Woman reading book after cataract surgery

Around 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year. Cataract treatment involves surgery to remove the clouded natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Here are five frequently asked questions about cataracts.

1. How do I know if I have cataracts?

Cataracts can create a wide variety of vision symptoms for people, but most people suffering from cataracts experience some of the following symptoms:

    • Cloudy vision
    • Blurry vision
    • Colors that don’t appear bright or vivid
    • Trouble seeing or driving at night or in low-light environments
    • Increased sensitivity to glare
    • Frequent prescription changes in your glasses or contacts

If you are experiencing any of these vision symptoms, schedule a Cataract Examination with your eye doctor to determine if cataract surgery can improve your vision and lifestyle.

2. When is the right time to have cataract surgery?

For many people, cataracts develop slowly, over months and even years. They don’t notice how much their vision has declined until it begins affecting their daily lives in many ways. This is one of the most frustrating parts of cataracts for many people — they slowly create poor vision without people noticing the slow decline.

The best time to have cataract surgery is whenever your cataracts begin to affect your daily vision and lifestyle. Whether your cataracts are small or large, our advanced cataract surgery technology ensures you no longer need to wait or suffer from blurry, cloudy vision due to cataracts.

3. Is cataract surgery painful?

No, cataract surgery isn’t painful! Thanks to the numbing eye drops applied to the surface of the eye before the procedure, you won’t feel any pain. The drops do wear off a few hours after cataract surgery. Once this occurs, you may experience some minor discomfort that can be treated with an over the counter pain reliever.

4. What happens during cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed outpatient surgery in the United States — it is a predictable, comfortable, and precise surgery experience. During the procedure, eye numbing drops and a light sedation will be administered through IV to keep you relaxed throughout the procedure. Your surgeon will gently remove the cloudy cataract lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL). With the latest advancements in cataract surgery, no stitches are required, leading to quicker recovery and more precise outcomes. Cataract surgery at Valley Eye Associates is a premium experience that will get you back to seeing clearly.

5. What’s the recovery like after cataract surgery?

After your outpatient procedure, you will return home and rest for 12-24 hours. Your eye will feel comfortable very quickly after cataract surgery, and most patients experience improvement in their vision just one to two days after cataract surgery as their eyes adapt to the new IOL. It’s very important that you use your prescribed medications and follow your doctor’s instructions after your surgery.

Most patients resume normal daily activities just two to three days after cataract surgery. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions after your surgery and will check on your recovery during your follow-up visits. After this short recovery period, you’ll be free to enjoy your new vision for a lifetime!

Patients using telehealth to connect with their doctor

We are all making changes to adapt to social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 virus. Some changes make things more convenient and are likely to continue even past the virus outbreak. One of these is telehealth.

What is Telehealth?

It is the ability to deliver healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology. We call these “virtual visits.” When it is difficult or inconvenient for you to come to our office, we can schedule a telehealth visit with one of the doctors or technicians to evaluate your condition and provide treatment options.

Telehealth Services

We can provide the following services through a virtual visit with a doctor:

  • Emergency and urgent eye care needs (vision loss, red eyes, dry eyes, painful or sore eyes, flashing lights, floaters)
  • New patient and follow-up care for cornea, lens, and retina conditions (keratoconus, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration)
  • Second opinions for patients and doctors (MDs and ODs)
  • Virtual Free VIP Consultations for vision correction (LASIK and custom lens replacement).

How to Connect to a Telehealth Call

Please try to connect five minutes prior to your appointment time in case of any issues. Here are some tips for getting the best connection for your appointment:

  1. Find a quiet, private, distraction-free space
  2. Use a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a good internet connection and a webcam
  3. You will need to use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox web browsers
  4. Make sure to “allow” access to the audio and video on your device

More questions? Learn more about our telehealth program here.

The PanOptix intraocular lens implant (IOL) for cataract patients is now available at Valley Eye Associates. It is the first and only FDA-approved trifocal lens to replace the eye’s natural lens after cataract surgery!

If you’re over the age of 45, you may be noticing changes in your vision. Colors may be less vivid, reading without glasses may be difficult, you may require more light to read, and your vision may be blurry or hazy. These are all common symptoms of cataracts and presbyopia—vision conditions that affect the majority of people as they age.

Vision following cataract surgery with the PanOptix lens exceeds previously unattainable levels with older technology. The PanOptix lens provides patients with:

  • Outstanding range of vision—near, far, and in-between
  • Brighter, more vivid colors
  • Less dependence on glasses or contacts

“I have been very impressed with the latest generation of multifocal intraocular lens implants,” says Dr. Michael Vrabec. “The trifocal multifocal IOL, called the Alcon PanOptix lens, has been used overseas for many years with excellent results. It was approved by the FDA for use in the United States in the last half of 2019 and I began offering it to patients shortly after its approval. With over 50 patients having had this IOL implanted in their eyes, I have found the lens to have even better distance, intermediate, and near vision without glasses when compared to older generation of bifocal multifocal IOLs,  better vision in low light, and less glare and halos at night.”

99% of people with the PanOptix lens would choose the same lens again.*

98% of people with the PanOptix lens would recommend it to family and friends.*

80.5% of people with the PanOptix lens reported that, within the past week, they never had to wear glasses to see.*

To schedule your cataract examination and learn more about the PanOptix lOL, please call Valley Eye Associates at (800) 344-4443.

Senior woman teaching her granddaughter how to ride a bike

Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove your eye’s clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial lens to restore clear vision. When the presence of your cataracts interferes with your daily activities, surgery is likely the best option.

The team at Valley Eye Associates has performed over 55,000 surgical procedures over a combined 50 years of experience. Our expertise and commitment to excellence helps us provide a premium cataract surgery experience to all patients. Valley Eye Associates offers the following cataract surgery options:

Traditional Cataract Surgery

  • Corneal incisions are made manually by your surgeon.
  • A traditional replacement lens eliminates dimmed, fuzzy vision caused by cataracts.
  • The procedure is covered by Medicare; you will still need corrective lenses, especially for near vision.

High Definition Laser Cataract SurgeryTM

  • Corneal incisions are made with a laser for a more precise cut.
  • Advanced lens options not only replace the clouded cataracts, but also address other vision problems like astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness.
  • High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery may eliminate the need for glasses or contacts for many or most activities.
  • A portion of the procedure is covered by Medicare. Additional fees may apply.

Intraocular Lens (IOL) Options

There are more IOL options available than ever before, and choosing the proper IOL for your vision goals and lifestyle will ensure you are completely satisfied with the outcome of your cataract surgery. You will meet with your surgeon to discuss your vision goals and determine which lens best fits your lifestyle.

Monofocal IOLs

A monofocal IOL is an advanced acrylic lens that focuses vision on a single point. This lens will allow you to see clearly at one distance and require you to wear glasses or contact lenses to see at other distances. Many people who choose this lens decide they want to see clearly in the distance and wear reading glasses for near vision (cell phone) or intermediate vision (speedometer). Valley Eye Associates is proud to feature the TECNIS Monofocal Lens and the Alcon Acrysof in its cataract program.

TORIC IOLs

For patients with moderate or advanced astigmatism, the TORIC IOL is an excellent option when combined with HDLCS to achieve clear vision at one distance (usually far) without glasses or contact lenses.

Multifocal IOLs

A multifocal IOL is a premium clear lens that features concentric focus rings, allowing you to focus and see clearly at multiple distances after surgery. The goal of a multifocal lens is to help you see near, far, and everything in between to reduce or eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses. Multifocal IOLs are a fantastic option for those willing to invest in lens technology for a more active and spectacle-free lifestyle.

ORA Intraoperative Technology Benefits

ORA is a powerful tool for improving your cataract surgery, and Dr. Vrabec, Dr. Salm, Dr. Unger and the team at Valley Eye Associates is the first in the region to offer this exciting technology.

  • ORA allows your surgeon to accurately review your vision during your cataract procedure
  • ORA offers measurements for more accurate calculations to guide your cataract procedure
  • VerifEye+ Technology validates the ORA data in real-time during your surgery, adding another layer of precision
  • ORA is clinically proven to result in more consistent accuracy for your cataract procedure, leading to higher patient satisfaction
  • ORA is highly beneficial for patients with astigmatism, as well as patients who have had previous eye surgery, such as LASIK or PRK
  • ORA reduces the need for follow-up treatments after your cataract surgery

Want to learn more about High Definition Laser Cataract Surgery? Join us for our next Live Cataract Seminar with Dr. Michael Vrabec at Pinnacle Cataract & Laser Institute:

Tuesday, September 24
5:00 pm

Wednesday, November 13
5:00 pm