Cataract FAQ

What are cataracts?

As we age, a cloudiness develops on the eye’s lens, causing the vision to blur. Cataracts may also be associated with diabetes or, in rarer cases, eye injury.

How fast do cataracts progress?/develop?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to precisely predict how cataracts will progress. Typically, those due to aging progress more slowly, but those associated with diabetes can progress rapidly over a few months.

How are cataracts treated?

As cataracts progress, contacts and glasses are unable to fully compensate for the problem, and cataract surgery is necessary to replace the natural lens of the eye and restore your vision.

How is vision loss from cataracts evaluated?

A comprehensive refractive eye exam is necessary to measure vision loss from cataracts. A simple visual acuity test (eye chart) is not sufficient.

Can I prevent cataracts?

Modern medicine is not yet able to reverse the development of cataracts or prevent them from forming. Once cataracts are present, the only way to regain clear vision is to undergo cataract surgery.

Are cataracts an inevitable part of aging?

Yes. As we age, the lenses of our eyes grow thicker and become cloudy, forming cataracts that must be treated with cataract surgery.

What symptoms are associated with cataracts?

Cataracts often go unnoticed until a doctor discovers them during an exam. Symptoms include blurry vision with dim or faded colors and sensitivity to bright light. You may also notice glare, halos, and poor night-vision.

What is involved in the cataract procedure?/What does cataract surgery entail?

Most cataract surgeries use a process called phacoemulsification, which allows your surgeon to remove the cataract through a microscopic incision. This removes the need for stitches or patches after the procedures.

Are there any needles or blades involved in laser cataract surgery?

No. We offer the first FDA-approved laser cataract technology, the LenSx Cataract Laser. This laser improves precision, predictability of outcomes, and personalization of the procedure.

What results can I expect from my cataract surgery?

After the vast majority of cataract surgeries, vision is substantially improved. With the right lens, this can include clearer images, bright colors, and more. In most cases, patients are able to return to work the day after surgery.

What are the risks with cataract surgery?

As with any surgery, the cataract procedure has some associated risks. Our expert ophthalmologists can help determine if it is right for you and predict whether improvement is likely.

How much does cataract surgery cost?

Cataract surgery is covered under Medicare and most insurances. We also offer excellent financing options through Alphaeon and CareCredit (subject to credit approval).

What are the 3 types of cataracts?

There are three primary types of cataracts: nuclear sclerotic, cortical and posterior subcapsular.

  • Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts are age-related cataracts and the most common among patients. This type of cataract begins as the central (nucleus) portion of the lens hardens and yellows gradually, spreading to other layers of the lens over time. The main symptom of this age-related cataract is the decline of the eye’s ability to focus. An interesting effect can be the temporary improvement of close-up vision, but eventually this will also decline. Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts develop slowly and may take years to negatively affect vision.
  • Cortical Cataracts form as fissures in the lens cortex that cause light to scatter as it enters the eye. This type of cataract creates problems with blurred vision, glares, depth perception, and color perception. Diabetes patients are at a higher risk of developing cortical cataracts.
  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts form beneath the lens capsule as a small cloudy or opaque area. This type of cataract affects reading vision and can create halos and a glare effect around lights. People who have diabetes, extreme nearsightedness, retinitis pigmentosa, and those who use steroids are most likely to develop Subcapsular Cataracts. Symptoms can appear within months, as this is a rapidly developing type of cataract.

At what stage should cataracts be removed?/ When should you have cataracts removed?

When a person starts to find it difficult to perform their daily activities because of vision impairment caused by cataracts, it is time to speak to an eye doctor about cataract surgery. The level of vision impairment warranting cataract surgery can be very different for different people, it is mostly dependent on what the individual feels is their limit for functioning vision.

What happens if you blink during a cataract operation?

You do not need to worry about blinking during cataract surgery. Your eye doctor will put drops in your eye to numb the area, so that you feel no discomfort during the procedure. After the numbing eye drops set in and the eye is completely numb, a lid holder instrument will be used to hold your eye open until the cataract surgery is complete.

What do you see during cataract surgery?

Many patients have anxiety about seeing the cataract surgery process and instruments as it is happening , but there is no need to worry. The local anesthetic that numbs the eye puts the optic nerve to sleep, blurring the vision to where the patient can only distinguish light and dark. Many cataract surgery patients report seeing some combination of colors, most common being red and blue light, likely from the operating microscope. Overall the experience of light and colors seen was not found to be unpleasant and some find it somewhat relaxing.