Cataract & lens surgery (2022)

This page explains what causes cataracts, the symptoms people with cataracts might experience and how cataracts are treated. Readers can find information about the different procedures and replacement lens options and the factors that contribute to variability in the cost of treatment. This information is provided to help people who have cataracts understand what their treatment options are with Vision Eye Institute.

A cataract is not a growth, but rather a clouding of the normally transparent and flexiblelensof the eye. This condition usually develops over some time and interferes with light entering the eye, which affects a person’s ability to see clearly. If left untreated, people with cataracts may eventually go blind. Both eyes may be affected, although not usually to the same extent.

Cataracts are mainly diagnosed in people over 60 but can occur at any age (some babies may even be born with congenital cataracts). Age is the major risk factor for developing cataracts. However, a cataract can also be associated with eye trauma, prolonged use of steroids, or previous inflammation and infection in the eye.

(Video) Eye Surgery- Cataract with Lens Replacement

Early cataracts are often managed with a change in your glasses or contact lens prescription. When this stops working and/or you can’t perform your daily tasks, then it could be time to consider cataract surgery. This involves replacing the dysfunctional lens with an artificial one. The same procedure can also be used as an alternative tolaser eye surgeryto correct vision, regardless of whether cataracts are present. If the person does not have cataracts, it is referred to as refractive lens exchange or clear lens surgery.

We perform cataract surgery and lens surgery in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Mackay and Adelaide.

Your ophthalmologist will perform a thorough assessment of your eyes and will help you determine which replacement lens option best matches your needs and lifestyle. These lenses vary in design and offer clear vision at either one, two or three distances. They can be customised to correct short-sightedness, long-sightedness and/or astigmatism, even allowing some people to have normal vision without the need for glasses after the surgery.

Some, but not all, of the costs of cataract surgery are covered by Medicare and also by private health insurance (depending on the type of cover you have). The gap payment, or out-of-pocket cost, will depend on several factors, including your level of private health cover and the replacement lens option you choose.

Unfortunately, due to the variability in patient private health cover and replacement lens selection, it isn’t possible to provide an accurate cost for cataract surgery online. Your ophthalmologist will be able to provide you with the full cost during your consultation, once you have chosen your preferred lens option. You will need to contact your private health insurer directly to find out whether your cover includes cataract surgery and if there is any excess.

(Video) Cataract Surgery Animation

The following payment options are available for cataract and lens exchange surgery, subject to approval.*

  • LatitudePay for services up to $1,000 – Interest Free, ten weekly payments, no account fees, fast approval
  • LatitudePay+ for services up to $10,000 – Interest Free, flexible repayment period (6, 12, 18 or 24 months), low monthly account fee, fast approval

*Approved customers only. Full T&Cs apply. Payment plan provided by LatitudePay Australia Pty Ltd ABN 23 633 538 873.

(Video) Cataract Surgery and Lens Choice

When will I need cataract surgery?

In the early stages, some cataracts can be left untreated. When your sight deteriorates to a point where it interferes with your ability to carry out daily tasks (including seeing in low-light situations such as at night), it could be time to consider surgery.

What is the success rate?

Traditional or manual cataract surgery is considered one of the safest surgical procedures in the world today, with a success rate of 99%. Laser cataract surgery may reduce the risk of complications even further. Serious complications are rare with cataract surgery.

How long does cataract surgery take?

A typical procedure takes less than 30 minutes. Allowing for admission, preparation and recovery time, you'll be in the day surgery for around 3 hours.

Will it hurt?

No. We will administer a local anaesthetic (numbing drops) to your eye and you may also be given a sedative to help you relax.

What if I blink?

Your surgeon will ensure that your eyelid is gently held open throughout the procedure so that you cannot blink.

Will I be awake?

Probably, but not necessarily – some people even fall asleep during the surgery. You are not required to be awake for the operation.

What will I see during surgery?

You may see a bit of light and some vague movement or you may see nothing at all. You will not be able to see what the surgeon is doing to your eye.

Will my eye hurt afterwards?

You may feel a bit of discomfort a few hours after surgery but no pain.

How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

Your sight will usually recover within days but typically fluctuates for about a month before stabilising. If you notice any significant reduction in your vision, tell your surgeon immediately. The protective shield is usually worn for the first day and your surgeon may also recommend the shield be used for the first few nights after the operation – this is usually the case if you can't stop rubbing your eyes. Cataract surgery does not usually involve stitches.

Normal daily activities such as light housework can be resumed within a couple of days. With routine and successful surgery, patients are usually fit for all physical activities and contact sports one month after cataract surgery – this includes sparring in martial arts.

How long before I can drive a car?

Driving is not recommended for the first few days after surgery to allow your eye to settle.

Can both eyes be operated on at the same time?

It is generally preferable to give the first eye a chance to settle before planning surgery and lens requirements for the second eye. Even though cataract surgery is quite safe, operating on both eyes at the same time may increase the risk of serious complications and visual impairment (e.g. if both eyes were to get infected at the same time). However, there are some rare situations where your surgeon may recommend having both eyes done at one.

When will I get the second eye done?

Your doctor will be able to help you determine when the second eye can be operated on. Although it varies, most surgery is around two weeks apart. In the case of multifocal implants, early second eye surgery hastens the recovery. Patients who are very short- or long-sighted also benefit from both eyes being operated on in quick succession, as it is common that their eyes are now significantly unbalanced. During the period between surgeries, a contact lens may be used to balance the eye that has not yet been operated on.

Will I still need glasses after cataract surgery or lens exchange?

Today's replacement lenses can also be used to correct pre-existing vision problems due to short-sightedness, longsightedness and/or astigmatism. For example, trifocal lenses provide focus at near, intermediate and far distances. These are typically the best option for achieving clear vision without glasses, although there are no guarantees. The most suitable candidates are over 55 years, rely heavily on glasses/contact lenses and are long-sighted. If you are quick to notice visual imperfections, then glasses may remain your best choice.

What are the risks?

Cataract surgery is one of the most successful procedures in medicine, so the risk factor is relatively minimal. However, as with any surgery, complications can occur and are related to the procedure itself or to the anaesthesia. Most of the complications from cataract surgery are minor and can be corrected. The success rate is high, with around a 1 in 1000 risk of permanently impaired eyesight.

Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of cataract surgery so that you can make a fully informed decision.

What are the potential complications of cataract and lens surgery?

Posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is the most common potential complication of cataract and lens surgery. PCO can occur when the back of the capsule (housing the lens) thickens. This can cause your vision to appear cloudy but can be treated quickly using a YAG laser outpatient procedure and eye drops.

Also refer to the section 'Potential complications' at the bottom of this page.

(Video) Cataract and lens replacement day of surgery and postoperative instructions. 1-9-2018

Does laser cataract surgery cost more?

As with any new technology, laser cataract surgery costs more than traditional cataract surgery. This is due to the operating cost of the laser. We offer laser cataract surgery in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Townsville and Mackay.

Is everyone suitable for laser cataract surgery?

No, there are certain patients that are not suitable. Your surgeon will be able to advise if you are suitable after completing a thorough examination of your eyes.

Do you offer payment plans?

Payment plans can be used to access consultations, treatment and surgery at all Vision Eye Institute Clinics and Vision Hospital Group day surgeries.

Vision Eye Institute patients can access a plan to suit their needs through one of the following options.*


  • LatitudePay for services up to $1,000 – interest free, ten weekly payments, no account fees, fast approval

  • LatitudePay+ for services up to $10,000 – interest free, flexible repayment period (6, 12, 18 or 24 months), low monthly account fee, fast approval


*Approved customers only. Full T&Cs apply. Payment plan provided by LatitudePay Australia Pty Ltd ABN 23 633 538 873.

References

For a full list of references, visit the

(Video) Standard Cataract Surgery with Lens Implantation Eye Associates of South Texas- See more clearly!

FAQs

Cataract & lens surgery? ›

During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed, and a clear artificial lens is usually implanted. In some cases, however, a cataract may be removed without implanting an artificial lens. Surgical methods used to remove cataracts include: Using an ultrasound probe to break up the lens for removal.

How long does cataract and lens surgery take? ›

How long does cataract surgery take? Cataract surgery takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete, depending on the severity of the condition. You should also plan to spend up to 30 minutes following the surgery to recover from the effects of the sedative.

What happens after cataract surgery and lens replacement? ›

It is common for patients to have blurry or distorted vision after initially removing the eye shield. It can take time to adjust to the new IOL lens. Although it's uncommon, some experience bloodshot eyes due to temporary blood vessel damage. This should clear up within a few days.

What is the difference between cataract surgery and lens replacement? ›

Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens caused by cataracts with a transparent intraocular lens. While the cataract surgery procedure is the same as refractive lens exchange, the difference is that RLE is done to replace your clear lens – and not to replace the diseased lens of cataracts.

What are the 3 types of cataract lenses? ›

There are three different types of intraocular lenses available including monofocal, toric, and presbyopic-correcting.

How do they keep your head still during cataract surgery? ›

Tape the patient's head to the operating room table before starting the surgery. I use paper tape to gently hold the patient's head in place during the procedure. Place it over the forehead and use a tape that is gentle and will not damage delicate skin.

Can I watch TV after cataract surgery? ›

Several hours following the surgery, most patients are able to watch some television or look at a computer screen for a short period of time. It's important however that you don't over-exert your eyes during the first 24 hours post-surgery. You can expect to return to most normal activities during the first week.

How long after lens replacement can I drive? ›

Driving After Cataract Surgery

This is so that the caretaker can stay with the patient and ensure there are no post-op complications, however rare they may be. Most patients are able to resume driving 24 hours after cataract surgery.

How long does it take for your eyes to heal after lens replacement? ›

Recovery Timetable

Depending on the specific lens replacement procedure that you undergo, recovery time ranges from two to eight weeks. Certain corrective benefits may not be immediately realized as you adjust to an entirely new way of seeing, and there will be a period of blurriness.

How long does it take to see clearly after lens replacement surgery? ›

Most people see better 1 to 3 days after surgery. But it could take 3 to 10 weeks to get the full benefits of surgery and to see as clearly as possible. Your doctor may send you home with a bandage, patch, or clear shield on your eye. This will keep you from rubbing your eye.

How long do cataract lenses last? ›

A cataract lens will last a lifetime, and the vast majority of patients do not experience any complications with their lenses after cataract surgery. In fact, the most common post-cataract surgery issue has nothing to do with your lens in particular.

Will I need glasses after lens replacement? ›

Regardless of the type of lens you select, you may still need to rely on glasses some of the time, but if correctly selected, your IOLs can greatly reduce your dependence on glasses. Discuss your options with your ophthalmologist to determine the IOL that best suits your vision needs and lifestyle.

Are you awake during lens replacement surgery? ›

The procedure itself usually lasts less than 15 minutes and is virtually painless. Typically, patients are awake during cataract surgery. This eliminates risks associated with general anesthesia (where you are “put to sleep”) and enables our doctors to communicate with you during your procedure.

What is the newest lens for cataract surgery? ›

The extended depth of focus Vivity lens is one of the most recent advancements in cataract surgery technology and can provide both high quality vision and a wide range of vision. Therefore, it can be a good choice for patients seeking glasses independence for the majority of activities with the fewest side effects.

Which season is best for cataract surgery? ›

Springtime will look better than ever.

One of the best reasons for scheduling your cataract surgery for wintertime is so that your eyes will be healed and seeing clearly in time for all the natural beauty and outdoor activity that comes with warmer weather.

What type of cataract surgery is best? ›

Laser-assisted cataract surgery is the latest and most advanced method of performing cataract surgery. And many ophthalmologists prefer laser cataract surgery over traditional cataract surgery as a pre-treatment to “soften” cataracts.

What happens if you blink during a cataract operation? ›

Cataract surgery patients often worry about what may happen if they blink during the procedure. Although this is an understandable concern, there is no need to worry. You will be given an oral medication prior to the procedure to help you relax during your surgery.

Do you have to take your clothes off for cataract surgery? ›

Dress comfortably: During surgery, you won't need to change into a gown, so practitioners advise wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. No change of clothes is necessary, though you may want to bring an extra shirt as fluids used in the surgery may drip down, Make sure to wear a shirt or top that has buttons.

Will my face be covered during cataract surgery? ›

At the beginning of surgery, your ophthalmic surgeon will clean the skin around the eye and place a plastic cover on the eyelid so that partially covers your face and if your surgery is under local anaesthetic you have some oxygen to breathe and space around your mouth to feel comfortable and non-claustrophobic.

Do I need to wear sunglasses indoors after cataract surgery? ›

Wear sunglasses outdoors for one week after surgery. It is optional to wear them indoors.

Can I drive 2 days after cataract surgery? ›

Post-surgery, it's common for vision to be blurry for a few days. Many people can drive again within 24 hours. However, it's highly recommended you do not drive until you've seen your eye doctor after the surgery. Your ophthalmologist may recommend you wait a few more days before driving.

What happens if you don't wear sunglasses after cataract surgery? ›

You could even cause your cataracts to return as UV rays are one of the leading causes of cataracts. That's why doctors recommend you wearing sunglasses outside for the first year after your surgery.

What can you not do after lens replacement surgery? ›

What can you not do after lens surgery?
  1. No makeup for 2 weeks - Avoid wearing eye makeup two weeks after you've had your surgery.
  2. Avoid rubbing your eyes for two weeks - You should completely avoid rubbing your eyes for the first two weeks and minimal touching of your eyes during the 4 weeks after surgery.

When is it too late for cataract surgery? ›

Although it's never too late to have a cataract removed, it is better to have cataracts removed while they are immature, as this reduces the length of surgery and the recovery time. Earlier removal also means that you avoid the significant visual impairment associated with very mature (hypermature) cataracts.

Why is my night vision worse after cataract surgery? ›

Many cataract patients experience “unwanted visual images” after surgery, also known as dyphotopsia. Glare, halos and streaks of light are examples of positive dysphotopsia. They occur more frequently at night or in dim lighting, and are more common with multifocal lenses.

What are the most common problems after cataract surgery? ›

Some immediate complications are a result of having the surgical procedure. These include discomfort, bruising and swelling of the eyelid, increased intraocular pressure, and allergic reaction to the steroid or antibiotic drop. These complications are monitored over time following surgery.

Do you have to sleep sitting up after cataract surgery? ›

Cataract surgery should not affect how you sleep, aside from wearing the protective eye shield to avoid rubbing the eye. Rubbing your eye or even water splashing in your eye can aggravate the chances of infection. You may also want to avoid sleeping on the side of the operated eye for the first 24 hours.

What is the fastest way to recover from cataract surgery? ›

  1. Avoid Irritants At All Costs. By far, the most important thing that you can do to guarantee a speedy recovery after cataract surgery involves avoiding irritants at all costs. ...
  2. Do NOT Touch Your Eyes. ...
  3. Wear Those Sunglasses. ...
  4. Those Follow-Up Appointments Are Essential – It's Time to Act Like It. ...
  5. Rest, Rest and Rest Some More.
Nov 26, 2018

What is the average age for cataract surgery? ›

In most people, cataracts start developing around age 60, and the average age for cataract surgery in the United States is 73. However, changes in the lenses of our eyes start to affect us in our 40's.

Can you go blind from lens replacement? ›

You may lose vision.

Some patients lose vision as a result of phakic lens implant surgery that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or another surgery. The amount of vision loss may be severe.

How painful is cataract surgery? ›

Cataract surgery is not painful. While patients are awake during surgery, there is little or no discomfort involved. A mild sedative may be administered before the surgery, which calms the nerves, and eye drops are used to numb the eye.

Do you get a free pair of glasses after cataract surgery? ›

If Your Medicare Doesn't Include DME MAC, You Can Still Get Free or Discounted Eyeglasses. In most cases where patients have a Medicare plan without a DME MAC, post-cataract glasses can still be included in your benefits — with a special authorization.

Why do I still need glasses for distance after cataract surgery? ›

Traditional IOLs are monofocal. This means that they are only able to focus clearly at one visual point. If you choose a monofocal IOL, you may see clearly at distances, but still require glasses for near vision tasks after cataract surgery.

Why can't you drink water before cataract surgery? ›

So why do you need to fast? Fasting before cataract eye surgery reduces the risk of stomach contents/acid going the wrong way down into your lungs while you are asleep. Stomach acid can cause lung damage.

What medications interfere with cataract surgery? ›

Researchers have found that medications called alpha-blockers used to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate – such as Flomax, Hytrin, Cardura and Uroxatral — can create a risk of complications during cataract surgery.

Are you sitting or lying down during cataract surgery? ›

The standard position for patients having cataract surgery is the supine position: the patients lie flat on their backs to face the operating microscope overhead.

Which lens is better monofocal or multifocal? ›

Monofocal IOLs provide the clearest vision at one distance. Multifocal intraocular lenses, meanwhile, are used to simultaneously improve near vision, intermediate vision, and distance vision.

What is the most popular cataract lens? ›

The most popular option on the survey, with 67 percent of the surgeons choosing it, is the Alcon PanOptix Trifocal (non-toric) (average number implanted per month: 2; average charge/eye: $ 2,790). The PanOptix Trifocal Toric was next, at 59 percent (average number/month: 4.7; average charge: $3,347).

Are expensive cataract lenses worth it? ›

Premium lenses not only treat cataracts but also address vision impairment problems like nearsightedness. Premium IOLs can even provide sharper vision at far distances. This means you can reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses.

What should I do before cataract surgery? ›

Before your cataract surgery:
  • Note any changes in your eye health. ...
  • Discuss your medications with the doctor. ...
  • Use the eye drops. ...
  • Do not wear contact lenses. ...
  • Wear comfortable clothes and avoid cosmetics. ...
  • Follow the doctor's advice on fasting. ...
  • Prepare for your recovery. ...
  • Ask questions.
Mar 26, 2019

How many hours is cataract surgery? ›

How long does cataract surgery take? The total process, from the time a patient enters the office to when he or she leaves, is about two and a half hours. The procedure itself typically takes less than 20 minutes.

How long does a lens replacement surgery take? ›

All forms of the surgery is carried out using anaesthetic eye drops to numb the eye. The lens replacement takes just 10-15 minutes per eye, and patients can go home the same day.

How long does traditional cataract surgery take? ›

Regardless of whether a patient chooses traditional or laser cataract surgery, the procedure typically takes approximately 10 minutes per eye. Laser cataract surgery adds a trivial amount to the process (actual laser time is about 30 seconds).

How soon after cataract surgery can I drive? ›

Most patients are able to resume driving 24 hours after cataract surgery.

Can cataract surgery be done on both eyes at the same time? ›

It is true that same-day bilateral cataract surgery can be a more attractive option to a patient. Patients can have both of their eyes taken care of in the same setting, and it saves them time and office visits. Some surgeons promote this in their practice for their premium IOL procedures.

Are you awake during lens replacement surgery? ›

The procedure itself usually lasts less than 15 minutes and is virtually painless. Typically, patients are awake during cataract surgery. This eliminates risks associated with general anesthesia (where you are “put to sleep”) and enables our doctors to communicate with you during your procedure.

Can you see immediately after lens replacement surgery? ›

After the lens replacement, your vision should be at near-normal levels. Some patients will notice vision improvements within a day. On average, eye lens replacement surgery recovery time is about two weeks.

What can you not do after lens replacement surgery? ›

Don't:
  1. do not rub your eyes.
  2. do not allow soap or shampoo to get into your eye.
  3. do not drive until you get the all-clear from your doctor.
  4. do not do any strenuous exercise or housework.
  5. do not wear eye make-up for at least 4 weeks.
  6. do not fly without seeking advice from your doctor.

What are the most common problems after cataract surgery? ›

Some immediate complications are a result of having the surgical procedure. These include discomfort, bruising and swelling of the eyelid, increased intraocular pressure, and allergic reaction to the steroid or antibiotic drop. These complications are monitored over time following surgery.

What is the best cataract surgery to have? ›

Laser-assisted cataract surgery is the latest and most advanced method of performing cataract surgery. And many ophthalmologists prefer laser cataract surgery over traditional cataract surgery as a pre-treatment to “soften” cataracts.

Should I wear my old glasses after cataract surgery? ›

Are they safe to wear? You will not harm your eyes by wearing your old glasses. However, you may prefer not wearing them since, in most cases, your vision will have improved after surgery, in particular your distance vision.

Do you need someone to stay with you after cataract surgery? ›

Immediately after cataract surgery

You will need to have a family member or friend with you to take you home. Once you get home, it is recommended that you rest your eyes and nap.

What happens if you don't wear sunglasses after cataract surgery? ›

You could even cause your cataracts to return as UV rays are one of the leading causes of cataracts. That's why doctors recommend you wearing sunglasses outside for the first year after your surgery.

Which eye is done first in cataract surgery? ›

To ensure optimal recovery and results, our Chicago eye care specialists usually wait to operate on the second eye. We want to give the first eye enough time to heal and for vision to stabilize before performing another surgery. It's a simple, common-sense precaution to ensure good vision and eye health.

Videos

1. Lens Options for Cataract Surgery and Visual Zones EXPLAINED by an MD
(Michael Chua, MD)
2. Cataract Surgery | Lens Options
(Minnesota Eye Consultants)
3. Cataract Surgery with a Multifocal Lens
(Sharp HealthCare)
4. Cataract Surgery with a Monofocal Lens
(Sharp HealthCare)
5. What to expect DURING and AFTER your cataract and premium lens replacement surgery -2022
(Shannon Wong, MD)
6. Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) and Cataract Surgery
(EyeSmart — American Academy of Ophthalmology)

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