A cataract is a very common eye condition that produces a progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Without treatment, cataracts can eventually cause permanent blindness. Fortunately, advanced cataract surgery can remove the cataract and replace the eye’s natural lens with a lens implant, ultimately saving one’s vision and often producing results that achieve better focus, as well as better vision, than they had before. Our eye doctors offer state-of-the-art cataract surgery procedures that can reduce this significant effect on your vision and enhance your eyesight.
- What is Cataract Surgery?
- Lens Replacement Options
- Cataract Surgery Procedure
- Cataract Surgery Recovery
- Cataract Surgery Cost
What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is the only treatment available to successfully address cataracts and prevent them from causing further vision loss. The procedure removes the clouded part of the eye's natural lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). This technique can also serve to prevent cataracts from ever developing again in the future. Cataract surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis using a topical anesthetic—general anesthesia is not often required for this treatment.
Cataracts affect most individuals at some point in their lives. The condition typically begins to develop when an individual is in their 40s or 50s; however, in many cases, cataracts may not start presenting severe symptoms until a person is in their 70s or 80s. While these age ranges are the most typical, it is not unheard of for a cataract to develop at virtually any age. Some of the more common symptoms of cataracts often include blurry or “cloudy” vision, light sensitivity, glare, distortion of colors, double-vision, problems seeing at night, a “halo” effect in certain lighting conditions, and progressive deterioration of vision. If a cataract remains undiagnosed and untreated, vision can degrade to such an extent that an individual may go functionally blind.
There are currently no alternatives to cataract surgery for patients who are diagnosed with cataracts. With this in mind, it is important to note that this surgery is very common, and our eye surgeons are extensively trained and experienced with cataract surgery and lens replacement procedures. We will be happy to answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have.
What are My Lens Replacement Options?
There are numerous lens implant options available for patients who undergo cataract surgery. Once the eye’s natural lens is replaced during cataract surgery, many patients are able to reduce their dependence on corrective eyewear following the procedure. Our doctors here at Gimbel Eye Centre will advise you on the intraocular lens implant that is most ideal for your needs. Lens replacement options include:
- Monofocal IOLs – Can only target one distance (near or far)
- Monofocal Toric IOLs – Far-Distance Vision and Astigmatism
- Multifocal IOLs – Vision at Near, Intermediate, and Far Distances
- Multifocal Toric IOLs – Vision at a Range of Distances and Astigmatism
You can learn more about our lens replacement options on our Intraocular Lenses (IOL) page.
What Does the Cataract Surgery Procedure Involve?
In most cases, patients who have cataracts in both eyes will be treated one eye at a time, with the second procedure taking place a week or two after the first procedure. Cataract surgery begins with the application of a topical anesthetic to the eye. This will serve to minimize any potential discomfort. Our eye surgeon will make a very precise incision and utilize advanced instrumentation to carefully break up the cataract and extract it along with the eye’s natural lens. The intraocular lens implant will then be delicately placed, and an antibiotic solution will be applied around the new lens to reduce the potential for infection. For most cataract surgery procedures, the incisions should seal on their own, which eliminates the need for stitches.
Although the exact length of time varies, most cataract surgeries take only about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
What Can I Expect During Cataract Surgery Recovery?
Since cataract surgery is most frequently performed as an outpatient, there is no need for an overnight hospital stay and patients can return home immediately following the procedure. Some irritation, redness, or mild bruising around the eyes can be expected after surgery; however, these effects should quickly dissipate over the next few days. The exact nature of the recovery process often varies from one patient to another, but most individuals are able to resume normal daily routines within one week—some may only need one to two days of recovery before resuming their regular activities. Our doctor will prescribe medicinal eye drops to be used for about three weeks after cataract surgery, and we will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.
How Much Does Cataract Surgery Cost?
The cost of cataract surgery is typically covered under provincial health plans. Patients with a valid Alberta Health Care card should have the entire cataract surgery procedure covered under their plan, including doctor’s fees and the price of a high-quality, standard monofocal lens implant. An upgraded or premium lens implant will incur an extra fee, and the cost of post-surgical eye drops are typically not covered; however, individuals with a drug plan may have some degree of coverage for medicinal eye drops.
Once your cataract surgery treatment plan is developed, a member of our team will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have about the cost of this procedure. For patients who do not have insurance, our practice accepts a variety of convenient payment methods, including third-party cataract surgery financing through Medicard®. Gimbel Eye Centre is firmly committed to the belief that all individuals should have access to high-quality eye care and, if you don't have insurance, we can work with you to find a way to pay for your cataract surgery that is best for your budget.
To learn more about cataract surgery, please contact us today.