Cataract frequently asked questions (FAQs)

As with any procedure, it’s natural to have questions. Check out our list of cataract FAQs below for help finding some answers.

What causes cataracts and how can I prevent them?

There’s no real way to prevent cataracts, as they are simply a part of aging and are caused by a natural buildup of protein in your eye’s lens. Fortunately, they can be treated with a common and generally safe surgery.

My eye care provider said I have mature or advanced cataracts. What does this mean?

Mature or advanced cataracts means that your cataracts have developed to the point that your lens appears to be mostly opaque and makes things difficult to see. When you have mature or advanced cataracts you will usually require surgery.

When am I likely to develop cataracts?

People start to develop cataracts as early as their 40s, but generally don’t start to notice symptoms of their cataracts until their 60s.

Is there any way to correct my cataracts, besides surgery?

No, but you can manage some of the early symptoms of cataracts with new prescription glasses or contact lenses, and by wearing sunglasses to counteract light sensitivity until it’s time to have surgery.

When should I get my cataract surgery?

Usually, you only need to have cataract surgery when your cataracts start to affect your everyday vision. If you’re having trouble reading, watching TV, or driving, it’s time to talk to your eye care provider about next steps.

Cathy Cataracts



What will happen before I have the surgery?

Generally, a week or two before surgery, your surgeon will let you know if there are any medications you should stop taking before the surgery, and test your eyes to see what replacement lens could give you the best visual outcome.

If you have another condition that also affects how well you see, like astigmatism (where your cornea is shaped differently and causes blurred vision) or presbyopia (not being able to see close up), your surgeon may discuss a replacement lens that could treat both during your cataract surgery. Talk to your eye care provider about the best options to free yourself from your cataracts, as well as your glasses.

It’s important to note that, while your health insurance typically covers the cost of conventional surgery and a standard monofocal lens, some out-of-pocket expenses are associated with advanced-technology lenses, like an astigmatism-correcting lens or a multifocal lens. Make sure you ask your surgeon if they offer payment plans so that you can make a one-time investment to achieve better vision.

What are cataract surgery costs?

The cost of cataract surgery depends on a lot of different things, including:

• Where you live
• Your choice of doctor
• Your level of healthcare coverage
• Whether you have met your yearly deductible
• If you have a co-pay requirement

Your surgeon will work with your insurance company to find out exactly how much you will need to pay for the procedure.

Laser surgery and advanced-technology lenses (that also correct astigmatism, presbyopia, or both), are not covered by insurance or Medicare. If you choose an advanced-technology lens or have laser surgery, you will have to pay an out-of-pocket expense to your eye care provider, though many practices offer payment plans to help you with this cost.

Choosing a lens for cataract surgery is a big decision. Your new lens will change the way you see the world around you more clearly and without the interference caused by cataracts; so you’ll want to choose something that’s right for you.

Because of this, many people feel that making the extra investment for an advanced-technology lens could be well worth it for them. Make sure to talk to your surgeon about cataract surgery costs and whether you might qualify for an advanced-technology lens. Well before the procedure, the surgeon and practice staff are there to help you understand your options and choose the best lens and surgery for you.

What are my replacement lens options?

Depending on your needs, you can talk to your doctor about advanced-technology lenses that also correct cataracts and other vision issues, like astigmatism (all images are blurry), presbyopia (trouble seeing up close), or astigmatism and presbyopia at the same time.

These are often referred to as:
Toric IOLs (that correct astigmatism to help you see far away)
Multifocal IOLs (that correct presbyopia [the inability to see near] as well as provide distance [driving] and intermediate [computer] vision), and
Multifocal toric IOLs (that correct astigmatism to provide clearer distance [driving] vision and correct presbyopia for intermediate [computer] vision)

Will my choice of replacement lens make that much of a difference to my vision?

The lens that you and your doctor choose can make a big difference in your vision after surgery. If you know you have astigmatism, then an advanced-technology lens that can correct both your cataract and astigmatism may be your best option for seeing most things clearly without glasses. If you have difficulty seeing things close up due to presbyopia, there are also lenses available to help you see more clearly without relying on reading glasses as much.

Want to start learning about your surgery choices? Check out Cataract Surgery Lens Options to learn more about replacement lens options and how to talk to your surgeon about what you want out of your cataract surgery.

What other options do I have for cataract surgery?

You and your surgeon can decide on whether you want to have a bladeless laser-assisted surgery or manual surgery. Both techniques have been shown to be generally safe and successful.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is generally regarded as one of the safest surgeries you can have. Although rare, risks can include: inflammation, infection, bleeding, swelling, retinal detachment, glaucoma, secondary cataract, or loss of vision.

When will my vision return to normal?

You can generally expect your vision to begin improving within a few days.

If you wear glasses due to astigmatism and don't choose a lens that corrects astigmatism and cataracts, you will still need to wear glasses after surgery. Similarly, if you wear readers to help you see up close for presbyopia, and don't choose a multifocal lens, you'll still need to wear glasses after surgery as well. Make sure you talk to your surgeon about what to expect after surgery.

Looking to learn more about lenses? Visit Cataract Surgery Lens Options to discover the right lens for you.

Andy Astigmatism

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