Cataract Surgery FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Fort Worth Eye Associates have provided the following Cataract Surgery FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions along with answers for our patients with cataracts. Cataract patients often have many questions regarding their condition and cataract surgery after they have been diagnosed or once surgery has been recommended as a treatment. All of your questions are important to us at Fort Worth Eye Associates, and we are available to answer any that you may have concerning your cataracts or cataract surgery.
Reviewing some of the frequently asked questions about cataracts can be beneficial, as well as alleviate concerns that you have.
Cataracts and Cataract Surgery FAQs
Can cataracts be prevented or reversed?
While existing cataracts cannot be reversed, it is possible that wearing quality sunglasses with UV (ultraviolet) protection can slow down the progression of a cataract. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes antioxidant vitamins is thought to help prevent the formation of cataracts. Ask our eye doctors more in-depth questions during your visit.
Why do I need to wait to have cataract surgery?
Cataracts do not always interfere significantly with vision. They start small and are almost imperceptible to the patient. If a cataract progresses to the point that vision is impaired or lifestyle is affected, it should be removed. If it remains stable, surgery may not be necessary.
Be sure to have regular comprehensive vision check-ups with your eye doctor to monitor cataract progression so that, together, the decision to have cataract surgery can be made.
Can a cataract come back after surgery?
It is not possible for a cataract to “grow back” because the lens where the cataract forms have been removed and replaced. The intraocular lens (IOL) implant never needs maintenance or replacement. In some patients, a cloudy film can form behind the implant on the lens capsule membrane, usually a few months after the original cataract surgery. This condition is called posterior capsular opacification, or secondary cataract (because it seems as if the cataract has returned).
How is a secondary cataract treated?
While the symptoms of a “secondary cataract” are similar to the original symptoms, treatment of this film utilizes a simple laser outpatient procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy. The surgeon can safely and quickly restore vision by creating an opening in the capsule with a specialized laser. This restorative procedure takes just a few minutes, is painless, and typically never needs to be repeated.
Will I feel pain during cataract surgery?
During cataract surgery, your surgeon will use a local anesthetic (numbing eye drops) to keep you from experiencing pain during your procedure. You will also be given a mild sedative to help you relax. Depending on the patient and type of procedure, additional medication may be utilized.
As the medications wear off, you may feel a scratchy sensation or slight soreness in your eye the first day. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate discomfort. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe stronger pain medication.
Will I still need glasses after cataract surgery?
Several options are available during your cataract surgery. With standard IOL implants, vision becomes clear, but reading eyeglasses may still need to be worn as they were before cataracts developed.
At Fort Worth Eye Associates, we offer several premium intraocular lens options that can greatly reduce or eliminate your need for corrective eyewear. Be sure to consult your surgeon about your vision goals and the advanced technologies available to you.
Are there risks involved with cataract surgery?
As with any surgery, cataract surgery involves some risk. Complications, however, are extremely rare. It is one of the most commonly and successfully performed surgeries in the U.S.
In approximately 1 in 1,000 cases, the following complications may occur:
- Severe inflammation
- Retinal detachment
In approximately 1 in 100 cases, less severe complications can occur, such as prolonged recovery time or additional surgery. Choosing an experienced surgeon for your cataract surgery will greatly reduce your risk of complications.
Dr. William Ranelle was the first physician in Fort Worth to perform the modern cataract implant, which has become the standard of practice for cataract removal. His decades of medical experience and commitment to his patients guarantee the highest quality care and innovative treatment available in the field of ophthalmology.
Can cataract surgery be done on both eyes at one time?
Cataract surgery is typically performed on one eye at a time to allow the surgeon to evaluate the outcome of the first procedure before operating on the other eye. This evaluation may affect the choices made for the second surgery, especially in cases using an accommodative or multifocal lens.
Also, cataracts are removed individually as a precautionary measure, in case the eyes were to become infected or have any other rare complication. Even a slight risk of both eyes becoming infected is reason enough for doctors to recommend separate surgeries. Additionally, cataracts do not always progress at the same pace, therefore surgery may not be required at the same time.
It is certainly possible to have simultaneous bilateral cataract surgery, however, due to the reasons stated, most surgeons prefer to perform surgeries on separate days.
Who usually gets cataracts?
Cataracts usually affect patients over age 55, however, anyone can develop one. By the age of 65, 50% of people have developed a cataract and almost everyone over age 75 has at least one cataract. They occur due to the natural aging process.
What if my cataract surgery doesn’t work?
In the rare instance that a problem arises with your intraocular lens, adjustments can be made to correct visual acuity. The IOL can be repositioned or replaced with a different type of lens. It is highly unusual that a cataract procedure needs to be revised.
What if I decide not to have the recommended cataract surgery?
When left untreated, cataracts typically worsen and vision continues to be reduced. Eventually, untreated cataracts can cause legal or even total blindness. In most cases, implantation of the intraocular lens will restore vision, however, advanced (or hyper-mature) cataracts can be more difficult to remove and have a higher risk of complications.
Is cataract surgery the only treatment for cataracts?
In the early stages, cataract development can sometimes be slowed down. Changing glasses prescriptions can also improve vision and prolong the time before cataracts need to be removed.
While research is continually being done, surgery is the only treatment that can restore vision that has been impaired by cataracts. Tremendous advances have been made in modern cataract surgery making it extremely successful in treating all aspects of the condition.
If you have other questions about your cataracts or cataract surgery, the eye doctors at Fort Worth Eye Associates are available to address any concerns you have. Our goal is to provide outstanding ophthalmological care to all of our patients.
We offer the most advanced, state-of-the-art treatments available in cataract surgery coupled with a commitment to excellence and a common-sense approach. We highly value the confidence and trust that our patients place in us and are dedicated to maintaining the highest standard of care possible.
If you have additional questions and would like to learn more about cataracts, please call our Fort Worth office at 817-732-5593.