Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery & Intraocular Lens Implantation – Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD, FAAO

Cataract surgery is performed for patients whose crystalline lens has become cloudy due to cataract formation. Cataracts usually develop in individuals 60 years of age or older and are considered a normal part of the aging process. However, in rare cases cataracts may develop in younger patients due to eye injury, certain medications and other causes. To restore patients' vision following cataract surgery on Long Island, Eric D. Donnenfeld, MD, FAAO, removes the eye's crystalline lens and replaces it with an artificial implant known as intraocular lens implant (IOL).

Please read the paragraphs below to learn more about cataract surgery with Dr. Donnenfeld, treating Long Island cataracts patients and those throughout the Tri-State region.

Cataract Surgery: The Procedure & How it Works

The removal of the eye's cataract-diseased lens is one of the safest procedures in the field of refractive surgery. Dr. Donnenfeld performs the advanced, micro-incision, no-stitch cataract surgery with premium IOLs. The procedure is performed under anesthetic eye drops and lasts about 20 minutes per eye.

During cataract surgery, a small, self-sealing incision is created on the surface of the eye. Next, an ultrasonic probe is used to soften and break up the cataract, which is then suctioned out of the eye. This step is called phacoemulsification. A foldable IOL is then carefully placed in the eye through the same incision.

IOLs are designed to provide patients with clear vision after cataract surgery, often greatly reducing their need for corrective eyewear. For more information about the different types of IOLs, please peruse the IOLs page.

Due to the small incision required during phacoemulsification cataract surgery, the need for stitches is eliminated. This is why the procedure is often referred to as "no-stitch" cataract surgery."

Dr. Donnenfeld also performs laser cataract surgery with the Alcon LenSx femtosecond laser platform.

Cataract Surgery Recovery and Results

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means patients are free to go home shortly after surgery. Anti-inflammatory eye drops are applied for a few days, during which time patients may also be asked to wear a protective eye shield. Some Long Island cataract surgery patients may experience mild discomfort and itching immediately after surgery, which should subside fairly quickly.

The healing process after cataract surgery may last up to eight weeks. Following recovery, most patients are able to see clearly at multiple distances without the need for spectacles. Older patients who have presbyopia (age-related loss of focusing power) may need reading glasses.

Cataract Surgery Candidacy

Individuals who are diagnosed with cataracts are excellent candidates for the procedure. However, it is important to note that cataract surgery is usually performed after the condition has progressed significantly and is affecting vision. This is because some cataracts are safely observed without treatment. Individuals who suffer from unrelated eye diseases may not qualify for cataract surgery.

FAQs

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It develops when certain proteins in the lens start to clump together. As the cataract progresses, these clumps become so large that they interfere with clear vision by blocking the passage of light through the lens.

What causes a cataract?

Cataracts are generally age-related, and tend to appear in a person’s 40s or 50s (interfering with vision after age 60). However, there are other causes, too. Some cases of cataracts are congenital, as a result of an infectious disease during pregnancy. Other cataracts may be related to eye trauma, diabetes, radiation treatment or the use of corticosteroid medications.

How are cataracts treated?

When cataracts progress to the point where they make it difficult to drive or perform everyday tasks, it’s time to pursue treatment with an eye doctor.

Cataracts must be surgically removed; they cannot be treated non-surgically or by taking medication. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the eye and breaks up the cloudy lens into tiny pieces. These pieces are extracted from the eye and an artificial replacement lens (called an intraocular lens, or IOL) is inserted to restore clear vision.

Is cataract removal painful?

No, cataract removal is not painful. Anesthetic medication is administered so patients won’t feel anything during the procedure.

Is cataract surgery dangerous?

No, cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures today and is very safe. Any surgery will carry some degree of risk, but complications from cataract removal are rare.

What is laser cataract surgery?

Laser cataract surgery incorporates a laser to perform critical steps of the removal process. For example, the laser may be used to create the initial opening in the membrane that holds the lens.

How much does cataract surgery cost?

Cataract surgery costs vary, depending on factors such as the type of artificial lens implant (IOL) that is used to replace the eye’s natural lens. Some health insurance plans cover part or all of cataract surgery.

For more information on cataract surgery and to find out if you are a candidate, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Donnenfeld. In addition to being a leading cataract surgery Long Island provider, Dr. Donnenfeld provides treatments for Long Island laser eye surgery patients.

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