Healthcare Library

Spanish Version
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Cataracts - what to ask your doctor

What to ask your doctor about cataracts; Lens implants - what to ask your doctor

You are having a procedure to remove a cataract. A cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and starts to block vision. Removing the cataract can help improve your vision.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your eye after surgery.

Questions

What is a cataract?

How will cataract surgery help my vision?

  • If I have cataracts in both eyes, can I have surgery on both eyes at the same time?
  • How long after surgery before I notice my vision is better?
  • Will I still need glasses after surgery? For distance? For reading?

How do I get ready for surgery?

  • When do I need to stop eating and drinking before surgery?
  • Should I have a checkup with my regular provider before surgery?
  • Do I need to stop taking or change any of my medicines?
  • What else do I need to bring with me on the day of surgery?

What happens during cataract surgery?

  • How long will the surgery take?
  • What type of anesthesia will I have? Will I feel any pain during the surgery?
  • How do the doctors make sure I won't move during cataract surgery?
  • Is the cataract removed with a laser?
  • Will I need a lens implant?
  • Are there different types of lens implants?
  • What are the risks of cataract surgery?

What happens after cataract surgery?

  • Will I have to spend the night in the hospital? How long will I need to spend at the surgical center?
  • Will I have to wear an eye patch?
  • Will I need to take eye drops?
  • Can I shower or bathe at home?
  • What activities can I do while I recover? When will I be able to drive? When can I be sexually active?
  • Do I need to see the doctor for a follow-up visit? If so, when?

References

Crouch ER, Crouch ER, Grant TR. Ophthmalogy. In: Rakel RE, Rakel DP, eds. Textbook of Family Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 17.

Howes FW. Patient workup for cataract surgery. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 5.4.

Wevill M. Epidemioloy, pathophysiology, causes, morphology, and visual effects of cataract. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 5.3.

    • Cataracts

      Animation

    •  

      Cataracts - Animation

      Many of us take for granted that, when we open our eyes each morning, we'll have a pretty clear view of the world. But as we get older, we often have trouble seeing as well as we used to. By the time you're 75, there's a pretty good chance you'll develop cataracts. Having cataracts is kind of like seeing through a blurry, hazy cloud. Let's talk today about cataracts. Normally the lens of your eye is clear. It works much like the lens on a camera. When light hits the lens, it focuses an image on the back of your eye. Until a person is around age 45, the shape of the lens is able to change. This allows the lens to focus on an object, whether it is close or far away. As we age, proteins in the lens begin to break down and the lens then becomes cloudy. A cataract is like having a cloud pass over your lens. Only, that cloud never moves on. Cataracts are common after the age of 60. But some people are more likely than others to get them than others; including those with diabetes, and people who smoke or who had surgery for another eye problem. You're also more likely to get cataracts if you don't wear sunglasses outside and your eyes are exposed to a lot of damaging ultraviolet light from the sun. People with a family history of cataracts are also at greater risk. And, sometimes, doctors can't even find any cause for them. When you have a cataract, the world looks blurry or fuzzy. You have trouble making out shapes, and colors aren't as rich as usual. You may not notice much of a change in your vision at first. For minor vision loss, you can compensate by changing your eyeglass prescription and using brighter lights to read or work. But eventually, the cataract will block more and more of your sight. And then you'll need surgery to have it removed and replaced your lens with a nice new artificial one. Often cataract surgery can restore 20/20 vision, especially in people who don't have other eye diseases. You may be able to live with your cataracts; at least, for a while. Even if your vision isn't bothering you however, keep in touch with your eye doctor. Letting a cataract go for too long can lead to other problems, including a certain type of glaucoma. If you can't see as well as you used to, get an eye exam. To protect your eyes, treat diseases like diabetes, which can cause cataracts. And always wear a good pair of sunglasses outside to shield your eyes from the ultraviolet damage from the sun.

    • Cataract

      Cataract - illustration

      The lens of an eye is normally clear. If the lens becomes cloudy (opacified) it is called a cataract.

      Cataract

      illustration

    • Cataracts

      Animation

    •  

      Cataracts - Animation

      Many of us take for granted that, when we open our eyes each morning, we'll have a pretty clear view of the world. But as we get older, we often have trouble seeing as well as we used to. By the time you're 75, there's a pretty good chance you'll develop cataracts. Having cataracts is kind of like seeing through a blurry, hazy cloud. Let's talk today about cataracts. Normally the lens of your eye is clear. It works much like the lens on a camera. When light hits the lens, it focuses an image on the back of your eye. Until a person is around age 45, the shape of the lens is able to change. This allows the lens to focus on an object, whether it is close or far away. As we age, proteins in the lens begin to break down and the lens then becomes cloudy. A cataract is like having a cloud pass over your lens. Only, that cloud never moves on. Cataracts are common after the age of 60. But some people are more likely than others to get them than others; including those with diabetes, and people who smoke or who had surgery for another eye problem. You're also more likely to get cataracts if you don't wear sunglasses outside and your eyes are exposed to a lot of damaging ultraviolet light from the sun. People with a family history of cataracts are also at greater risk. And, sometimes, doctors can't even find any cause for them. When you have a cataract, the world looks blurry or fuzzy. You have trouble making out shapes, and colors aren't as rich as usual. You may not notice much of a change in your vision at first. For minor vision loss, you can compensate by changing your eyeglass prescription and using brighter lights to read or work. But eventually, the cataract will block more and more of your sight. And then you'll need surgery to have it removed and replaced your lens with a nice new artificial one. Often cataract surgery can restore 20/20 vision, especially in people who don't have other eye diseases. You may be able to live with your cataracts; at least, for a while. Even if your vision isn't bothering you however, keep in touch with your eye doctor. Letting a cataract go for too long can lead to other problems, including a certain type of glaucoma. If you can't see as well as you used to, get an eye exam. To protect your eyes, treat diseases like diabetes, which can cause cataracts. And always wear a good pair of sunglasses outside to shield your eyes from the ultraviolet damage from the sun.

    • Cataract

      Cataract - illustration

      The lens of an eye is normally clear. If the lens becomes cloudy (opacified) it is called a cataract.

      Cataract

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     

    Self Care

     

    Tests for Cataracts - what to ask your doctor

     

    Review Date: 9/30/2018

    Reviewed By: Audrey Tai, DO, MS, Assistant Clinical Professor (Voluntary), University of California - Irvine, Irvine, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
    adam.com

     
     
     

     

     

    A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.
    Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.

    ways to give

    view all

    news room

    view all

    healthcare library

    view all
    Event Calendar

    Hunterdon Healthcare offers an array of educational events, including childbirth, healthy living and fitness classes.

    LEARN MORE
    Health and Wellness Centers

    Where health and fitness meet to help you stay healthy at every age.

    LEARN MORE
    Heart & Vascular

    Heart and Vascular Services Department brings world-class cardiovascular care to our community.

    LEARN MORE