1. Cataracts Are a Natural Part of Aging

Everyone who lives long enough will get cataracts. But it’s like the graying of your hair, it’ll happen at different times for different people. Some people may have cataracts at a relatively young age (40s and 50s). Others might not notice them until much later in life (80s and 90s).

2. Cataracts Aren’t a Film That Covers Your Eye

Cataracts affect the lens of the eye. Cataracts are a yellowing and clouding of the human lens. This clouding dims vision. When you look at someone’s eye you can see the very center of the lens through the pupil, which sits about a quarter of the way towards the back of the eye. Young people have clear lenses, so you can’t see the lens without magnification.

The Lens of the eye is made of protein which changes and breaks down slowly over many years. As that happens, the lens becomes cloudy, which dims vision. As that occurs it becomes easier to see the cloudy lens (cataract) as you look a person in the eye. The lens will become more visible to the naked eye as the cataract forms. In advanced cataracts, the pupil may even look white.

3. Cataracts Symptoms are Easy to Spot

Cataracts limit how much light passes into the eye, which dims the vision and creates a variety of symptoms you should look for. These include:

  • Feeling like you need more light to see or read.
  • Being unable to see details well, particularly at night.
  • The way you see colors starts to change. They’ll look dim and washed out. They lose a lot of vibrancy.
  • Headlight glare from oncoming cars at night may make it difficult to drive.

4. Cataract Surgery is Safe

Cataract surgery is not only safe, but it might also even restore your vision to better than you ever remember it. Many patients tell us they wish they would have done it sooner. Generally, after a person has had cataract surgery in one eye, they become impatient to get the second eye done since one eye now sees so well.

Surgery consists of implanting an artificial plastic lens inside the eye. The implanted lens is calculated to match your eye so that minimal vision correction is needed after surgery. After the surgery, which only takes a few minutes, you’ll be prescribed anti-inflammatory eye drops and antibiotic eye drops to help you recover.

Frequently Asked Cataract Questions

We've gathered a few questions we get on the topic regularly. Despite what you'll read here, always consult with your eye doctor before any surgery.

Cataract Questions

  • How long does cataract surgery take?

    Without complications, cataract surgery takes 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll then recover for about 30 to 60 minutes from the anesthesia.

  • How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

    You should be able to return to most normal activities within a day or two of cataract surgery. Some patients report clear vision within a few hours.

  • How long after the first cataract surgery until I can have my second one?

    Usually, you can have your second cataract surgery within one month (assuming a second surgery is needed.). Your surgeon will want to make sure everything is going well with the first eye before he operates on the second eye. Your doctor will let you know when you’ve recovered enough for the second surgery.

  • Is cataract surgery painful?

    Cataract surgery isn’t especially painful, but you may get an anesthetic shot below the eye before you begin.

  • How much does cataract surgery cost?

    On average, cataract surgery costs $5,000 per eye. But it might go as high as $10,000 in some places. Most insurance covers the procedure.

  • Can cataract surgery make me go blind?

    If you have a board-certified and competent doctor, it shouldn’t make you go blind. Quite the opposite, you’ll see clearly once again.

  • How do I keep from getting cataracts?

    You can’t keep from getting cataracts since it’s a process of aging. But you might be able to slow down the process by eating right, keeping your eyes shaded from UV light (the sun – wear sunglasses), and don’t smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol in moderation – or not at all. You should also get regular vision exams at least once a year.