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Cataract FAQs

Does cataract surgery hurt? 

You can expect to feel virtually no pain during surgery and only mild discomfort after the procedure. Patients rarely need medications for discomfort; most patients do not even require aspirin or Motrin for pain relief.

How does cataract surgery work?

You will be given a local anesthesia. The area around your eye is thoroughly cleaned and sterile coverings are placed around the eye and face. Dr. Stephen H. Johnson makes a very small incision on the cornea through which the cataract lens can be gently broken up and washed away. Your new Intraocular Lens (IOL) will be inserted through the same incision and positioned into place. The entire process only takes 10-20 minutes and you will return home soon thereafter.

What happens after cataract surgery?

You will rest in the recovery room for a short while after surgery. A friend or family member must drive you home after surgery, where you should relax for the remainder of the day. You will be given a protective eye shield and prescription eye drops to use for a few weeks following the procedure. The eye shield should be worn any time you are sleeping or napping for the first week to protect your eye and avoid disturbing its healing.

Do I have to have a cataract removed immediately?

Not all cataracts have to be removed right away unless there are special circumstances. If your cataract has not reached the stage where it is significantly impairing your vision, you may choose to live with it. However, you should schedule regular eye exams to monitor the progress of the cataract to make sure you are being proactive with your eye health.

How much does cataract surgery cost?

The cost of standard cataract surgery and a standard  IOL is set each year by Medicare and most health insurance plans. They usually pay 80% of that cost.  If you choose to customize your vision by having an advanced technology IOL inserted, you will incur some out-of-pocket costs. Medicare doesn’t care if you need to wear glasses after surgery, so Medicare does not cover the ‘refractive’ part of the surgery.

Our patients who choose the advanced IOLs feel that these are well worth the cost because they can now enjoy life without the hassle of having to wear glasses all the time. You are making a lifelong investment in your vision, now is the time to make it the vision you wished you had. You don’t have to continue with the vision you were forced to get used to.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is considered to be one of the safest and most successful medical procedures. However, it is still a surgery and all surgery has some risks, including the possibility of:

  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Retinal detachment
  • Loss of vision
  • Glare
  • Secondary cataract
  • Glaucoma

Before your surgery Dr. Johnson will discuss the major risks with you. You will also be given an informed consent document containing many of the potential risks and complications of cataract surgery. You will be able to review it at your leisure and have your questions answered before you have the surgery.

In the hands of a qualified, experienced surgeon like Dr. Johnson, you have a greater chance of having a successful cataract surgery outcome. If your surgeon knows the warning signs of potential complications, he is better prepared to avoid those complications. You have a similar experience when you drive on a familiar road and know where the pot holes or dangerous corners are – you recognize where you are and avoid the problem, that’s experience.

Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?

The answer to this question depends on what type of vision problems you have in addition to cataracts and what type of replacement lens you choose. Patients who choose a standard lens should expect to wear glasses after surgery.  Most patients fitted with multifocal IOLs or accommodating IOLs can expect to enjoy life without needing glasses for most activities. However, if you have vision disorders stemming from the shape of your eye or the cornea (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism), or other co-existing pathology, you may still need glasses for your activities. Dr. Johnson will make sure you have realistic expectations for the outcome of your surgery before you undergo the procedure.

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Newport Beach, CA 92660

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