The following are answers to frequently asked questions provided to help you better understand the cataract eye surgery procedures offered at our practice locations.
- Can I prevent cataracts?
- A cataract is an extremely common condition that typically occurs as a person gets older and gradually clouds their vision. Although it may not be completely preventable, it can help to adopt a diet rich in vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. In addition, refraining from tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption can help slow the development of cataracts in the future. Since a number of factors can influence your risk of developing cataracts, you should routinely visit your eye doctor and seek treatment for cataracts earlier rather than later to maintain optimal vision.
- Is there an age limit for cataract surgery?
- Many cataract surgery patients visiting our offices worry that they may be too old for the procedure; however, with new technological advances almost all patients meet the criteria for these outpatient surgeries. We have operated on many patients over the age of 100!
- Do I need clearance from a regular physician to have cataract surgery?
- Yes, an overall evaluation of your health and some routine physical test are required prior to cataract surgery. Our surgical coordinator will provide you with the necessary forms that need to be filled out by your physician. If you do not have a physician, our staff will assist you in finding a doctor close to your home.
- Are both eyes treated at the same time?
- No, if both eyes have developed cataracts, typically only one will be operated on at a time. The second eye is usually treated within a couple weeks after the first procedure. By removing the cataracts in separate procedures, this allows you to maintain your normal vision in one eye while your other proceeds to heal and improve.
- Will I be asleep for the surgery?
- No, you will remain awake during cataract surgery since it is a relatively quick process. Our surgeons utilize the latest surgical techniques to provide the most precise and streamlined process possible, and will give you a topical anesthetic to numb your eye. This maximizes your comfort during the procedure while also improving your safety since general anesthesia is not necessary.
- Does cataract surgery hurt?
- Minimal discomfort is typically experienced by our patients due to the use of a topical anesthetic to numb the eye. Our goal is to ensure you are relaxed during the entire process, which is quicker than many people realize. During the surgery, you may notice a sensation of scratchiness or a foreign object, which is very normal. Following the surgery, you may develop a mild headache for the first day, but if you experience any severe pain, you should report it to your doctor immediately.
- How do you determine which IOL will be most effective?
- Since each patient’s vision is different, a measurement must be taken to determine the length of the eye and the curvature of the cornea. Advanced mathematical formulas are used to the calculate the optimal IOL.
- Can I drive myself home after cataract surgery?
- No, you will need to arrange someone to drive you to and from your appointment since your vision will be blurry from your eye being dilated and numbed.
- Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?
- While patients having standard or toric IOLs implanted for distance vision will still need to wear reading glasses after surgery, many patients can experience clear vision at all distances using the multifocal IOLs. Your surgeon can tell you if you are a candidate for this specialty type of lens.
- What are the risks of cataract surgery?
- Cataract surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries with it the potential for risks and complications. Though rare, the possible risks of surgery include: bleeding, postoperative infection, severe corneal edema, retinal detachment, permanent dilation of the pupil, and even loss of vision. Other complications include the development of astigmatism and drooping of the upper eyelid, both of which are treatable. Cataract surgery is a common procedure and we make every effort to minimize the chance for any problems to occur during or after surgery. Please read the cataract consent form for a complete list of risks.
- Is there an alternative to cataract surgery?
- Cataract surgery is necessary in order to remove a cataract that has begun to form. However, daily intake of Vitamin C may slow the progression of cataracts. At Eye Doctors of Washington, we recommend that patients take 100 units of Vitamin C. This amount is present in most daily multi-vitamin supplements and safe for most individuals. However, keep in mind that excessive amounts of vitamins can be hazardous to your health. If you have questions or concerns about your vitamin intake, contact your physician.
If you have additional questions or would like more information about LASIK or cataract eye surgery offered at our practice, contact us today.
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