Questions About Cataracts

Cataracts are very common and a natural part of life. Although corrective surgery is quick and the most performed medical procedure in the United States, many people have questions.

What are cataracts?

The eye’s lens is like the lens in a camera. Until about age 20, it’s usually crystal clear. But as years go by, the lens gradually becomes less clear. This clouding is known as a cataract. We can’t do much to prevent them. They usually just happen as time advances—similar to gray hair. By middle age, most of us have at least mild cataracts. We may not notice anything different, but an eye doctor can see that the lenses of our eyes are no longer crystal clear.

What causes them?

Cataracts are usually caused by a chemical breakdown that naturally occurs over time. Cataracts can also form as the result of an eye injury, birth defect, disease, radiation, use of certain medications, and exposure to some toxic chemicals.

Who typically gets cataracts?

In America, one in six people older than 40 has cataracts. However, most cataracts don’t limit vision until later in life. By age 65, 90% of people have cataracts—although they may not notice decreased vision right away. Cataracts can happen so gradually that many people don’t recognize the symptoms.

While cataracts cannot be prevented, wearing proper sunglasses, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking may delay them and slow their progression. Surgery is usually recommended when decreased vision from a cataract causes daily frustration and is no longer working for you. An eye doctor can help you decide when the time is right.

How do cataracts impact vision?

You may first notice little changes like the need for more light when reading. Or you might feel less comfortable driving at night. These subtle changes can interfere with daily activities and keep you from doing your favorite things. Decreased vision from cataracts has also been directly linked to anxiety and depression.

Common symptoms of cataracts are:

• Blurry or cloudy vision

• Glare or sensitivity to bright light

• Difficulty seeing at night

• Needing more light to read

• Colors are faded or yellowed

How does cataract surgery work?

The eye’s clouded lens is gently removed with advanced ultrasound technology. Once the clouded lens is removed, it is replaced with an artificial lens implant. Lens implants are high-tech marvels that can dramatically improve vision. If you’ve been wearing contacts or glasses, several lens implant options can minimize your need for corrective eyewear.

How long does the procedure take?

With our surgeons’ skill and experience, treatment usually takes less than 10 minutes. However, patients are in our office for at least an hour.

How successful is surgery?

Cataract surgery can greatly improve your quality of life. Many people we treat haven’t recognized how much their sight has declined. After surgery, they are surprised and delighted by the brightness and clarity of their new vision. Our surgeons are able to improve vision for more than 99% of patients. Although we cannot guarantee visual outcomes, we will do everything we can to maximize the quality of your vision.

Do most insurances cover the cost of cataract surgery?

Yes. But if you wish to use glasses as little as possible, and choose a type of lens implant designed to do this, there is an extra cost that is not covered by insurance.

How long is the recovery time?

Recovery from cataract surgery is usually quite fast. However, vision varies from person to person and even from one eye to the other. Within several hours of your operation, you may see noticeable improvement, or your vision may be fuzzy. Both can be normal. Because it takes time for the eye to heal, it could be a few days before your vision clears. We advise patients to take things a little easy for a day or two. But you may resume most normal activities as soon as your eye is working well.

What sets PCLI apart from other cataract facilities?

We are blessed to have a wonderful, dedicated team of cataract surgery specialists. Each is highly skilled, performing as many surgical procedures every year as many eye surgeons have opportunity to do in a lifetime. Our staff is warm and caring. And patients often say our friendly facilities are unlike any medical office they’ve ever visited. The calm, relaxed atmosphere is specially created to ease anxiety and stress. Each year we perform tens of thousands of cataract procedures. We do everything we can to help patients have a positive experience and achieve their best possible vision.

World Class Care

We specialize in cataract surgery and LASIK laser vision correction. When you entrust us with the care of your vision, our team of experts concentrates their skills on giving you the best possible outcome. Having performed over 500,000 micro eye surgeries, we have earned a reputation for world class care.

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To reach our office nearest you, call 800-224-7254. In Alaska call 800-557-7254.