Questions to Ask Before Cataract Surgery

Preparing for cataract surgery can feel overwhelming, and it’s normal to have questions. At International Eye Associates, you’ll meet with an experienced cataract doctor to help you make all the best decisions for your procedure. Here are the top questions to ask before cataract surgery, along with their answers.

Questions to Ask Before Cataract Surgery

Here’s a checklist of the top questions to ask your cataract doctor, along with their answers below:

  • What happens at my first cataract consultation?
  • What are the different types of cataract surgery?
  • How long does cataract surgery take?
  • Will I be in any pain after cataract surgery?
  • What are my restrictions after surgery?
  • Can a cataract come back after surgery?
  • What risks are associated with cataract surgery?

What happens at my first cataract consultation?

Upon arrival at your first cataract consultation at International Eye Associates, you’ll meet with your Cataract Consultant and cataract doctor for a thorough eye exam. They will measure your eyes for the perfect lens to help improve your vision, and you will receive one-on-one attention so that all of your questions and concerns can be answered.

Following your consultation, you’ll want to go home and consider your treatment options based on what works best for you. Our cataract specialists are always available to help make this decision easier and more comfortable.  

What are the different types of cataract surgery?

The two main types of cataract surgery that we perform at International Eye Associates are traditional and Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS). Traditional cataract surgery is more manual and hands-on, whereas FLACS is less hands-on and relies more heavily on technology. However, both methods are highly effective and result in a quick recovery process. 

Traditional cataract surgery

Traditional cataract surgery involves sound wave technology that is used to break up the cataract into micro-fragments. With the help of an ultrasonic probe, a small incision is made on the front of the eye. Cataract debris is then removed from the eye and replaced with an intraocular lens. 

One of the primary benefits to traditional cataract surgery is that most health insurance plans will cover at least part of the cost of the procedure. However, it does have some limitations. It cannot correct astigmatism, and patients who receive traditional cataract surgery will still need to wear glasses for intermediate and near vision 100% of the time after surgery.

Laser cataract surgery

Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) involves a sophisticated imaging system that allows our surgeons to measure the exact thickness and depth of the cataract. State-of-the-art lasers are then programmed to make incisions in the eye that enable the cataract to be broken up into micro-fragments. 

Similar to the traditional method, debris is removed from the eye before a new intraocular lens is inserted. FLACS procedures reduce energy, fluid, and time used during cataract surgery. The eye is less manipulated, which results in a gentler procedure. 

The laser also creates a more precise and accurate outcome, which allows eye surgeons to correct a wide range of vision problems, including astigmatism, far-, and near-sightedness at the time of cataract surgery. This gives you the option to correct two eye conditions with one procedure and reduces or even eliminates the need for glasses. 

What are my lens options?

During cataract surgery, your eye’s cloudy natural lens is removed. Your surgeon will replace it with a clear artificial lens known as an intraocular lens (IOL). Today’s lenses offer crisper, higher-quality vision, and more function than ever — and there are more options than you think.

Whether you have astigmatism, need better nighttime or daytime vision, have had prior refractive surgery, or wish to see clearly without the use of glasses or contact lenses, we can customize your lens to your individual needs. You can even fine-tune your vision after cataract surgery with the Light Adjustable Lens.

How long does cataract surgery take?

Cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest surgeries in medicine. It takes only 30–45 minutes or less. Patients go home the same day as their procedure. Note, if you need cataract surgery in both eyes, you will undergo two separate operations. Our surgeons like the first eye to recover before they operate on the second. 

Will I be in any pain after cataract surgery?

Most patients experience minimal pain or discomfort following their cataract surgery. Significant improvement is typically noticed among patients within several days of their surgery. If necessary, some patients may be prescribed eye drops to help manage pain and prevent infection. 

Most people can return to work or other daily activities within a couple of days following their procedure. As you recover, you may experience blurry vision, itching, or minor discomfort. After all, your eye has just been operated on, and it will need some time to heal and adjust. However, your vision should improve and symptoms typically subside within just a few days post-operation. 

What are my restrictions after surgery?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you will need someone to drive you home after surgery. If someone you know is not available, our Cataract Consultant can help make arrangements for you to have a safe ride home. Avoid driving for one to two days after the procedure while your eye heals. 

Patients should also avoid strenuous exercise or lifting objects heavier than five pounds for the first week after surgery. Patients are advised to sleep on the opposite side of their healing eye to avoid pressure and shorten the healing process. 

Can a cataract come back after surgery?

Cataracts cannot grow back after cataract surgery. The artificial lens that is implanted during the procedure, called an intraocular lens, typically does not need to be replaced or maintained unless complications arise.

Some patients may experience cloudiness on their lens capsule membrane months or years after cataract surgery. This is typically referred to as a secondary cataract, and can typically be treated through a safe, quick, five-minute procedure. 

What risks are associated with cataract surgery?

Although cataract surgery is extremely safe, as with any surgery it is possible complications could occur. Symptoms like dry eye, blurred vision, and eye pain are all common in the days following your cataract procedure. They are usually managed with prescription eye drops and resolve on their own in a few days or weeks. 

Generally, the earlier the cataract surgery is done, the better the outcome. Untreated cataracts can be more difficult to remove, increasing the likelihood of complications. That is why it is important to choose an experienced eye specialist to perform your cataract procedure. Failure to do so may result in a longer, more painful recovery process. 

Schedule Your Consultation With a Cataract Doctor

Nothing is more precious than your sight. Place your eye health in the hands of a cataract doctor you can trust to prioritize your care. Schedule an appointment with a board-certified ophthalmologist at International Eye Associates today to begin your cataract removal journey. Our ophthalmologists have years of training through medical school, residency, fellowship, and post-fellowship work. Many of them spent years as professors and surgeons at Mayo Clinic prior to joining our team as well.

With the help of our experienced team, your clear vision can be restored, and you’ll be back to doing the things that you love in no time.