Some Cataract Questions

Elderly woman working on computer at home A couple months back in our Cape Fear Cataract & Cornea blog, we provided a primer on cataracts. And why not? It’s estimated that 20 million people over the age of 40 in the U.S. have cataracts. Cataract surgery replacing the clouded natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens is one of the most common and most successful surgeries performed around the world.

But that doesn’t mean everyone knows all they need to know about cataracts. After all, cataracts are also the number one cause of blindness across the globe.

So, in this springy March blog in Wilmington with the tulips and daffodils in bloom, let’s cover a few common questions about cataracts and the surgery performed by Dr. Groat to address them.

Will I need to have surgery on both eyes?

Most patients will have cataracts removed from both eyes. They may not develop at the same rate, but the conditions that cause cataracts will exist in both eyes. These are handled in two separate procedures to allow the first eye to heal before having the second procedure.

How long will my recovery be after cataract surgery?

Immediately after surgery, Dr. Groat will put you in an eye patch. Someone will need to drive you home. We will also give you a protective shield to wear when sleeping for several days. Vision is likely to be blurry at first, but rapidly improves within a few days. This is completely normal. There will be some itching and discomfort, but it is important not to rub or exert pressure on the treated eye. Heavy lifting is out, as it puts pressure on the eyes. Eye drops prevent inflammation and infection and control eye pressure.

Your normal activities can usually be resumed in a few days. Full healing should be complete in about one month. Most patients need to wear eyeglasses, at least for some tasks, after their surgery, although increasingly this can be mitigated with certain new IOL options. If both eyes have cataracts, we will schedule the second eye for surgery one or two months after the first.

Are cataracts hereditary?

No. Cataracts develop due to natural aging processes in the eyes, especially the accumulation of proteins. By age 65, it is estimated that over 90 percent of Americans have a developing cataract or have already had cataract surgery.

Can I have cataract surgery if I have had LASIK?

Laser vision correction such as LASIK and PRK correct the shape of the cornea to eliminate refractive errors. They do not affect the lenses of the eyes, which are replaced in cataract surgery. You can have LASIK when you are younger and cataract surgery when they develop at an older age.

Do you have signs of cataract development in one or both of your eyes? Please give Dr. Groat a call at Cape Fear Cataract & Cornea, (910) 769-4590, and let’s check out your eyes.

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