam and evaluation to learn more about cataract treatment, please call us today at (607) 766-9002.