Cataract Surgery: What to Expect

If you have been diagnosed with a cataract, your eye doctor will advise you that the only permanent solution to your condition to is have surgery. Estimates suggest that around four million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States every year, and it is considered a very safe and straightforward procedure provided it is performed by a trained and experienced professional. 


Cataracts: an overview

Cataracts are a very common eye condition that occurs when the small, transparent disc that forms the lens of your eye starts to develop cloudy patches. This happens because the proteins that are usually evenly dispersed across the lens start to change and clump together. These clumps get progressively larger until they start to impact your vision. People who suffer from cataracts compare their vision to looking through frosted glass. Cataracts most commonly affect older people, but they can occur at any time. 


Cataracts can affect one eye, but they usually develop in both. However, they can develop at different rates meaning that your vision may be better in one eye. 


Unfortunately, there’s not currently a cure for cataracts, other than to have surgery to replace the lens. You can choose to do this right away or you can wait until your vision is significantly affected. Nevertheless, the decision to undergo surgery shouldn’t be based solely on your eye test results, but on whether or not your vision is affecting your quality of life. 


What to expect from cataract surgery?

Before your surgery, you’ll first need to attend a consultation appointment with your eye doctor which will be used to discuss your individual circumstances. During the appointment, different measurements will be taken of your eyes and eyesight, and your eye doctor will talk to you about:

  • The risks and benefits of surgery

  • Your lens preference (such as if you need near or long-sighted lenses)

  • If you are likely to need glasses after surgery

  • How long you will take to recover


If you are currently using one eye for distance vision and the other for close-up vision, known as monovision, you can request for your new replacement lenses to be fitted in the same way. 


The procedure

The procedure itself usually takes less than an hour and is carried out under local anesthetic, meaning that you can go home the same day. A tiny incision will be made into the eye to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial variety known as an intraocular lens (IOL). There are many different IOLs to choose from, and your eye doctor will help you choose the right one for your needs.



After your surgery, your vision will be blurry for some time as your eyes heal and your vision adjusts. It’s normal to experience watering, redness, and irritation of the eye. These usually improve in a few days, but it can take up to six weeks to recover fully. In the meantime, your eye doctor will give you a comprehensive list of things that you should and shouldn’t do to minimize your risk of post-surgery complications. If you will still need glasses after your surgery, you won’t be able to order these until your eyes have totally healed. 


What if I have cataracts in both eyes?

Although it’s possible to have cataract surgery on both eyes at the same time, this is rarely recommended as you will find that your vision is significantly impaired. Patients are normally advised to have the procedure performed on one eye at a time, with healing take place in between.



If you would like more information about cataract surgery, please visit Focus Eye Care, P.C. in Hackensack, New Jersey. Call (201) 654-0602 to schedule an appointment.