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Cataract Surgery FAQ

Cataracts are a part of growing older, and thankfully, cataract surgery is a relatively simple procedure. However, it's normal for patients to have a lot of questions about the treatment. For your benefit, Dr. Patrick Aiello has provided his answers to some of the questions he hears most frequently from cataract surgery patients at his Yuma, Arizona, practice.

Read on to review Dr. Aiello's answers, and if you have further questions or are ready to find out whether you are a good candidate for cataract surgery, request an appointment or call (928) 782-1980 to speak with one of our eye care professionals.

How do I know which lens implant is right for me?

Choosing the right intraocular lenses (IOLs) for you depends on a number of factors, including your lifestyle and your visual needs. During your cataract surgery consultation with Dr. Aiello or one of our other surgeons, your doctor evaluates your condition, describes all your options, and helps you make an informed choice.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for surgery?

We provide you with very detailed instructions prior to your procedure about any medications you should stop taking, whether you can wear your contacts up until your procedure, and other information. We may also give you eye drops to use in the days leading up to your cataract surgery along with specific instructions for their application.

Is the surgery or recovery painful?

During surgery, you are sedated and the eye is anesthetized, so you do not feel any pain. Afterward, you may experience some minor discomfort, which most patients tolerate easily with prescription or over-the-counter medications. More common than pain are "scratchy" feelings immediately after the anesthetic wears off, but these feelings should fade in 1 or 2 days.

Will I be awake during the surgery?

Yes. You are sedated to the point of extreme relaxation, but most patients are awake. While your surgeon removes your cataracts and places the lens implants, your eyes are gently held open. You will likely see a swirl of colors during the procedure, which usually takes about a half-hour.

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What is the recovery process like?

Recovery is typically quick, with patients resuming normal activities within 24 hours. You may have a bandage or patch over your eyes just after surgery and medications to take, and we provide instructions on their use. You should avoid rubbing your eyes and strenuous activity for about a week, but you can resume activities such as reading or looking at a computer or TV screen immediately. You will also return to our office for a follow-up appointment to check your progress.

When will my vision improve?

Although this differs from patient to patient, you will likely experience some blurriness on the day of your surgery. Most patients notice a significant improvement within 24 hours. Over the next few months, depending on which type of lens implant you get, your vision will continue to improve. You may experience minor visual disturbances such as halos or glare during this time.

Will the implants ever need to be replaced?

Intraocular lenses are very durable and rarely need to be replaced.

Will I still need glasses or contacts after surgery?

It's possible. This largely depends on what type of IOL you choose and your vision conditions. We offer multifocal lens implants and those designed for astigmatism, so most of our patients find they have vastly improved vision after surgery and do not require further correction. Some patients will still require glasses for reading or for distance.

What are the risks and complications?

Complications are very unlikely with cataract surgery, which is one of the safest procedures available. Rare complications include inflammation, infection, changes in eye pressure, and retinal detachment. All these risks are extremely unlikely, especially in the hands of qualified surgeons such as those at Aiello Eye Institute.

Does insurance cover cataract surgery?

Medicare and most private insurers cover at least part of cataract surgery. Some insurers cover only certain types of IOLs. We work with each patient to navigate the insurance process, and we can discuss other financing options if necessary.

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