Cataract Surgery

Over fifty percent of people over the age of 60 (and quite a few younger than that) have cataracts. Currently there is no medical treatment to reverse or prevent the development of cataracts. Once they form, the only way to see clearly again is to have them removed from the eye. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and successful medical procedures performed. It is performed on an outpatient basis and takes only a few minutes.

Cataract surgery is for those who:

  • Have been diagnosed with cataracts.
  • Believe that their quality of life has been impaired by poor vision.
  • Have no health issues affecting their eyes that would increase the risk of surgery.

The decision to have cataract surgery is an important one that only you can make. After a thorough eye exam and health history, you and your doctor will determine if cataract surgery is an option for you. You will be given additional information about the procedure that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. Be sure you have all your questions answered to your satisfaction.

TORIC Implants: The ACRYSOF® Toric lens is a single pieced toric intraocular lens. This lens is made of the same acrylic (plastic) material that is used in some intraocular lenses currently implanted. This intraocular lens is designed to be implanted in your eye when your natural lens is removed during cataract surgery.

An astigmatism is an optical defect on the surface of your cornea (clear front surface of your eye). This astigmatism causes blurred vision that can be corrected after cataract surgery with the use of glasses or contact lenses. The toric intraocular lens is designed to not only replace your natural lens during cataract surgery but also to lessen some of the effects of the astigmatism on your vision. This may increase the likelihood that you can function without glasses after surgery.

On Surgery Day:

You will arrive at the surgery center about an hour and a half before your procedure. Once you have been checked in you will be given a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for surgery.

The area around your eyes will be cleaned, and a sterile drape may be applied around your eye.

Eye drops will be used to numb your eyes. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.

A very small incision will be made and a tiny ultrasonic probe will be used to break up the cataract into microscopic particles using high-energy sound waves. This is called phacoemulsification. The cataract particles will be gently suctioned away.

Then, a folded intraocular lens (IOL) will be inserted through the micro-incision, then unfolded and locked into permanent position. The small incision is "self-sealing" and usually requires no stitches. It remains tightly closed by the natural outward pressure within the eye. This type of incision heals fast and provides a much more comfortable recuperation.

Routine cataract surgery requires no needles near the eye, no stitches, and the eye is not patched afterwards. You will go home soon after the surgery and relax for the rest of the day.

Everyone heals somewhat differently, but many patients report improvement in their vision almost immediately after the procedure. Most patients return to their normal activities within a day or two.

Possible Outcomes
Following cataract surgery, many patients experience vision that is actually better than before they developed cataracts. Serious complications with cataract surgery are rare. It is a low risk, effective and permanent procedure, but like any surgical procedure, it does have some risks. Going to an eye specialist experienced with the procedure can significantly minimize the risks involved with cataract surgery.

Once removed, cataracts cannot grow back, but some patients may experience clouding of a thin tissue, called the capsular bag, that holds the intra-ocular lens. In most cases, a laser is used to painlessly open the clouded capsule and restore clear vision with a procedure called a capsulotomy.

The goal of any vision restoration procedure is to improve your vision. However, we cannot guarantee you will have the results you desire.

For more information regarding this procedure, please call our main office at: 607-257-5599.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How painful is recovery?
    Recovery is usually painless. Most patients report a mild to moderate "scratchy" sensation following the surgery. This is treatable with lubricating eye drops. Occasionally, patients will report a mild to moderate ache in or around the eye for a day or two after surgery.
  • Will I miss work or have to restrict my activity?
    Very Little. Plan on taking off the whole day of surgery. Many people are feeling and seeing well enough to get back to their normal routine the very next day. Exercise, lifting, and bending over are usually OK.
  • How long until I can see?
    Most patients report a significant improvement in vision within a few days. Your vision will be blurry right after surgery because you will be given dilating drops that last for a few days. Rarely, after routine cataract surgery, things may be slower, taking up to a few weeks to fully recover vision and notice improvement.
  • Will I still need glasses?
    Yes. The crystal clear lens implant that replaces your cataract can be focused at only one range of focus. The goal of cataract surgery is to restore correctable vision with glasses. You should expect to need glasses after surgery, but likely a significantly weaker prescription. While our doctors’ skills and advanced technology help them offer the fringe benefit of improved vision without glasses, you will definitely need glasses for some (if not most) of the things you do.