If your doctor has diagnosed you with cataracts and you’re looking at who will perform the cataract surgery, the whole thing can feel overwhelming and scary. But knowledge is power. Below, you’ll find the information that can help you make empowered, informed decisions with your cataract surgeon to design the treatment plan that is right for your eyes.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts occur when the lens of your eye becomes clouded, which can impair your vision. Most cataracts occur in older people, although anyone can get them. Some cataracts don’t cause enough symptoms to require surgery, and people can manage them with prescription or reading glasses. Other cataracts, even though they are asymptomatic, still require surgery because they prevent treatment of some other eye condition. And some people are very bothered by their cataracts, which they find make it difficult to see and drive, especially at night. The only way to remove cataracts is with surgery.
How are Cataracts Treated?
Cataracts are treated with a surgery to remove the clouded, natural lens of your eye and replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens. Cataract surgery is very common, and the rate of complications is very low. Before surgery, your doctor will examine and measure your eyes and you may be prescribed eyedrops to use ahead of time. On the day of the surgery, you’ll follow your surgeon’s pre-op instructions about whether to eat or drink. Your surgeon will numb your eye with drops, and possibly give you a medication to help you relax. You’ll be awake during the surgery, although you won’t be able to see what the surgeon is doing to your eye. Once the old lens has been removed and the new lens inserted, the surgeon will give you a shield to protect your eye. After you go home, you’ll need to use eye drops and continue to use the eye shield until your eye has healed.
What Can I Expect After Cataract Surgery?
Most people see better after cataract surgery. You may notice that colors seem brighter, since a cataract can tint your vision brown or yellowish. Most of the discomfort from surgery should be gone in a couple of days, and complete healing usually takes place within eight weeks.
If you’re eligible for Medicare, it usually covers cataract surgery. Most private insurance companies cover cataract surgery as well. Both Medicare and private insurance may have requirements that your vision be tested and shown to be at a certain level before they will approve your coverage.
Choosing a Cataract Surgeon
It’s important to choose a surgeon that you’re comfortable with. Your surgeon wants you to have the best care and the best vision possible and to understand any procedure before you agree to it. Choosing to have cataract surgery in Los Angeles might require a lot of research, but it shouldn’t be frightening. Take the time to work with your surgeon and ask questions, and enjoy your healthy eyes for many years to come.