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Cataract Surgery Frequently Asked Questions:
When do I need cataract surgery?
When you feel you need to see better in your activities of daily living, then you can talk to your ophthalmologist about cataract surgery.
What is a cataract?
When the lens inside the eye loses it's clarity, it's called a cataract. There are different kinds of cataracts with different effects on your vision. Think of it as a windshield in your car. It could be difficult to see due to a fog on the inside (or outside), mud on the windshield, streaks from a cracked windshield, or some other opacification. Cataracts can be the same.
What causes cataracts?
There are many reasons. But the most common one is age and genetics. Some drugs, disease, radiation, injury, or toxins can cause cataracts. However, in a majority of cases it's due to age.
Are there drugs or exercises to prevent or cure cataracts?
Nothing has ever been shown to improve or cure or prevent cataracts caused by aging.
When do I have to have the surgery? How long can I wait?
You can wait as long as your vision is adequate for your needs. It's rare for a cataract to get so severe that it must be removed for your eye's safety. Also, sometimes other diseases in the eye require a good view of the back of the eye for treatment and if a catarct needs removal.
How safe is cataract surgery?
Very. It's probably the safest and one of the most common operations peformed in medicine. There are risks to every surgical procedure and this should be discussed to your satisfaction with your ophthalmologist.
Does it hurt?
How is refractive cataract surgery different from standard cataract surgery?
Glasses! That's what it's all about. If you don't care whether you have to wear glasses or not after surgery, then standard surgery is an excellent procedure with excellent results. Both procedures are equally safe. If you want to read without glasses or drive without glasses, or both, then consider refractive cataract surgery.
Does insurance cover cataract surgery?
Yes, if cataracts are affecting quality of life. However, if you're interested in decreasing your dependence on glasses, then the extra cost of the refractive cataract surgery is NOT covered by insurance.
What's the recovery period?
You can probably go back to most work in a day or two. You should avoid swimming for a week.
Can cataracts come back?
No. But sometimes a little cloudiness develops in the capsule behind the lens, which can be lasered in the office in about a minute and is also covered by insurance.