At Benjamin Eye Institute, we wish for our patients to learn as much as possible when it comes to conditions and treatments we offer, such as cataracts and cataract surgery. Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions.
If you have a question not found on this page, or if you would like to schedule a free consultation at Benjamin Eye Institute, please call us today at 310.275.5533.
Cataracts Frequently Asked Questions
When is Someone Likely to Develop Cataracts?
Cataracts develop slowly over many years and are frequently experienced in the later years of life. It is estimated that nearly half of the US population will have a cataract in one or both eyes by the age of 65, and nearly every person age 75 and over will have a cataract in at least one eye. There are certain conditions or behaviors which increase your likelihood of developing a cataract. Risk factors include:
- Certain medical conditions like diabetes
- Alcohol or tobacco use
- Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light
What are the Risks Associated with Cataract Surgery?
As with all surgical procedures, there are risks involved with cataract surgery which include infections or bleeding. Dr. Benjamin may ask that you temporarily stop taking certain medications such as blood thinners, which can increase your risk of excessive bleeding during surgery. Following your cataract surgery, it is imperative that you keep your eye clean and free of debris in order to allow it to heal properly, and to minimize your risk of developing an infection.
What are the Side Effects of Cataract Surgery?
Complications following cataract surgery are rare and can be minimized by carefully following Dr. Benjamin's post-operative instructions. In most instances, any side effects are controlled with several medications prescribed by Dr. Benjamin. Cataract surgery presents an increased risk of retinal detachment, especially in those who have nearsightedness. Retinal detachment is a painless condition that may first be detected if you notice small lines or specks which appear in your field of vision – or flashes of light. While this is a rare complication, it is important to be aware of it.
What is a 'Secondary Cataract?'
In a small number of cases, approximately 20 to 30 percent, the back portion of the lens capsule left inside the eye becomes cloudy causing vision to once again become blurry. This is known as a 'secondary cataract.' This condition may be treated by a less-invasive surgical procedure known as YAG laser capsulotomy, a laser treatment used to correct the haziness created by the secondary cataract. In the majority of instances, this 15-minute procedure will remove the haze and restore clear vision.
Will I Need Glasses Following my Cataract Surgery?
You may. The standard cataract surgery includes intraocular lens implantation. If you choose this surgical procedure, it is likely that you will need reading or computer glasses following your cataract surgery. There are other options, including the placement of advanced lenses. Laser cataract surgery with premium implantable lenses can allow many patients to spend their days glasses-free. Another option is monovision cataract surgery, in which the degree of correction is customized for each eye in order to achieve clear vision.
Does Cataract Surgery Hurt?
You should experience very little discomfort during cataract surgery. While you will be awake during the entire procedure, it is quite possible that you will not remember much from your surgical procedure. You will be given a mild sedative upon your arrival to the Benjamin Eye Institute which will allow you to relax in preparation for your procedure. Additionally, Dr. Benjamin will place numbing eye drops into your eyes to prevent any discomfort.
What Happens if Cataracts are Left Untreated?
Cataracts are a gradual condition of the eye, resulting in degeneration of your vision. If left untreated your cataracts will continue to worsen, continually reducing you vision. Your ability to perform your normal activities such as driving, or walking can be affected, and will eventually become dangerous. Many people become legally blind if cataracts are not treated.
Are There Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Cataracts?
When cataracts are originally diagnosed, you may be experiencing blurred or cloudy vision, sensitivity to light, problems seeing at night, double vision, dull colors, or changes to your glasses or contacts prescription. Early treatment of cataracts is designed to minimize these symptoms and slow the progression of cataracts. Protecting your eyes from harsh ultraviolet rays through the use of specialized lens coatings on your glasses may help to alleviate your symptoms. Furthermore, you may find adjusting the position of lamps or reading lights to be helpful. While these lifestyle choices may be able to delay your need for surgical treatment, ultimately surgery will be necessary to save your vision.
When is the Right Time to Have Cataract Surgery?
Cataracts which are mild or are not causing significant impairment to your vision may not need to be corrected immediately. Dr. Benjamin may choose to watch your condition to see how it progresses before recommending surgery. However, if you have noticed changes to your vision and have been diagnosed with cataracts, it is likely that it is already time to have cataract surgery. Sometimes, however, insurance companies and Medicare require that your vision deteriorate to a certain point before deeming cataract surgery medically necessary and approving coverage for the procedure.