Frequently Asked Questions About Cataract Surgery

Cataract Symptoms, Risks and Benefits, Recovery Time, and More

What are cataract symptoms? How long is cataract surgery recovery? How much does cataract surgery cost? What does insurance pay for cataract surgery? Can you get cataracts again? Which IOL should I choose?
If you have been researching the dizzying array of cataract information available today, you may be feeling overwhelmed! Hopefully, you will find answers to your questions below to ease your concerns about your upcoming cataract surgery. If you still have questions or concerns, please call our Cape Girardeau office or Poplar Bluff office to speak to a technician.

“My cataract surgery has changed my life dramatically! I’ve had to wear strong glasses for over 48 years of my life. Now, no glasses! I have my sight back thanks to Dr. Lumsden.”

-Josie

“I love Eye Care Specialists and Dr. Parker. I had cataracts and was legally blind in one eye. I now have 20/20 and 20/25. I can see again. Thanks Dr. Parker!!”

-Brenda S.

“Just wanted to give Dr. Kinder and his staff, a sincere thank you for my recent two cataract surgeries, from the friendliness of the staff to the professionalism shown by all. I thank you for my much-improved vision.”

-Don

“Dr. Kies and his staff provided me with excellent service. After cataract surgery with a multi-focal implant, I was able to see clearly without glasses for the first time in 30 years.”

-Paul

Cataract Surgery FAQ

Can you get cataracts again?

You may have heard the term “secondary cataract” or “after-cataract” and begin experiencing cataract symptoms similar to before surgery. Once your natural lens is replaced with an IOL, the new intraocular lens will not develop a cataract like your natural lens. Although it’s not technically a “cataract”, a secondary or after-cataract occurs when the capsule holding the IOL becomes cloudy. This is called posterior capsule opacification (PCO) and can develop months or even years after your cataract surgery.

There is no reason for alarm. PCO is very common and can affect up to 50 percent of post-cataract patients9 and can be treated with a simple, painless, in-office procedure using a YAG laser to restore your vision.

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What are the risks and potential side effects of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is very safe. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), cataract surgery has an overall success rate of more than 98 percent making it one of the most successful surgeries performed today.8

Following the care instructions of your surgeon is the best way to ensure a successful surgery with excellent outcomes. Some normal conditions you may experience 1-2 days after cataract surgery include:

  • Mild discomfort, soreness or scratchiness
  • Mild light sensitivity
  • Varying degrees of redness
  • Mild blurring of your vision
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Mild discharge
  • Flickering of light or a shadow in the peripheral vision

Complications with cataract surgery are rare but if you experience following, call our office immediately:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Inflammation (pain, redness, swelling)
  • Loss of vision
  • Double Vision
  • Change in eye pressure

If you notice your vision returning to how it was before your cataract surgery months or even years later, you may have posterior capsule opacification (PCO). PCO can cause cataract symptoms and is sometimes referred to as a “secondary cataract” or “after-cataract.” PCO occurs when the lens capsule becomes cloudy. Vision can be restored with a simple, painless, in-office YAG laser treatment. (see above, “Can you get cataracts again?”

How will my eyes feel after surgery?

You will likely experience some of the following conditions the first couple days to one week after surgery

  • Mild discomfort, soreness or scratchiness
  • Varying degrees of redness
  • Mild light sensitivity (light may seem very bright to both eyes)
  • Mild blurring of your vision
  • Drooping of the eyelid
  • Mild discharge (if excessive, call your dr)
  • Flickering of light or a shadow in your peripheral vision

Rare but more serious conditions include:

  • Sudden or nauseating pain in or around the eye that lasts for several hours and is not relieved by Tylenol or pain that continues to get worse
  • A sudden, significant decrease or clouding of vision or loss of sight
  • Part of your vision is missing or a curtain or shade comes over your vision with or without pain
  • Onset of new flashes of light or floaters

If you experience these symptoms, call our office immediately. (Locations and phone numbers are listed in the footer below.)

Is cataract surgery covered by insurance?

Cataract surgery with a standard, monofocal IOL is covered by insurance and Medicare and is applicable to your deductible. If you elect to upgrade to a premium IOL (toric, multifocal, extended depth of focus, and accommodating), the additional cost for the lens and surgical fee will be out of pocket.

Please note, the out-of-pocket fees listed below are approximate and may vary depending on the surgery center:

  • Toric IOL: $1000 per eye
  • Multifocal IOL: $2000 per eye
  • Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) IOL: $2000 per eye
  • Accommodating IOL: $1600 per eye
If I choose a premium IOL, how much extra does it cost?

If you qualify for a premium IOL, the most up-to-date pricing is included on your elective upgrade consent form. Typically, the following fees apply:

  • Toric IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $500 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Toric IOL: $400 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
  • Multifocal IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $1000 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Multifocal IOL: $850 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
  • Toric Multifocal IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $1000 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Toric Multifocal IOL: $850 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
  • Accommodative IOL
    • Surgeon’s fee and associated care: $500 due prior to surgery to Eye Care Specialists
    • Accommodative IOL: $1100 due the day of surgery to the surgery center
Why do some people need glasses after cataract surgery and others do not?

Not everyone is a candidate for a premium IOL. Not everyone who is a candidate for a premium IOL, elects to incur the extra out-of-pocket costs associated with the more advanced technology lens. Depending on your prescription and the IOL you choose, you can lessen your dependence on glasses. Your surgeon will help you determine which IOL options best fit your prescription, lifestyle, and budget.

What is cause for concern after cataract surgery?

You should call the office immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Sudden or nauseating pain in or around the eye that lasts for several hours and is not relieved by Tylenol or pain that continues to get worse
  • A sudden, significant decrease or clouding of vision or loss of sight
  • Part of your vision is missing or a curtain or shade comes over your vision with or without pain
  • Onset of new flashes of light or floaters
  • Bleeding around the eye

If you have any questions or concerns, contact our office:

Dr. Parker: 573.335.3577

Dr. Stuckenschneider: 573.686.5579

Drs. Lumsden, Kinder, and Kies: 573.334.5265

Will cataracts correct issues with my night vision?

Cataracts can cause a loss of contrast in dim lighting, glare, and difficulty seeing at night. Surgery should alleviate these issues if they are due to the cataract. However, nighttime glare and halos around lights are possible with a multifocal IOL.

If I have a cataract, why do I have to wait to remove it?

Although there are great benefits to cataract surgery, it is still a surgical procedure and with all surgical procedures there are risks. In addition, insurance sometimes requires the cataract be at a specified stage to where the cataract symptoms are hindering your activities before it can be removed. The best time to have cataract surgery is when the cataract is interfering with your vision to the point it is affecting your daily activities and lifestyle.

Some facilities perform what is called clear lens extraction. This procedure is essentially cataract surgery without the cataract. When someone is not a candidate for LASIK, they may opt to have their healthy, natural lens replaced by an IOL to make them less dependent on glasses and contacts. The doctors at Eye Care Specialists do not perform clear lens extraction. They do not feel a patient should undergo surgery to remove a perfectly healthy lens.

What are cataract symptoms?

It is possible to have a cataract and not have any noticeable vision problems. Some common cataract symptoms include:

  • Dim vision or faded colors
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Increased glare or halos around lights
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Not being able to get the right glasses prescription
What options are available for cataract treatment?

There are no drops, injections, or medications that treat cataracts. Sometimes updating your contacts or glasses prescription can help your vision but the only true solution to correct a cataract is to replace the clouded lens with an intraocular lens implant. If you do not remove the cataract, your cataract symptoms will worsen as the lens continues to become more cloudy and vision continues to decrease. Eventually changes in prescription will no longer help clear your vision.

When is it time to have cataract surgery?

Regular eye exams with your optometrist will follow the progression of your cataract. Be sure to communicate any cataract symptoms with your eye doctor any changes in your vision and effects these changes have on your daily activities and lifestyle. When changes in your contacts and glasses prescription no longer help, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist, an eye M.D., for surgery.

The surgeon will conduct a pre-operative exam and detailed measurements, perform the surgery, then you can follow-up with your regular eye doctor for your post-operative care. Eye Care Specialists works closely many optometrists in the tri-state area.

Insurance may also play a factor in when you can have cataract surgery. Medicare and some insurance companies require cataract surgery to be “medically necessary” which they deem as your best corrected vision is 20/40 or worse. This means if you can still get glasses and contacts that allow you to see 20/20, you will have to wait to have the cataract removed.

Can I have cataract surgery after LASIK?

You can have cataract surgery after LASIK. Be sure to share with your surgeon any information you have from your LASIK procedure.

Dr. Parker provides a “manifest label” for your medical records after LASIK. This label shows what your prescription and measurements were prior to LASIK which can be helpful to your surgeon when choosing your IOL.

LASIK Measurements

Can I have LASIK after cataract surgery?

Occasionally the IOL implanted during your cataract surgery may not clear your vision as well as anticipated. In this instance, it is possible to perform LASIK to make minor adjustments to your vision after cataract surgery.

Can cataract surgery correct my astigmatism?

If you have an astigmatism, you could possibly qualify for a toric lifestyle lens to corrects your astigmatism. This IOL would allow you to be less dependent on your distance glasses after surgery but you may still need reading glasses. Toric IOLs are considered an elective upgrade and incur out-of-pocket fees as these lenses are not covered by insurance and Medicare.

Do I need a referral for a cataract consultation?

If you are having cataract symptoms and would like to be evaluated for cataracts, you do not need a referral from your regular eye doctor. Eye Care Specialists has a large referral network of optometrists we work closely with so you will have the option to follow-up with an optometrist or see your surgeon for your post-operative care following surgery.

Simply call the doctor or location you prefer to schedule a consultation:

  • Shawn Parker, MD, FACS
  • Cape Girardeau, Mo. and Marion, Ill. • 800-455-3937
  • Brad Stuckenschneider, MD, FACS
  • Poplar Bluff, Mo. and Piedmont, Mo. • 573-686-5579
  • Todd Lumsden, DO, FAOCO
  • Cape Girardeau, Mo. and Perryville, Mo. • 800-333-1568
  • John Kinder, MD, FACS
  • Cape Girardeau, Mo. and Dexter, Mo. • 800-333-1568
  • Richard Kies, MD, FACS
  • Cape Girardeau, Mo. • 800-333-1568
Can I have cataract surgery if I have glaucoma?

It is possible to have cataract surgery if you have glaucoma. Your doctor will advise you on your options and provide instructions for your glaucoma medications before and after surgery.

Cataract Surgery Details

Cataract surgery is a quick, painless, outpatient procedure and typically lasts 20-30 minutes.

  • You will start using prescription drops 2 days BEFORE surgery
  • Surgery is performed one eye at a time with about two weeks between procedures
  • You are awake but you will receive a sedative and will not feel any pain
  • A small incision is made, usually no sutures are required
  • You will need a driver the day of and day after your surgery
  • Recovery is quick; you are back to most activities the next day to one week but will use prescription drops for one month

Written By: Kimberley Bader, Director of Patient and Professional Relations
Last Updated: June 19, 2018

SOURCES / REFERENCES:

1,† “Cataract surgery: replacing your cloudy lens.” Alcon, a Novartis Division, Web. Accessed April 3, 2017.
2,^ “Common Eye Disorders – Cataract.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Web. Sep 2015. Accessed April 3, 2017.
3 “Facts About Cataract – Is cataract surgery effective?” National Eye Institute, Web. Sep 2015. Accessed April 3, 2017.
4 “What Are Cataracts? – Types of Cataracts” Alcon, a Novartis Division, Web. Accessed March 28, 2017
5 “Eye Health Information: Cataract” National Eye Institute (NEI), Web. Accessed April 3, 2017

6 “Treating Cataracts with Surgery – Understanding the Surgery” Alcon, a Novartis Division, Web. Accessed April 3, 2017.
7 “Wilmer Eye Institute: Cataracts FAQ – Prognosis” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Web. Accessed April 3, 2017.
8,~ “My Cataract Journey – Potential Risks and Complications” All About Vision, Web. Accessed March 28, 2017.
9 “Cataract Surgery: What is a secondary cataract.” American Optometric Association (AOA), Web. Accessed March 28, 2017.

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