Cataract Surgery

Traditional Cataract Surgery

What happens during cataract surgery?

The more than three million people who will have cataracts removed this year are fortunate to live in a time when cataract correction is so very convenient, safe, and comfortable.

During the outpatient cataract procedure, topical eye drops are administered to anesthetize the eye and dilate the pupil, and medications are provided for relaxation. Using some of the latest techniques, your surgeon then removes the cataract-clouded lens and implants a clear artificial intraocular replacement lens (IOL)—either a standard IOL or a premium IOL—in its place to restore focus. After the procedure, drops are administered to control inflammation and prevent infection. The incision heals naturally and no stitches are necessary. Soon after the procedure, you may return home. Vision improves immediately following surgery, with complete recovery in a few days.

Cataract Surgery: Introduction

Benefits of Cataract Surgery

What are my replacement lens options?

Before surgery, you will select which type of IOL will replace your clouded natural lens—a standard monofocal lens or a premium “lifestyle” lens. Relax…there are no “bad” choices. Each replacement lens offers it own unique advantage. Your choice will depend largely on how you feel about wearing reading glasses or bifocals after cataract surgery.

A standard monofocal IOL restores focus at one distance. It does not compensate for age-related loss of reading vision (“presbyopia”), so those who opt for this type of replacement lens usually need glasses to improve near vision or to fine-tune distance vision. Most monofocal lens recipients are quite happy with their choice. However, if you are bothered by your need for reading glasses or bifocals, or if you have both cataracts and astigmatism, you may want to consider a premium IOL:

  • Premium Toric IOLs: Used to treat cataracts and correct astigmatism at the same time and significantly improve distance vision
  • Premium Multifocal “Lifestyle” IOLs: Used to restore ability to focus at various distances

Your eye surgeon will help you make the best selection for your lifestyle and vision needs.

Before advising you, your surgeon will want to know more about the health of your eyes, your individual lifestyle, and the demands of your occupation and hobbies. He may ask:

  • What kind of work you do
  • How many hours a day you read
  • How many hours a day you use a computer
  • What types of outdoor activity you enjoy
  • What your hobbies are and whether you do close up work, like sewing or knitting
  • How much driving you do at night
  • Whether you like to travel
  • How bothered you are by wearing glasses

Ultimately, the decision is yours. Ask yourself, “What would my life be like without glasses?”

IOL: Monofocal Lens Overview

IOL: Toric Lens Overview

Trifocal IOL: Overview (Panoptix)

Does Medicare cover all types of IOLs?

Medicare permits cataract patients to select either a standard replacement lens implant or a premium replacement lens implant. However, Medicare patients pay privately for the portion of the charges for the implantation of a premium replacement lens and related technical services that exceed the benefit for a standard monofocal replacement lens.

When can I resume normal activity?

Most patients are able to drive and return to work after only two to three days. The eye may still be sensitive to light, and sunglasses are recommended for outdoor activity. Our doctors will advise you as to when you can resume the use of eye makeup and will answer your questions as to other activities you should avoid while the eye is healing.

Can cataracts be removed from both eyes on the same day?

Generally, a cataract is removed from one eye first, with our doctors monitoring the healing and vision of that eye before scheduling the procedure for your other eye.

Will I still need to wear glasses after cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery provides an opportunity to significantly reduce your dependence on glasses. The degree to which eye glass independence can be achieved following cataract surgery is highly dependent on a number of factors, including your pre-operative condition, occupational needs, degree of astigmatism, type of implant selected, and tolerance for glare and other possible side effects associated to varying degrees with all types of implants.

Will my cataracts come back after cataract surgery?

No. Following cataract surgery the clouded natural lens has been replaced with an artificial lens and so the eye cannot develop another cataract. However, months or years after surgery, some patients experience what is commonly called a “secondary cataract” (even though it’s not really a cataract at all) when the capsule of tissue that holds the artificial lens in place becomes cloudy. It takes only a few moments to correct this condition with a laser (See "YAG laser" below).

Cataract Surgery at Augusta Eye MD is...

  • SAFE: Our doctors perform cataract correction under the high magnification of a microscope using small instruments and ultrasound energy.
  • COMFORTABLE: Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye during cataract surgery. Sophisticated, modern techniques mean NO stitches and a quick, natural recovery.
  • EFFECTIVE: Patients experience an almost immediate improvement in vision.
  • STATE-OF-THE-ART: We utilize the latest surgical techniques, including the premium intraocular replacement lens implants, to provide your best possible vision.
  • AFFORDABLE: We gladly accept Medicare assignment.

YAG Laser Capsulotomy

Cataract surgery complications are quite rare. The most common complication is called “posterior capsule opacity” (PCO). The natural lens containing the cataract is removed during surgery, but the surgeon leaves in place the clear membrane (the capsule) that had covered the back of the natural lens. This membrane supports the replacement lens implant. In a small number of patients this membrane thickens, becomes clouded, and prevents light from reaching the back of the eye. This thickening process sometimes takes place within a few months after cataract surgery, but it often happens years later.

A YAG laser capsulotomy is a quick and painless outpatient procedure that removes the clouded portion of the membrane behind the intraocular lens implant thereby restoring the clearest possible vision.

YAG Laser Capsulotomy

What do I do if I’m concerned about cataracts?

Call 706-922-6000 to schedule a consultation at Augusta Eye MD. We’ll exam your eyes to determine whether cataract surgery is the best way to restore clear vision.