When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?

When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?

Cataract Surgery Infographic

If your eye doctor has diagnosed you with cataracts, you may be wondering what to do next. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery, and it is ultimately up to you to decide when you are ready for treatment. In this blog, we’ll discuss cataract symptoms and surgery options. 

What is a cataract?

A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. This clouding prevents light from reaching the back of the eye, causing vision to become impaired. Cataracts are most commonly due to the normal aging process, but can have other causes.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

  • Symptoms of cataracts may include:
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Rings or “halos” around lights
  • Trouble seeing up close
  • Needing additional light to see
  • Increased sensitivity to glare
  • Changes in glasses prescription
  • Colors seem less vibrant

Because cataracts usually develop over time, you may not notice the symptoms right away. The best way to determine whether or not you have cataracts is to have a dilated eye exam.

How will I know if I’m ready?

The first step is to schedule a cataract evaluation with an ophthalmologist. During this exam, you will have several vision tests that are not done at a regular eye exam. These tests will determine how much your cataracts are affecting your vision, and whether or not your vision can be improved with surgery. Your ophthalmologist will explain your results and help you to decide whether or not surgery is right for you. In most cases, you can have surgery whenever your symptoms begin to interfere with your vision. 

When is the best time to schedule cataract surgery?

Dr. Johnson performs cataract surgery year round, so you can schedule your surgery whenever it is convenient for you. That being said, fall is a great time to schedule surgery! Cataracts cause glare and halos around lights, and these symptoms are often worse in the winter. Long nights and bright headlights make driving especially hazardous. Having cataract surgery before the snow flies means your eyes will be better prepared for winter driving conditions. Additionally, our fall days are less bright than summer, making recovery more comfortable. Lastly, many of our patients like to have surgery before the end of the year when they have met or are near their insurance deductible. Scheduling your surgery in fall means avoiding the last minute rush, and getting the best benefit from your insurance plan. 

Will my cataracts come back?

No! Cataract surgery is a permanent fix. Once you have undergone surgery you will not have cataracts ever again. After cataract surgery you may experience a Posterior Capsular Opacity, or PCO. A PCO occurs when a layer of tissue adheres to the back of the lens capsule. This is sometimes referred to as a “secondary cataract” because the symptoms can mimic those of a cataract. Fortunately, this can be treated with a simple, in office laser procedure. This painless procedure typically takes less than 15 minutes. 

Why Dr. Katherine Johnson?

Dr. Johnson has been performing cataract surgery for over 12 years. A certified Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology, Dr. Johnson began her education by graduating with honors from Harvard University. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and completed her specialty training in Ophthalmology at the renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida—an institution which continues to be ranked the #1 eye hospital and #1 residency training program in the nation by US News and World Report and Ophthalmology Times. 

In addition:

Dr. Johnson performs over 450 cataract surgeries per year.

Since establishing her practice in Fairbanks, Dr. Johnson has performed over 10,000 total cataract surgeries.

Dr. Johnson is a highly efficient cataract surgeon, with an average surgical duration of 6 minutes.

Dr. Johnson’s surgical outcomes are among the best, and the data proves it. The ORA device takes measurements and rates her patients’ visual outcomes against national data, full of providers using the same machine, and she comes out ahead of the curve.

Deciding if you are ready for cataract is an important personal decision. With help from the doctors and staff at Mountain View Eye Center, you can be confident that you are making an informed decision about your care. To schedule a cataract evaluation, call or text (907) 328-2920. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. To learn more about cataracts, visit our website at www.mountainvieweyes.com.

Written By: Gina Stafford, COA, LDO, ABOC

Posted in: Alaska Ophthalmology, Cataract, Cataract Treatment, Eye Doctor in Alaska, Eyes, Patient Education

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2555 Phillips Field Rd – Fairbanks, AK 99709
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