Cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed at Batavia Ophthalmology and in the United States. Cataract surgery is recommended when your vision is adversely effecting your daily activities. There are a few instances where your doctor will recommend removing your cataract out of medical necessity.
Specialty implants are now available that can correct your vision for near and far and help eliminate your need for glasses. These are often referred to as premium implants and have an out-of-pocket expense. If you are interested in this type of implant, we will refer you to a surgeon who specializes in this technique.
Most cataract surgeries are done through a very tiny incision made at the edge of the cornea. Such an incision promotes fast and more comfortable healing…and usually does NOT require sutures.
The bag of the lens is opened and a special ultrasonic probe (phacoemulsifier) removes the cloudy lens.
A small foldable artificial lens is inserted through the same small incision to replace the cataract lens.
The final replacement lens is shown in place. The tiny “no stitch” incision does not require sutures.
Dr. Paulus and Dr. Wu perform cataract surgery on an outpatient basis, using eye drop anesthesia, a local anesthetic, and IV sedation. The surgery takes only a few minutes. The cataract is broken into microscopic particles using high-energy sound waves and is then gently suctioned from the eye. This advanced technique is called phacoemulsification. To compensate for the removal of the eye’s natural lens, an intra-ocular lens (IOL) is implanted into the eye.
Dr. Paulus and Dr. Wu have vast experience in this area and have performed thousands of cataract surgeries. His staff is very experienced as well, and are also deserving of your trust.
Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many cataract patients report an improvement in their vision right away. Most patients return to their normal work and lifestyle routines within a few days.
After Surgery Care
Surgery is done at United Memorial Medical Center. The surgery itself takes less than 30 minutes and you go home the same day. You will be sent home with a clear plastic shield over your eye which you should sleep with for the first week to protect your eyes while you sleep. Your post-op care will involve 3 office visits, 1 day, 1 week and 3-4 weeks after surgery and the use of eye drops to avoid inflammation or infection. At your final post-op visit you will be given a prescription for new glasses, if needed at all. There are a few restrictions after your surgery which includes:
- Avoid bending past your waist.
- Avoid lifting anything heavier than 10
pounds in the first week.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes
- You may shower or bathe, just be careful
not to let soapy water in your eyes.
- Do not stifle a cough or sneeze.
Usually within a week you can be back to normal activity.
In some patients after cataract surgery, the membrane or “envelope” into which the intraocular lens is placed will become cloudy over time. This cloudy membrane is called an “after cataract” or posterior capsular opacificaton. Dr. Paulus and Dr. Wu go to great lengths to “polish” the inside of the capsular bag to try and prevent this from happening. When this does happen, the symptoms are similar to a developing cataract and the vision gradually fades. Other symptoms such as glare, halos, or streaks of light may occur. In some patients, treatment is required and this is easily accomplished with the YAG Laser.
YAG Laser Surgery for After Cataracts
The YAG laser has an extraordinarily powerful infrared beam that opens a window in the cloudy membrane without pain. The procedure takes only a few minutes and is performed in the office.
Since there is no incision, there is no risk of bleeding or infection. Vision is often restored within a few hours. Afterwards, patients use eye drops for about a week.
Our team of experienced medical professionals are dedicated to providing our cataracts patients with the best possible surgical results in the safest, most comfortable manner possible. In order to relieve patients’ anxiety and prepare them for cataract surgery both physically and psychologically, our physicians conduct thorough consultations. In addition, they encourage patients to ask as many questions as possible, and they take the time to provide thorough, clear answers. Please review this list of frequently asked questions to learn more about cataract surgery, recovery and insurance coverage.
Will I still need to wear glasses after cataract surgery?
We try to reduce your dependence on glasses after cataract surgery. We use intraocular lens power calculators to help calculate the power of your intraocular lens so that the glasses you wear after surgery will be minimally powered, if needed at all. The use of the latest intraocular lens implants (IOLs), greatly improve vision after cataract surgery and often allows patients to achieve freedom from glasses. Although many patients are able to function without special eyewear, some of them may opt to use glasses for near vision, distance vision or both after cataract surgery.
What are the risks of cataract surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, cataract surgery involves risks including, but not limited to infection and/or swelling of the retina, retinal detachment, injury to the cornea and even blindness. Our physicians go to extraordinary lengths to minimize these risks. The decision to have cataract surgery is always an individual one, and in each case, he evaluates the risk/benefit ratio to determine if cataract surgery is appropriate for you at this time.
In most cases, patients are able to resume their normal activities within one to two days after surgery. The combination of no stitch surgery with foldable implants allows patients to recover their vision much more quickly than with older techniques. Eye drops are used to reduce the risks of infection and inflammation during the first month after surgery.
Is cataract surgery covered by insurance?
In nearly all cases, cataract surgery is covered by health insurance in the same manner as it would apply to surgery for any other disease. Our insurance staff can verify your coverage prior to the procedure.