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What You Should Know About Cataract Surgery

What You Should Know About Cataract Surgery
Linda Guerrera

Did you know that cataract surgery is not just for senior citizens? While they generally form as we age, cataracts can happen to people of all ages. In fact, you can be born with cataracts!  

If you have been having trouble with your vision and your doctor has mentioned “cataracts”, you are not alone. Cataract surgery is one of the most common eye health issues. 

Cataract Symptoms 

While there are different types of cataracts, they typically have the same symptoms. Common indications of cataracts include: 

 Symptoms of Cataract
  • Blurry vision 
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Seeing halos around lights 
  • A decrease in vision, especially at night and when it is raining 

Types of Cataracts  

There are four types of cataracts. The Mayo Clinic describes them as follows:  

  • Nuclear cataracts: Because nuclear cataracts affect the center of the lens, the first sign is typically blurry distance vision but improved reading vision. Eventually, the lens gets yellow or brown, decreasing vision and the ability to distinguish colors.    
  • Cortical cataracts: Initially, a cortical cataract starts on the edges of the eye's lens as white wedge-shaped spots or streaks. Gradually, it spreads to the lens's center and decreases vision clarity. Posterior subcapsular cataracts – affect the back of the lens.  
  • Posterior Subcapsular: These are the fastest to develop. Posterior subcapsular cataracts generally affect reading or up-close vision and cause glare and halos around lights at night.  
  • Congenital cataracts: Some cataracts are visible at birth or develop during childhood. These are known as congenital cataracts. They can be genetic or can also be caused by infection or trauma during pregnancy. Congenital cataracts don't always cause an issue with vision; however, when they grow, it is often recommended to remove them quickly.     

How To Determine If You Need Cataract Surgery  

Your ophthalmologist will help you determine your need for cataract surgery. These are the things to consider that will help you decide if cataract surgery is right for you:  

  • Severity: Cataracts can progress quickly or slowly and vary from person to person. Your eye doctor can determine the severity of your cataracts with diagnostic testing. Surgery to remove the cataracts is typically recommended if vision does not improve with glasses or contact lenses.   
  • Quality of Life: Lifestyle plays a big role in determining if cataract surgery is right for you. If cataracts are causing issues with daily tasks and interfering with the things you love to do, your doctor will most likely suggest removing your cataracts.   
  • Overall Health: Surgery to remove cataracts is generally safe. However, it is a surgery, nonetheless. Before scheduling surgery, your surgeon will most likely ask for a pre-op health check from your general practitioner. A typical pre-op appointment will involve an EKG and bloodwork to ensure you are in general good health before performing surgery.  
  • Eye Health: If you have other eye issues like glaucoma or macular degeneration, your ophthalmologist will determine if these conditions could interfere with cataract surgery.    
  • Expectations: The goal of cataract surgery is to improve your vision significantly. However, you may still need glasses. Talk to your doctor to ensure you understand the procedure's possible outcomes and what you can expect.    
  • Risks and Benefits: Every surgery carries risks and benefits, and cataract surgery is no different. While the benefits far outweigh any potential risks, following your surgeon's pre-op and post-op instructions is vital to avoid infection, swelling, and other issues that may arise.  

Cataract Surgery Recovery 

Your vision may be blurry right after cataract surgery. The Mayo Clinic states that while the eye will take 8 weeks (about 2 months) to fully heal, vision should improve within a few days. You may have some mild pain, discomfort, or itching in the surgical eye. Avoid the urge to rub. Any discomfort should disappear within the first two days. 

Your surgeon may require you to wear a protective shield over your eye during the day and while sleeping for a few days after surgery. Colors may seem brighter, and vision will become clearer. Eye drops to prevent infection, control pressure, and reduce swelling will be prescribed. Make sure you follow your surgeon’s instructions.  

Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery? 

According to Medicare.org, Part B covers pre- and post-surgery exams, and surgeon and surgical center fees. Patients are usually responsible for fulfilling any deductible and then 20% co-pay for the surgery and topical anesthesia. 

Cataract surgery is a very personal decision. Talk to your doctor about your concerns to make the right decision. They can walk you through the procedure's potential outcomes and discuss possible alternatives.  


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Linda Guerrera

Linda Guerrera

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Linda Guerrera is the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You. As an award-winning media professional, she has spent her entire career as on on-air radio personality, program director, voice-over artist ...

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