Frequently Asked Questions

WillsEye Physicians - Rittenhouse Eye

Cataracts and Procedures

Commonly Asked Questions by Our Patients

Listed below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Cataract treatments and procedures. If you do not see your question or questions below, please feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to answer any that you may have.

What Is A Cataract?

The lens in your eye should be crystal clear. If it becomes cloudy or discolored it is called a cataract. A cataract is not a growth or tumor, Cataracts do not cause itching, redness, or discomfort in your eye. Cataracts simply decrease the brightness and clarity of your vision.

Do I Have a Cataract?

Are you having difficulty seeing green traffic lights or reading road signs? Are you less sure of yourself when you drive? Does the printing on newspapers or medicine labels seem fuzzy or blurred? Are you having trouble recognizing people across a room or trouble seeing the television clearly? Do you stumble more often and worry that you may fall and break a bone? Are you worried about becoming more dependent upon family and friends because of poor vision? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you may have a cataract.

When Should Cataract Surgery Be Performed?

Cataract surgery is advisable when the cataract begins to interfere with one’s normal activities. The development of a cataract is not, in itself an indication that surgery is required. Cataract surgery is not an emergency. After a thorough eye examination and several tests, your doctor will discuss with you the need for cataract surgery. When it is decided the time is right for cataract surgery, the operation will be scheduled and performed at your convenience. The decision to have surgery is, of course, ultimately the patient’s decision. Your doctor will patiently answer any questions you have about your cataract, and discuss your options to improve your vision and the various benefits of cataract surgery well before you, the patient, decide if cataract surgery is the right choice for you.

When Should I Do to Prepare for Surgery?

Our staff will give you instructions on what you need to do before the date of your surgery. You will need to have a full evaluation by your medical doctor as well as certain blood tests and other tests. You will also be scheduled to see your eye doctor to obtain written consent for the operation, discuss the surgery including risks and benefits in detail, and answer any last minute questions.

What Is the Surgical Procedure Like?

Most patients can now have their procedure done without staying overnight in a hospital. On the scheduled day, you will be admitted to an ambulatory surgery center or a out-patient hospital You will be given eye drops and possibly a mild sedative to help you relax. The surgery can be done under general anesthesia or more commonly local anesthesia, but either way, you should experience no discomfort during the surgery. The cataract is gently removed using an operating microscope and specialized delicate instruments.

How Quickly Will I Recover?

Recovery from modern cataract surgery is usually relatively rapid. Most patients require little or no pain medication after surgery. You will be allowed to resume many of your normal activities the day following surgery and should quickly resume all activities within the next several weeks.

Your vision will improve as your eye heals. You may be able to see quite well almost immediately, or you may need several weeks for healing. You will heal at your own rate. Once your eye has recovered, you may need glasses to fine-tune your vision.

Will I Be Able to See Without My Natural Lens?

Since cataract surgery involves the removal of the eye’s focusing lens after it has become cloudy, a replacement lens must be present to see well after surgery. Sixty years ago after cataract surgery, patients were fit with thick coke bottle like glasses or contact lenses. Today, after the cloudy cataract is removed, an intro-ocular lens (IOL) is gently placed within the eye. This IOL is designed to last a life time. You may still need glasses and even bifocals to see well unless you elect to have a premium IOL such as a Toric or Multifocal IOL inserted at the time of your cataract surgery.

Do You Use Lasers to Perform Cataract Surgery?

The answer to this question use to be ‘no’, however, today with Laser assisted cataract surgery your doctor can now offer patients the option of choosing a bladeless, computer-controlled refractive cataract laser to perform several of the most critical steps of cataract surgery. Laser assisted cataract surgery can be combined with multifocal and toric IOLs to make for a more accurate and predictable outcome.

Lasers can also be used to treat a clouding of vision that can occur after cataract surgery. A part of the lens, the capsule, is left in place during cataract surgery to support the intraocular lens implant. Months or years after the original surgery the capsule may become cloudy. This is called an after- cataract. A YAG laser can open the cloudy capsule to allow a clear path for light entering the eye, restoring sharp vision.

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Contact Info

Wills Eye Physicians
2000 Hamilton St. #306
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Located near the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Phone:  (215) 545-5001
Fax:  (215) 545-5763
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Office Hours

Monday: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Tuesday: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Wednesday: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Thursday: 10am – 6pm
Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm

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