Cataracts FAQ


A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which can lead to vision problems. The most common type of cataract is related to aging. More than half of all Americans over the age of 65 will have a cataract.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision.
  • Problems with light, such as headlights that seem too bright, glare from lamps or very bright sunlight.
  • Colors that seem faded.
  • Poor night vision.
  • Double or multiple vision.
  • Frequent changes in glasses or contact lenses.
How is a cataract detected?

Cataracts are detected during a comprehensive annual eye examination. The exam includes: a visual acuity test, to measure the ability to see at various distances; pupil dilation, to allow the eye care professional to examine the lens and retina; and, tonometry, a test to measure fluid pressure in the eye.

How is a cataract treated?

In the early stages of a cataract, vision may be improved with glasses, magnifying lenses or stronger lighting. If these measures do not help, surgery is recommended.

What happens during the surgery?

Cataract surgery is a same-day procedure which takes only about twenty to thirty minutes. The patient is given an intravenous sedative and a topical anesthetic. The surgical procedure involves removing the natural lens, which has become cloudy, and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant.

What about follow-up care?

Patients are seen in clinic one day following cataract surgery. The next post-operative visit usually occurs two to four weeks after the post-operative visit.

When will vision return after surgery?

Vision will be blurry immediately after cataract surgery. The eye needs time to heal and adjust so that it can focus properly with the other eye. The eye heals quickly after the trauma of cataract surgery, but takes about 2-3 weeks to heal completely. Follow-up visits to the clinic are scheduled to evaluate progress.

Is cataract surgery effective?

Cataract surgery is one of the most common, safest and effective surgical procedures performed in the U.S. today. In over 90 percent of cases, patients who have cataract surgery experience better vision.

Will I Need Glasses or Contact Lenses After My Cataract Surgery?

Yes, you will likely need glasses to maximize your vision after cataract surgery. Insurance companies, including Medicare, do not pay for Laser Vision Correction or other procedures to eliminate your need for glasses. Medicare and all insurance companies have stated that cataract surgery should "allow the return of “functional” vision with glasses." If you wear glasses or contact lenses now, you will likely still need them after your surgery.

Some people do achieve glasses independence following cataract surgery. Some newer options for multifocal or accommodating intraocular lenses may be an option for you. Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for this newer technology. Medicare does allow you to pay the difference to acquire this technology if you desire. If glasses independence is important to you, talk to Dr. Schneider about what your options may be.

Do I Really Need to Use My Eye Drops?

I have had patients tell me that since their surgery was so pain-free and quick to recover, they decided not to use their drops thinking that they didn’t need them.

Blindness is a very real possibility, even with modern cataract surgery. By following the directions regarding post-op care, you will minimize the chances of a vision threatening post-op infection and blindness.

Does Dr. Schneider Use a Laser to Remove My Cataract?

The latest advancement in cataract surgery involves the use of the femtosecond laser to perform some of the most delicate parts of the cataract operation. Dr. Schneider offers his patients the LenSx laser (Alcon) for his cataract patients that want the newest technology for added safety. For more information, click the image below.

Does My Cataract Ever Come Back?

No, once the cataract has been removed, it does not grow back. 30% of the time, a small area of scarring can occur which blurs the vision after surgery. This can be cleared up by Dr. Schneider with the use of a YAG laser, and is an in-office procedure.

My Urologist placed me on a medicine called FLOMAX®. Is it important that I inform you about this medicine even if I took it years ago?

Yes, Flomax is a medicine used for the treatment of prostate and urinary symptoms. Once a person has been on Flomax it permanently changes the eye making cataract surgery more prone to complications. If you are on Flomax now, or have ever been on this medicine, please make sure to let Dr. Schneider know this. (read Dr. Schneider's blog about this topic)

Is Cataract Surgery more Difficult If I Have Had LASIK or LASER VISION Corrrection?

Yes, If you have had previous LASIK or refractive surgery, the calculations that determine the intraocular lens implant are less accurate than in a normal eye. This means that there is a good chance that you will need glasses or contact lenses to acheive your best vision after cataract surgery.

Will I Have Perfect Vision After Cataract Surgery and will I Need Glasses?

As technology advances, options for you to gain independence from glasses gets better all the time. The LenSx laser and high-technology intraocular lenses allow me to correct your near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism like never before. Multi-focal intraocular lenses allow distance vision and near vision in the same eye. Unfortunately, Medicare and insurance companies do not pay for these technologies, so if you are interested in increasing your chances of being free from glasses, talk to Dr. Schneider about which options you might be a candidate for. Despite new technologies, sometimes glasses are still needed for certain tasks following these procedures. Great care is taken to assure your best results surgically.