The decision to have cataract surgery is an important one. Having an experienced surgeon who will communicate current options, risks and benefits is vital. Combined, Dr. Kresie and Dr. Penzler have been performing cataract surgeries for over 50 years and make every effort to keep the patient’s best interests the priority.

What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. The lens focuses light rays on the retina – the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of the eye-to produce a sharp image of what we see. When the lens becomes cloudy, light rays cannot pass through it easily, and vision is blurred.

What causes cataracts?
Cataracts are a normal process of aging, but they can also develop from eye injuries, certain diseases, or medications. Your family history may also play a role in cataract development.

How can cataracts be treated?
A cataract may not need to be treated if your vision is only slightly blurry. Simply changing your eyeglass prescription may help to improve your vision for a while. There are no medications, eyedrops, exercises or eyeglasses that will cause cataracts to disappear once they have formed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. When you are not able to see well enough to do the things you like to do, cataract surgery should be considered. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye through a small surgical incision. Sutures are rarely used. In most cases, the natural lens is replaced with a permanent intraocular lens (IOL) implant.

What can I expect if I decide to have cataract surgery?
Before Surgery
Once you and your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) have decided that your cataract should be removed, you will be given a thorough eye examination. During the exam, your eye will be measured to determine the proper power of the intraocular lens that will be placed in your eye. Ask your ophthalmologist if you should continue taking your usual medications before surgery. You should make arrangements to have someone drive you home after surgery.

The Day of Surgery
Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, either in a hospital or your ophthalmologist’s office. You may be asked to skip breakfast, depending on the time of your surgery. When you arrive for surgery, you will be given eyedrops and perhaps a sedative to help you relax. A local anesthetic will numb your eye. The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed, and sterile coverings will be placed around your head. Your eye will be kept open by a lid speculum or another method. You may see light and movement, but you will not be able to see the surgery while it is happening.

Under the operating microscope, a small incision is made in your eye. In most cataract surgeries, tiny surgical instruments are used to break apart and suction the cloudy lens from your eye. The back membrane of the lens (called the posterior capsule) is left in place. A plastic, acrylic or silicone intraocular lens implant is placed in your eye to replace the natural lens that was removed. The incision is then closed. If stitches are used, they usually do not need to be removed.

When the surgery is complete, your doctor will often place a shield over your eye. After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home.

Following Surgery
You will need to:
• Use the eyedrops as prescribed;
• Be careful not to rub or press on your eye;
• Avoid strenuous activities until the eye is healed;
• Ask your doctor when you can begin driving;
• Wear eyeglasses or an eye shield as advised by your doctor.

You can continue your normal daily activities. Over-the-counter pain medicine may be used, if necessary.

Is a laser used during cataract surgery?
Laser surgery is not part of the cataract removal surgery. However, the posterior capsule (the part of the eye that holds the lens in place) sometimes becomes cloudy several months or years after the original cataract operation. If the cloudy capsule blurs your vision, your ophthalmologist can perform a second surgery using a laser. During the second procedure, called a posterior capsulotomy, a laser makes an opening in the cloudy lens capsule to restore normal vision.

Will cataract surgery improve my vision?
The success rate of cataract surgery is excellent, resulting in improved vision in the majority of patients.

Complications After Cataract Surgery
Though they rarely occur, serious complications of cataract surgery are:
• Infection
• Bleeding
• Swelling
• Detachment of the retina.

Call your ophthalmologist immediately if you have any of the following symptoms after surgery:
• Pain not relieved by nonprescription pain medication;
• Loss of vision;
• Nausea, vomiting or excessive coughing;
• Injury to the eye.

Even if cataract surgery is successful, you still may not see as well as you would like to. Other problems with your eyes, such as macular degeneration (aging of the retina), glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy, may limit your vision after surgery. Even with such problems, cataract surgery may still be worthwhile.