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Cataract SurgerySurgery & Recovery
Gulfcoast Eye Care is committed to improving vision and eye health for patients in the Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg area. Our board certified cataract surgeon, Dr. Michael Manning, specializes in diagnosing and treating cataracts and he is highly experienced in advanced cataract surgery techniques.
A cataract is a very common eye condition that affects over 24 million Americans. Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens hardens and becomes cloudy. This can reduce the ability of the lens to properly pass light to the retina and result in a range of visual symptoms. Cataracts frequently develop with age, but less commonly may affect younger people as a result of a congenital defect or an injury.
When cataracts first develop, symptoms may be very mild or not noticeable. However, cataracts can eventually cause blindness and vision loss if left untreated. As a cataract progresses, you will begin to notice symptoms such as:
Cataracts are typically caused by aging and are a result of the natural aging process. Some risk factors which may contribute to the development of cataracts include:
In the early stages of a cataract, symptoms are mild and you may be able to find improvement with glasses or brighter lighting. However, as symptoms inevitably progress surgery is the only option for the treatment of cataracts. Cataract removal is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States and is widely regarded to be safe and effective. During cataract surgery your eye’s natural lens is replaced with an intraocular lens implant (IOL).
Intraocular lens implants, known as IOLs, are artificial lenses that serve as replacement for the eye’s natural lens once cataracts are removed. Traditional cataract surgery with a standard IOL will reverse the effects of cataracts and restore distance vision, but patients may still need glasses for reading vision or astigmatism. Our practice offers a full range of advanced IOLs that can allow patients to see more clearly at a variety of distances without heavy reliance on corrective eyewear. For patients who would like to experience LASIK-like results and reduce or eliminate their need for glasses, advanced IOLs can correct astigmatism, presbyopia, and vision at all distances!
Cataract surgery at Gulfcoast Eye Care is performed by Dr. Manning in an outpatient surgery center. Upon arrival at the center, your eye will be numbed with anesthetic eye drops and you will be given a mild sedative to prepare for surgery. Patients are generally quite comfortable during surgery and usually feel no pain but only a pressure sensation. Your cataract surgeon will make a tiny incision to remove the cataract and will replace the diseased natural lens with a new, artificial IOL. Surgery is performed one eye at a time. The other eye may be treated as soon as 1-2 weeks later. The cataract surgery incision is self-healing and typically require no sutures.
You will need to have a friend or family member drive you home after surgery and you should plan to rest the remainder of the day. Recovery after cataract surgery typically requires minimal downtime. You will typically be advised to avoid strenuous activity and exercise for one week and avoid swimming for 2 weeks. You will be given detailed instructions for antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops, which should be used for several weeks after surgery to ensure proper healing. It is important to attend post-op appointments after surgery, the first of which will be scheduled the day after surgery, and check in with Dr. Manning with any questions. Patients often return to work after their initial post-op visit.
Research shows that over 95 percent of the more than 3 million cataract surgeries performed in the U.S. each year result in improved vision without complications. Many patients feel that their overall quality of life improves greatly after cataract surgery. However, other conditions of the eye may affect your visual outcome after surgery. For example, if you have significant glaucoma, macular degeneration, or other eye disease, then you might still have some limitation in your vision owing to these diseases. In order to understand the appropriate timing of surgery and to get a sense of the potential benefits and outcome of surgery, a comprehensive eye examination is required.
Did you know that many of the costs associated with standard cataract surgery are covered by medical insurance? Health plans vary, so check with your insurance provider to see if your plan covers a portion of cataract surgery, and to verify that Dr. Manning at Gulfcoast Eye Care is in network with your plan. Many patients opt for an advanced IOL, also known as a Lifestyle Lens, because it can offer a more significant improvement in overall vision by reducing or eliminating your need for corrective eyewear after surgery. Lifestyle Lenses are not covered by insurance, but we do offer financing options that can help you fit advanced cataract surgery in your budget. Learn more about financing for cataract surgery.
If you have noticed any cataract symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by an experienced ophthalmologist. People often delay having cataract surgery until symptoms significantly interfere with day-to-day life, but it is beneficial to have a treatment plan in place. Once your vision changes, daily tasks such as driving can become dangerous. If cataracts are beginning to make everyday activities more difficult, it may be time for cataract removal surgery. To learn if you are a candidate for cataract surgery, please contact us at Gulfcoast Eye Care to schedule a cataract consultation.
You should not feel any pain during surgery. You will be given medication to help you relax in addition to numbing eye drops. During your initial recovery period after surgery, you may experience a feeling of irritation or scratchiness in your eyes and you may have a mild headache.
General anesthesia is not needed for cataract surgery, which is a benefit to you because you can avoid the added risks associated with general anesthesia. You will be awake during the short procedure, but given medication to help you stay comfortable.
No, your surgeon will operate on one eye at a time. Once we can evaluate how your eye is healing, we will schedule your second procedure for the other eye — generally 1 to 2 weeks later.
Cataract surgery typically takes less than 15 minutes, but you should plan to be at the surgical center for up to 2 hours since we will take time to prepare you for surgery and check on your initial recovery before you go. Plan to have a friend or family member drive you to and from surgery.
At Gulfcoast Eye Care we use advanced cataract surgery techniques with a tiny incision that will not require stitches. You will not need to wear an eye patch, but we will provide an eye shield that you should wear to bed for one week after surgery to prevent any rubbing or pressure while sleeping.
Results will vary for each patient, but many people are able to see clearly enough to drive one day after surgery.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the U.S. and it has a 98% success rate.1 However, all surgical procedures carry some risk of side effects or complications. Possible side effects of cataract surgery include infection, bleeding, retinal detachment, lens dislocation, and loss of vision.2 At Gulfcoast Eye Care, we prioritize patient safety in every procedure we perform.
You should avoid any high impact activity for one week after surgery, as well as any activities that involve dust, dirt, or sand (like gardening or the beach). You should refrain from swimming for two weeks after surgery. Many patients resume golfing or other active hobbies about one week after surgery, but discuss your recovery with your doctor if you are unsure.
You can go to a hair appointment as soon as one day after surgery, but be sure to mention your eye surgery to your stylist. It is important that they do not get any hair products or water in your eyes while you are recovering.
Most patients notice an immediate improvement in night vision. You may experience some halos or starburst effects around lights at night, but these visual side effects are usually temporary.
The best IOL is the one that is right for YOU. Our eye doctors will discuss your vision, your lifestyle, and other factors to help determine which lens will best suit you. The lens that is right for you may be different than the lens that is best for your friend or family member.
No, once you receive an IOL during cataract surgery, you will not develop new cataracts. However, cataract surgery patients can develop a common condition called posterior capsular opacification, which is sometimes called a “secondary cataract” and is very easy to treat. Learn more about cloudy vision after cataract surgery.
No. Though it is possible for patients to notice some changes to their floaters when they have gone through cataract surgery, you should not expect for cataract surgery to get rid of your floaters. Learn more about floaters.
Negative dysphotopsias are a fairly common side effect of cataract surgery that can cause a crescent-shaped shadow or dark line to appear in your peripheral vision. It is not well understood why this phenomenon occurs, and it can occur in an otherwise successful surgery with any type of IOL. Fortunately, Negative dysphotopsias typically go away within a year after surgery.
IOLs are designed to be permanent and they rarely ever need to be replaced. However, they can be surgically replaced if you do need a new IOL for any reason.
We know that patients may be nervous to seek out cataract treatment, but your vision is precious and we want to help you live life with healthy eyes and clearer vision. Dr. Michael Manning is a renowned cataract surgeon and the entire team at Gulfcoast Eye Care is dedicated to compassionate care. Contact us with any questions or to schedule a consultation appointment in Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, or St. Petersburg, Florida.
1Vision Aware. American Printing House for the Blind. What Are the Risks of Cataract Surgery? Available: https://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/cataracts/risks-of-cataract-surgery/125 Accessed November 25, 2019.
2Mayo Clinic. Cataract Surgery. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cataract-surgery/about/pac-20384765 Accessed November 25, 2019.