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Cataract FAQs

What is a cataract?

The eye’s natural lens is mostly made of water and protein.  The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.  It is located behind the iris and the pupil.  The lens works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina at the back of the eye.  The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away. As we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens.  This cloud formation is known as a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and haze more of the lens, making it more difficult to see.  Cataracts are quite prevalent with “baby boomers” moving into the primary cataract development age range.  More than 20 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and more than half of all Americans will actually develop cataracts before the age of 80.  Cataract Surgery is a procedure to remove the cloudy lens of your eye and replace it with an artificial lens.  Dr. Kalski performs this surgery on an outpatient basis at an ambulatory surgery center, which means that you do not have to stay in the hospital after the surgery.  Dr. Kalski performs no injection, sutureless cataract surgery, a common and very safe procedure.

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Can a cataract be prevented?

Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent a cataract because it is a natural condition that occurs as we mature.

What are the symptoms of a cataract?

Common symptoms of cataracts include any of the following:  Blurry or foggy vision, colors appear dull, poor night vision, halos appear around lights, sensitivity to sunlight or bright lights, needing more light to read, your current prescription/eyeglasses don’t seem to work.

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What happens if a cataract goes untreated?

Over time, the clouded areas of your lens can become larger and denser, causing your sight to become worse.  This can take anywhere from a few months to many years.  Eventually, if cataracts go untreated, your entire lens can become cloudy and cause blindness.

How is a cataract treated?

The only way to truly correct your vision is to remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new artificial lens, also known as an intraocular lens (IOL).  Both eyes are never treated on the same day.  Typically, the surgeries are performed about 2 weeks apart.

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Is cataract surgery painful?

You are not given general anesthesia or shots around your eye.  Dr. Kalski uses a topical anesthetic and IV sedation prior to and during your surgery to ensure that you are comfortable and do not feel pain.

How long is cataract surgery?

Plan on being at our surgical facility for 2-4 hours.  However, the cataract surgery itself typically takes between 10 to 30 minutes.

How is cataract surgery performed?

You have choices.  Dr. Kalski can perform manual cataract surgery using surgical blades. Dr. Kalski is also proud to offer his patients the most technologically advanced cataract surgery method in the world today: bladeless custom laser cataract surgery.  Dr. Kalski uses a laser specialized for cataract surgery to precisely make small incisions for entering the eye, to correct astigmatism, and to prepare the cataract itself for gentle removal with the assistance of an ultrasound probe, also known as phacoemulsification. After the cataract is removed, a replacement or intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted through a small incision and stabilized in the eye.  Typically, the surgical incision is self-sealing, which means that it is so small that sutures are not needed!

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Is a laser used for cataract surgery?

Up until recently, cataract surgery was performed using surgical blades and ultrasound technology (phacoemulsification) only.  Dr. Kalski is proud to offer his patients the most technologically advanced method for performing cataract surgery: bladeless custom laser cataract surgery.  With the assistance of a laser, Dr. Kalski can make incisions to enter the eye, correct astigmatism, and prepare, soften, and break the cataract into small pieces for a more gentle removal with the ultrasound technology.

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Which intraocular lens (IOL) is right for me?

You can become less dependent on glasses after cataract surgery!  Dr. Kalski offers the most technologically advanced intraocular lenses (IOL’s) available, giving you the opportunity to correct other visual problems that you may have, such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses), and astigmatism. However, no single lens is right for everyone.  Dr. Kalski will determine your most appropriate option after he completes your thorough eye examination, reviews diagnostic tests, and obtains information about your individual lifestyle and visual needs.  He will assist you with making a decision after you are thoroughly educated about your options.

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What is the healing time for cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is a safe and simple procedure. Most patients are surprised to find that their cataract procedure is easy, quick, and pain-free. In most cases, patients are able to go back to their normal activities within 2-3 days. Most cataract patients notice improved vision within the first 1 to 7 days after surgery.

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How successful is cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery throughout the world. As with any kind of surgical procedure, there are always risk and complication possibilities that will be thoroughly explained to you prior to your surgery. Dr. Kalski typically has highly successful outcomes whether he performs manual or bladeless custom laser cataract surgery.

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Can a cataract come back?

A cataract cannot return once it has been removed.  However, over time, some patients may experience a clouding behind the artificial lens that was placed in the eye during cataract surgery.  This clouding can be easily treated by Dr. Kalski by using a specialized laser in his office, called a Yag Laser.  This laser procedure takes less than a minute.

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How much experience does Dr. Kalski have?

The surgeon, Richard S. Kalski, MD, has performed thousands of cataract surgeries since 1991.  Dr. Kalski is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist and completed fellowship training in Corneal and Refractive Surgery at the prestigious Sydney Refractive Surgery Center (now the Australia Eye Institute) in Sydney, Australia in 1995.  While in Sydney, Dr. Kalski taught cataract surgery to ophthalmology trainees.  Dr. Kalski always offers his patients the most advanced cataract technologies as soon as they are readily available.  Accordingly, he was one of the first surgeons in South Florida to use advanced technology intraocular lenses (IOL’s) for correcting astigmatism and distance, intermediate, and near vision.  He is also one of the first surgeons in South Florida to offer his patients bladeless custom laser cataract surgery.

What does cataract surgery cost?

Basic cataract surgery with a conventional or traditional intraocular lens (IOL) is covered by medical insurance.  Your deductibles and co-payments are determined by your specific insurance plan.  You will have out-of-pocket expenses if you elect to have an advanced technology lens to correct presbyopia (the need for reading glasses), or astigmatism.  There is also an expense for custom laser cataract surgery.  Our staff can give you all of the details at your cataract consultation.  Financing plans are available, including flexible monthly payment plans.

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Can I talk to someone who has had cataract surgery?

Absolutely! Dr. Kalski’s cataract patients love bragging about their new vision and are happy to share their experiences. Patients whom opted for bladeless custom laser cataract surgery with an advanced technology intraocular lens (IOL) are particularly vocal!

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