Top 15 questions asked about cataract surgery

Top 15 questions commonly asked about cataract surgery, Plus 6 bonus questions you should ask your eye doctor.

We searched the Internet and found the top 15 questions people commonly asked GOOGLE about Cataracts and Cataracts Surgery. Plus, we have included a list of 6 more questions you should be asking your ophthalmologist/eye doctor about cataract surgery to help you make an informed decision.

Here’s the list.

  1. Does cataract surgery hurt?
    • Eye drops to numb the eye are also administered before surgery to make the procedure more comfortable for you.
  2. I have cataracts in both eyes. Can they be treated on the same day?
    • Ideally, surgery should be performed in each eye on separate days. This approach allows the first eye to recover and your vision in that eye to stabilize before surgery is performed on the fellow eye. However if surgery is being done under general anaesthesia or patient finds it difficult to make frequent and recurrent trips for surgery, he or she can opt for simultaneous surgery in both eyes.

      The risk of eye infection and other serious complications from cataract surgery is very low. However, if both eyes were to become infected or experience other serious complications at the same time, the results could be visually impairing for a period of time and perhaps even permanent.

  3. What will happen if the cataract is left untreated?
    • Driving can be affected which could be dangerous and so can overall quality of life. Many people become legally blind from untreated cataracts, and cataracts can even cause total blindness if left untreated for long periods. If you’re tempted to put off your cataract surgery, discuss it with your eye doctor.
  4. How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?
    • Take it easy for the first two or three days after having cataract surgery. Start using the eye drops after removing the eye shield at home after your operation, and continue to use them until you’re advised you can stop – they’ll usually be needed for five weeks.
  5. How fast does a cataract progress?
    • The pace of cataract progression varies with each individual. Certain types of cataracts progress quite rapidly and cause cloudy vision within a few months. Fortunately, these are relatively uncommon.

      In certain cases, cataract progression may be accelerated by the following factors:

      – Environmental factors, such as long-term exposure to UV rays
      – Diabetes, chronic vitamin deficiencies, or other medical conditions
      – The use of certain medications, especially steroids
      – Underlying eye conditions such as glaucoma, iritis, or trauma to the eye

      Most cataracts develop gradually and do not require surgery for many months or years. In the past, doctors advised patients to wait until cataracts were “ripe”-or, reached advanced stages-to pursue treatment. Today, however, it is considered ideal to treat cataracts as soon as vision becomes affected.

  6. How long does a cataract lens last?
    • Intraocular lens implants (IOLs) are made from materials such as acrylic or silicone that are biocompatible. This means that they do not react with the body or produce allergic reactions.

      Unlike natural lenses, IOLs do not break down over a person’s lifetime and do not need to be replaced.

  7. Which IOL lens (Intraocular lenses) is best for cataract surgery?
    • At Dr. Vanessa’s clinic, we offer the most advanced lens implants after cataract removal. These intraocular lenses (IOLs) give you the best possible vision. With premium IOLs, many people never need glasses after cataract surgery, or only wear them occasionally.

      After all the tests and eye examination, the doctor will decide which lens bests suits you. The patient is also asked whether they mind wearing glasses after surgery or want to function mostly without optical devices. After going through all the examination reports and a decision is made on the type of lens to be used during the surgery.

      Your options include:

      Standard (Monofocus) IOLs. Have one point of focus and can usually give you clear distances vision. While distance vision is improved, most patient still need to wear glasses for certain tasks, such as reading or working on a computer

      Multifocal (Trifocal) IOLs, for your vision without glasses. This is designed to replace cataract and correct presbyopia (reading di culty) at the same time. Their goal is to give you a full range of clear vision, near to far and everywhere in between.

      Astigmatism-correcting lenses (Toric intraocular lenses). These are for patients with existing corneal astigmatism. Similar to monofocal lenses, these lenses usually give patients quality distance vision with less dependence on glasses. Most patients will still need to wear glasses for tasks such as reading or working on a computer.

      Multifocal with astigmatism correction lenses (Toric multifocal). These correct astigmatism along with presbyopia (difficulty in reading) at the same time so as to give good vision at all distances in patients who have astigmatism and do not want to wear reading glasses

  8. Can you remove a cataract without surgery?
    • Surgery to treat cataracts is the only proven way to remove cataracts; it involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a synthetic new one. This procedure is safe and very effective.

      They’re researching eye drops that may dissolve cataracts so patients don’t have to go for surgery however the FDA has not approved any form of treatments in this instance.

      These eye drop manufacturers claim their drops “dissolve” cataracts, but cataracts are not a substance, so there’s nothing to dissolve. Marketers of these eye drops also claim they can prevent cataract development, but cataracts are a natural part of eye ageing, so that’s another false statement.

  9. Can cataracts grow back?
    • Cataracts do not grow back.

      Sometimes, however, several months or years after cataract surgery one can notice visual blurring similar to what you experienced with the original cataract. This is most likely due to a clouding of the posterior capsule, which is behind the intraocular lens implant.

      If this occurs, the patient may develop symptoms that are similar to those of a cataract, such as blurry or hazy vision, difficulty reading regular print, and sensitivity to bright lights and glare.

      Posterior capsular opacification is treated with a laser to create an opening in the centre of the opacified lens capsule that allows light to enter the eye. The procedure is painless, requires less than five minutes, and is usually performed in the doctor’s office.

  10. Why do you have to wear dark glasses after cataract surgery?
    • During this procedure, the eye’s lens is removed and usually replaced by an intraocular lens (IOL). Leaving the eye more vulnerable to UV light. UV-blocking sunglasses are a must for added protection after any eye surgery.
  11. Can I watch TV after cataract surgery?
    • We ask that you do not read or watch tv at all during the first day of your eye surgery. After that first day of surgery, you may use your eyes as much as you want. You may engage in non-strenuous activities. It is best if you do not rub or touch your eye or any eye covering that may have been applied.
  12. Can cataract lens implants be replaced?
    • Although it is rarely necessary, the IOL can be removed and replaced. Although the need to remove the lens is very unusual, the most common reason would be that the power is incorrect, despite all of the preliminary calculations. Another reason would be if the IOL shifted out of position inside the eye.
  13. Do you still need to wear glasses after cataract surgery?
    • Modern cataract surgery often can eliminate or reduce the need for prescription eyeglasses and reading glasses. Another option is monovision cataract surgery where the power of the single vision IOL is customized in each eye to expand the range of clear vision when the two eyes are used together.
  14. Can I use my old glasses after cataract surgery?
    • Your vision will usually take a few days to a few weeks to stabilize after cataract surgery. If you wear prescription glasses, your doctor will probably wait for 1 to 4 weeks, sometimes longer, to write a new prescription. In the meantime, your old glasses can be used, although you may notice your vision is not ideal.
  15. How much do cataract lenses cost?
    • The average, basic cataract surgery in Malaysia would cost roughly RM3,600-3900 per eye in an established private hospital. If you wanted an advanced technology lens, which corrects astigmatism or presbyopia, expect to pay an additional Rm 1500-Rm 3000.

Other questions you should be asking your eye doctor include:

Consultant Opthalmologist & Oculoplastic Surgeon in Island Hospital Penang
  1. What are the types of cataract procedures?
    • There are two common types of surgical procedures used today.
      1. One procedure is called extracapsular cataract extraction.
      2. Another common type of extracapsular cataract extraction is called phacoemulsification (often just called “phaco”).

        Here in Dr Vanessa’s clinic, we focus on the use of Phacoemulsication (Phaco) cataract extraction. The key benefit of the phaco approach includes an early restoration of vision, making recovery faster allowing you to return to your normal activities quicker. 

        Phacoemulsication (often just called “phaco”) cataract extraction. This is where the surgeon removes the cataract through an even smaller incision than the one used in conventional surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a computerised instrument consisting of a needle about the size of a ballpoint pen tip, which vibrates at about 40,000 times a second.

        This ultrasonic vibration dissolves the cataract into fine particles, which are then vacuumed through an opening in the instrument.

  2. What are the risks of cataract surgery?

    As with any surgery, cataract surgery poses risks, such as infection and bleeding.

    After surgery, you must keep your eye clean. You should wash your hands before touching your eye, and use the prescribed medications to help minimise the risk of infection.

    Cataract surgery slightly increases your risk of retinal detachment. Other eye disorders, such as high myopia (shortsightedness), can further increase your risk of retinal detachment after cataract surgery.

    One sign of a retinal detachment is a sudden increase in flashes or floaters. Floaters are little “cobwebs” or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision.

  3. What can I expect from my cataract surgery at Island Hospital, Penang Malaysia?

    During your consultation with Dr. Vanessa, we will do some tests to measure the size and shape of your eye prior to the surgery. This way, she can choose the best artificial lens for you. You will also be given consent forms to sign.

    You can take a light meal before surgery and there is no need to fast.

    This is an outpatient procedure so you will go home within a few hours after surgery. You’ll be awake for the procedure, your face will be covered with a sterile drape and you will see some bright lights but we will numb your eye with medicine, so you won’t feel pain. Medication may be given to help you relax if required.

    Within 15-30 minutes the surgery is over. 

  4. When is the right time for cataract surgery?

    In short, if an individual has a cataract and resultant blurred vision that makes it difficult to do anything he or she wants and needs to do, it is time to consider cataract surgery. If there are cataracts in both eyes that require surgery, the surgeries are usually performed several weeks apart.

    There is no need to wait for cataracts to worsen or ripen to have the surgery done.

  5. What are the different types of cataracts

    Cataract surgery is the most performed surgical procedure in the world.

    However, most people do not realise that there are different types of cataracts. Ophthalmologists classify cataracts in several ways. The most basic method of classification is according to the location of the actual opacity.

    Types of cataracts by location

    There are three basic areas in the eye that opacity can form: the centre portion of the natural lens, the outer part of the lens and the back surface of the lens.

    1. Nuclear sclerotic cataract. The most common type of cataract. The centre portion of the natural lens of the eye – the nucleus – becomes yellow and hardens. ‘Sclerosis’ refers to the hardening of the lens nucleus. Deterioration of vision is usually gradual.
    2. Cortical cataract. A less common form of cataract that appears as a cloudy opacity in the cortex, the outer part of the lens. The cataract resembles spokes that point inwards on the center of the lens, causing light rays to hit the retina in a scattered fashion. With this type of cataract, the most frequent symptom is experiencing problems with glare.
    3. Posterior subscapular cataract. These cataracts form as opacities on the back surface of the lens. They cause light sensitivity, problems with reading vision and glare. They are more prevalent among diabetic patients and those who have taken corticosteroids over a period of time.
  6. What to expect after my cataract surgery? How will my eyes feel and how long before I can resume normal activity?

    After a few hours, most people can go home after surgery, but you’ll need to arrange for someone to take you home. You’ll usually have a plastic eye shield over your eye when you go home.

    Your eye may feel scratchy, watery, and irritated after surgery. Your vision may also be a little blurry. These symptoms will gradually improve over the next 24‐48 hours. It may take several weeks for your vision to stabilize as your eye continues to heal. If you have progressive worsening of vision, eye pain and blurred vision after cataract surgery, please return to your doctor immediately for an eye checkup.

    Following cataract surgery, patients are told to rest the remainder of the day. Many patients can return to work and usual activities within a few days.

To learn more about cataract surgery: Please read our detailed article here. 

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