When you decide it is time to have your cataract removed with cataract surgery, your Envision Eye Specialists' surgeon will perform an operation to remove the lens of your eye that has become cloudy and replace it with a clear artificial lens. The new lens is called an intraocular lens.
Before cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist will measure your eye to determine the correct focusing power for your new intraocular lens. Your eye doctor may ask you to stop taking some of your regular medications before surgery. Your doctor may also prescribe eye drops to take prior to your surgery to help prevent infection and reduce swelling caused by the procedure.
How should you prepare?
After you arrive at the outpatient surgery center, your doctor will numb your eye with drops or an injection near the eye. Your doctor may also give you medication to relax.
You will remain awake during cataract surgery. You won’t be able to see what the doctor is doing during the cataract surgery, but you may see light and movement during the procedure.
Your surgeon will make tiny cuts with a laser or a blade near the edge of your cornea, which is the clear covering on the front of your eye. This will enable your surgeon to reach your lens with the cataract and remove it. Next, your surgeon will put a new lens in place.
In most cases, you will not need stitches to close the incisions. The so-called self-sealing incisions will close on their own in time. Your surgeon will place a shield over your eye to protect it during the healing process.
What is the surgery process?
After your surgery, you will want to follow all of your doctor's instructions very carefully.
Use eye drops exactly as prescribed
Avoid getting soap or water directly in the eye
Do not rub your eye or press on it. Your doctor may require you to wear glasses to protect your eye
Wear a protective shield during sleep
Refrain from exercise and other activities including driving until your doctor tells you it is safe to resume them.
After-care and Recovery
Bleeding in the eye
Lingering swelling inside the eye or of the front of the eye
Damage to other parts of the eye
Pain that does not dissipate with over-the-counter medications
Loss of Vision
Dislocation of the intraocular lens that moves it out of position
Further treatment may be required if your vision becomes cloudy or blurry weeks, months or even years after cataract surgery. You surgeon can perform a laser procedure known as a posterior capsulotomy to restore clear vision once again.
What are the risks?
Cataract surgery costs are generally covered by Medicare if a patient is eligible for Medicare benefits. Most private insurance plans also cover cataract surgery.
Medicare will cover surgical costs provided that your vision tests meet a certain criterion of acuity or clarity. Private insurers usually have similar vision standards for qualification. There may be some additional costs even if your surgery is covered by a plan. For example, some special intraocular lenses are typically more expensive. Your procedure will also cost more if you choose to have cataract surgery before your vision has deteriorated enough.
However, if your case meets certain criteria, you may be able to receive coverage before you meet the age or vision requirements. Your ophthalmologist can help you weigh the benefits of early cataract surgery.
If you don't qualify for Medicare or private insurance coverage, you may be able to reduce and manage the cost of surgery through a payment plan. Please discuss ways to afford the procedure with your ophthalmologist as well.