Although you’re probably not looking forward to cataract surgery, keep in mind that modern cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgeries performed today. There are over three million cataract surgeries in the United States every year and the vast majority have excellent outcomes which greatly improve quality of life.
Being prepared for your upcoming surgery by knowing what to ask your eye doctor and understanding your options will ease your mind and be sure you’re ready for recovery.
First, you’ll need an ophthalmologist to perform cataract surgery. Ophthalmologists treat eye diseases, prescribe medications, and perform surgeries to improve eye and vision-related conditions. In addition to four years of medical school and one year of internship, all ophthalmologists have three years of residency. Here are some ways to identify the best provider for your needs:
Your Regular Eye Doctor – Even if your eye doctor is an optometrist, he/she will be knowledgeable about ophthalmologists in the region and can advise on their specialties.
Family and Friends – If they had a positive experience, you can hear personal stories to really know if the doctor is right for you.
Go Online – Find eye surgeons in your area by using the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Find an Ophthalmologist tool.
Once you find the right doctor, you’ll have a consultation before proceeding. You'll undergo a comprehensive eye exam and a preoperative exam to determine the level of correction needed and confirm you're healthy enough for surgery.
Your doctor will also need to take measurements of your eyes before the procedure. This will determine the curvature of your cornea and the length of your eye. They need this information to choose the right size and power of the intraocular lens (IOL). This artificial lens will replace the cloudy lens inside your eye.
There are a variety of IOLs with different features available. Before surgery, you and your eye surgeon will discuss which type might work best for you and your lifestyle but bear in mind that insurance companies may not pay for all types of lenses. Some of the types of lenses available include: