Welcome to My Cataract Procedure, a comprehensive resource about cataract surgery developed by the surgeons at Milan Eye Center. As ophthalmologists who specialize in cataract surgery, we have created this page to answer common questions about cataracts, cataract replacement lenses, and cataract surgery.
Regardless of whether you are thinking about having cataract surgery and want to know more general information about cataracts or whether you have already scheduled your surgery and you want to know more about what to expect throughout your cataract surgery and after, you’ve come to the right place.
You can also learn about the types of replacement lenses available to you at the time of your cataract procedure. We offer all lens types: standard monofocal lenses, multifocal lenses, or accommodating lenses as well as astigmatism correcting toric lenses. You can learn about which cataract replacement lens option best fits your lifestyle needs.
Our surgeons have also included personal testimonials from patients who have been more than satisfied with their cataract procedures performed at the Milan Eye Center locations in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to their cataract surgery experience, these patients also discuss their specific cataract symptoms as well as the vivid changes in vision that they have encountered after having surgery at Milan Eye Center.
The lens of the eye is a critical structure inside the eye that allows humans to focus on objects at different distances. Composed mostly of water and protein, the human lens gradually becomes clouded as we age. Many of you may have heard the myth that a cataract is a film or veil that grows across the eye. This is actually not the case. A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye.
In addition to the natural aging process, the formation of cataracts can quicken from exposure to UV light, smoking, diabetes, eye injury, or the use of certain medications such as steroids. Although cataract development is usually a gradual process with aging, cataracts can sometimes develop rapidly. Because there is no pain associated with cataracts and your brain has a remarkable ability to adapt to diminishing vision, many people are unaware that they have a problem with their vision.
As the lens in the eye changes with age, it turns from clear to a cloudy yellowish, color. A cloudy lens can lead to blurred vision, decreased color vision, increased nearsightedness, glare, and halos around lights at night. All of these symptoms resulting from cataracts can affect daily activities including driving, watching television, or reading. Typically, the earliest symptoms of cataracts to appear are halos or glare around headlights at night. In addition, new evidence shows that cataracts can interfere with sleep patterns, mood, and alertness.
A cataract eye exam at Milan Eye Center involves a thorough examination of the eye. In addition, we measure vision, eyeglass prescription, and astigmatism. A cataract eye exam also includes dilating the eyes in order to determine if another eye condition could be responsible for any decreased vision. We use advanced imaging techniques to gather information about your eyes that helps us in determining the optimal replacement lens for you.
Cataract surgery is a quick and painless outpatient procedure that is performed at Milan Eye Center. We have state-of-the-art surgery suites to accommodate you. Using the latest technology, our surgeons can remove the cataract through an incision approximately 2.5mm in width. The procedure involves making a small incision in the cornea and removing the lens using ultrasound energy. The cataract procedure itself takes approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Rather than putting patients to sleep, topical anesthetic drops are used to keep the eye numb. The anesthetist provides medication through an IV to keep patients comfortable and relaxed, while still being awake enough to respond to any instructions during the procedure.
The eye drops are an extremely important part of cataract surgery. You will need 3 types of medications: a Steroid, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID), and an Antibiotic. You will start the eye drops 2 days before surgery, and continue using them for 4 weeks after the surgery.
LessDrops is an easy and cost-effective way to apply the eye drops. LessDrops is a compound medication manufactured by Imprimis Pharmaceuticals. This regimen has all 3 components: Steroid, NSAID, and Antibiotic combined together in one bottle. These drops are not covered by insurance, and they are $60.00 per bottle.
If you are moving forward with cataract surgery for one eye, you will need 1 bottle to complete the regimen (total of $60). If you are proceeding with cataract surgery in both eyes, you may need a total of 2 bottles to finish the treatment for both eyes (total of $120.00). If you find that the original bottles are not enough to complete the regimen, an additional bottle can be purchased from Milan Eye Center. LessDrops is the preferred method of Milan Eye Center surgeons.
The traditional way: all 3 individual medications can be sent to your local pharmacy with enough refills to get more drops for your second eye surgery, however we can’t guarantee the affordability of these drops, even though they can be processed through prescription insurance. An example of a regimen that would be sent to your pharmacy is Prednisolone Acetate, Bromfenac, and Gatifloxacin. You can check with your pharmacy to get an estimate out of pocket for these medications.
Recovery from cataract surgery is a simple process. Once the surgery is complete, patients are typically capable of resuming the majority of their normal activities within a day or two following surgery. Other than limiting strenuous activity and bending over and lifting heavy objects, patients may resume most of their routine activities in 24-48 hours. A protective shield is recommended to be worn over the eye at nighttime for a week and prescription eye drops must be used for four weeks. Within one to two days after surgery, most patients can see well enough to return to work.
For patients who don’t have health insurance, Milan Eye Center offers an affordable option for cataract surgery. While the cost of cataract surgery can depend on a range of factors including the type of cataract replacement lenses used, Milan Eye Center is able to curb the cost of the procedure for patients. In many instances, ophthalmologists partner with hospitals or other outpatient centers for operating rooms and the use of anesthetists. Having our own surgery center allows us to control the personnel, the facility, and the anesthesia used in cataract surgery and allows Milan Eye Center to offer the highest quality, affordable cataract surgery in the Atlanta metro area.
As long as the patient’s visual symptoms and testing results justify the need for cataract surgery, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of the procedure. Secondary insurance will typically cover the remaining cost of the surgery.
At Milan Eye Center, our surgeons and staff prepare patients for cataract lens replacement surgery by providing them with all pertinent information about their procedure. Before surgery, patients are given a prescription for eye drops and should use the medicated eye drops exactly as written in the pre-op plan. Patients should plan ahead for a family member or friend to drive them home following the procedure. While aspirin may continue to be taken prior to surgery, patients who take anticoagulants such as Coumadin or Plavix should talk to their primary care physician or cardiologist to determine whether the anticoagulants should be stopped prior to surgery. Patients should never stop taking anticoagulant medication on their own!
Beginning the night before the cataract procedure patients should not eat or drink anything after midnight, including water. Patients should shower the evening before surgery.
On the morning of cataract surgery, patients should not wear any contact lenses. Patients should not apply any makeup including blush, mascara, lipstick, eyeliner, or eye shadow. Patients should also avoid using any lotion on the face or chest. And for diabetic patients, no insulin or other diabetic medication should be taken before the cataract surgery.
Patients should dress comfortably with a button or zipper top and leave all jewelry and other valuables at home. Heart or blood pressure medication can be taken that morning with a small sip of water.
Any other questions about medication or before surgery plans, should be asked well before the day before surgery. Milan Eye Center physicians can answer any questions about a specific pre-procedure plan. And following the pre-op plan is the first step towards ensuring a cataract surgery procedure is successful and smooth.
Once patients arrive at the Milan Eye Center surgery center for their cataract surgery, they must check in at the front desk. Patients will then be directed to a surgical waiting room. A nurse will bring the patient back to our Pre-Op area where blood pressure will be taken and an IV will be started.
Then an anesthetist will visit with the patient in order to go over the anesthesia plan in depth. Typically, cataract patients will have IV sedation along with a local anesthetic.
However, because patients will be conscious during the procedure, it is important that they always look toward the bright operating room lights. Additionally, patients should not talk during the procedure in order to keep their head from shaking unnecessarily unless you have a pressing question or concern. For example if you have to move, cough, or sneeze during the procedure alert the doctor before doing so.
As one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures, cataract surgery is performed in ten to fifteen minutes. Once the short procedure has been completed, the patient will be taken to a post-operative area where they will be able to rest, relax, and watch television. A nurse will bring the patient’s family back to the room in order to go over the post-operative plans for care.
In order to ensure a safe and comfortable recovery, patients adhere to the Milan Eye Center post cataract surgery rules. While our Atlanta cataract surgeons will provide a specific post-surgery plan, these general guidelines should be followed unless stated otherwise by a Milan Eye Center physician.
Immediately after cataract surgery, patients should have another adult present to assist with moving around for the rest of the day. Patients should not drive or operate dangerous equipment for 24 hours after the procedure or while taking pain medication. While patients can resume a regular diet as tolerated, they should only increase activity the day after the procedure and resume all normal medication regimens only after consulting with a Milan Eye Center doctor.
Specifically, regarding the eye, patients should not bump or rub the eye, and wear eye shield should be for sleeping for one week after the cataract surgery. On the day of the surgery, the eye shield can be removed to use the scheduled, medicated eye drops. Patients should also avoid bending at the waist with the head below the waist for at least two weeks after surgery.
Finally, all follow-up appointments with the staff at Milan Eye Center should be kept and all postoperative prescription eye drops and ointments should be used exactly as directed.
Patients can expect blurry vision over the next few days following their cataract surgery. Minor discomfort should be expected and the treated eye may feel scratchy and watery once the numbness dissipates. Tylenol or Advil should be adequate for treating any pain and any discomfort should improve within a few days. Patients can obtain new glasses when their vision has stabilized after 4-6 weeks.
Patients are allowed to use their eyes for visual tasks including reading, watching television, or playing cards. These activities will not harm or affect the eye in any way. Patients may also walk, climb stairs, cook, and perform light household chores.
Any strenuous activity should not be done for two weeks after surgery, and patients should avoid bending over at the waist while lowering their head, for at least two weeks after surgery. Finally, patients should call their doctor at Milan Eye Center if they have any questions or experience any of the following:
Milan Eye Center believes all patients can have the best opportunity for successfully removing cataracts by staying informed about what to do before, during, and after cataract surgery. Feel free to review our Cataract Surgery Consent form as well.
At Milan Eye Center in Atlanta, cataract surgery involves removing the lens and implanting a new lens in its place inside the eye. Patients must select which lens option they prefer. Since this decision is complex, we feel that it is important to educate you regarding all of the available options. At the time of your visit, our knowledgeable staff will go over the replacement lens options that best fit your needs.
Another popular option is the multifocal lens. The multifocal lens allows patients to see distance as well as up close with little or no need for glasses. The rings within the multifocal lens implant have different focal points, allowing patients to see both distance and near while looking in any direction. If a patient had to wear glasses prior to cataract surgery, by choosing the multifocal lens, they can most likely eliminate the need for glasses after cataract surgery. Additionally, any astigmatism that patients may have is addressed at the time of cataract surgery to allow the multifocal lens to work optimally.
Astigmatism correcting lens is known as a toric lens. Astigmatism is when your eye is shaped a little bit more steeply in one direction than it is in the other direction. For patients who have astigmatism before cataract surgery, the toric lens implant has an inherent ability to neutralize astigmatism. By implanting a toric intraocular lens, patients can expect higher quality distance vision versus a monofocal lens and may only need glasses for reading. Many patients who have astigmatism have always had to wear glasses to focus their vision. Now, with the option of using toric lenses in cataract surgery, these patients have a life-changing opportunity to be glasses-free for distance vision.
Yet another option for your vision after cataract surgery is monovision or blended vision. Those patients who are used to wearing contact lenses with one eye corrected for near and one eye corrected for distance have the option of keeping monovision with the monofocal lens implants after removing their cataracts. With this option, a patient would be allowed to see both distance and up close with little to no need for glasses. The trade-off is that patients who choose monovision lenses would have reduced depth perception, compared to their counterparts who continue to use glasses or the multifocal lens. If a patient has never tried monovision and relies heavily on their intermediate vision, blended vision may also be an option. With blended vision, one eye would be corrected for intermediate and one eye corrected for distance. Therefore, a patient would likely only need over-the-counter readers for any up close and detailed work. It is important to note that if astigmatism is detected during your evaluation, it must be addressed for monovision or blended vision to function.
The monofocal lens implant is a lens with a single focus. Patients who choose a monofocal lens may typically receive good distance vision. While many of these patients only need reading glasses after surgery, some monofocal lens patients may need bifocal lenses to help them see objects at a distance and up close. Generally, this is because of astigmatism which can be corrected in some situations. Your surgeon can talk to you more about this. Monofocal lenses are covered by most insurance plans and Medicare as part of your cataract surgery.
At Milan Eye Center in Atlanta, we believe that your eyes are your windows to the world. Our physicians strive to see that every patient has the sharp and clear vision they desire after their cataract surgery. We invite new patients to hear and read what our patients have to say about their cataract surgery and the excellent level of care they experience at Milan Eye Center.