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Cataracts - what to ask your doctor

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

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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.

Wevill M. Epidemioloy, pathophysiology, causes, morphology, and visual effects of cataract. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 5.17.

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      Review Date: 12/19/2016

      Reviewed By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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