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A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. As it progresses, a cataract can interfere with one’s ability to see clearly. There is currently no way to eliminate a cataract except surgically. A lens implant made of plastic materials is placed in almost every patient undergoing cataract surgery to replace the natural hazy lens.
Cataracts are most often a result of aging, although the age at which they interfere with an individual’s quality of life varies widely. Cataract surgery is performed when the cataract impairs an individual’s ability to read, drive or perform other activities of daily living.
Cataract surgery is almost always performed as an outpatient procedure. Patients return home the same day after cataract surgery and usually return to their physician’s office the following day. Eyedrops are used for four to six weeks to accelerate the healing process and prevent infection. Vision is usually greatly improved after the first four weeks although many patients see better after a day or two. Activity is limited for the first week after surgery to avoid any harm to the eye in the healing phase.
Cataract surgery has become one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine, and 95 percent of patients have improved vision after this procedure. Complications such as bleeding and infection can occur but are quite rare. Most patients will require a new eyeglass prescription after cataract surgery, more often for reading.
Loyola University Medical Center is a leader in state-of-the-art small incision, suture-less cataract surgery. Each patient is unique and should discuss the specifics of surgery with their ophthalmologist.