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17534 Royalton Rd   50 Front St
Strongsville, OH 44136   Berea, OH 44017
440.238.5030   440.891.8338

Cataract Surgery

What is laser assisted cataract surgery?

Standard Cataract Surgery Patient Education Video

What is a cataract?

The natural lens is the structure located behind the iris, or the colored part of the eye.  The lens focuses light onto the macula, the portion of the retina responsible for central vision.  Over time the natural lens becomes cloudy, hazy or not clear.  When the natural lens is no longer clear, it is called a cataract.  Cataracts can develop from normal aging, an eye injury, or prolonged use of certain medications.  Almost all individuals older than 65 have cataracts.  The majority of cataracts cause significant visual symptoms including blurry vision, dulled vision, sensitivity to light and glare, and ghost images or halos.

How will cataract removal affect my vision?

The goal of cataract surgery is to correct the decreased vision and other symptoms that are caused by the cataract.  During the surgery Dr. Alessio removes the cataract and replaces it with a new artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL. Cataract surgery will not correct other causes of decreased vision, such as glaucoma, diabetes, or age-related macular degeneration.  You may or may not need to wear glasses or contact lenses after cataract removal.

Is cataract removal right for me?

If you are unhappy with the quality of your vision and are willing to have a surgery to make your vision better, you may benefit from cataract surgery.  Because cataracts develop slowly and usually in both eyes, you may not realize how much your vision has been affected.  As the lens in the eye becomes cloudy, hazy and discolored, the quality of your vision diminishes, and this can affect reading, driving and your overall safety.  By having your cataract removed, you can expect improved vision  with most people noticing a significant enhancement in colors, contrast and clarity of images. You can also return to your normal daily activities soon after.  You may choose not to have your cataract removed, but your vision will likely continue to get worse as the only treatment available for cataracts is surgical removal.

Is cataract surgery risky or dangerous?

Modern cataract and intraocular lens implant surgery is one of the miracles of modern medicine. Since its widespread adoption in the mid-1970s, hundreds of millions of operations have been performed worldwide. The great majority are successful and patients are pleased with their improved vision.  Precautions are taken to prevent post-operative complications such as infection, inflammation, swelling and increased pressure in the eye.  The statistical risk for infection is very low – approximately one in a thousand.  If infection occurs and is treated in a timely fashion, the result of cataract surgery can still be successful in improving vision.  For this reason, you will be given Dr. Alessio’s home and personal cell phone numbers.  Post-operative instructions will also be given that details the signs and symptoms of an infection.

What can I expect during cataract surgery?

Light sedation is used to relax you, and a local anesthetic is used to numb your eye.  You may see a bright light and feel pressure in your eye.  The cataract is broken into small pieces and then removed.  An intraocular lens implant (IOL) is used to replace your natural lens.  Stitches are usually not required during the surgery.

Does it hurt?

State of the art cataract surgery is not painful. All precautions are taken to see that your experience is pleasant and comfortable. Dr. Alessio will use an anesthetic material to numb the eye and you will be given light sedation to reduce the “butterflies”.

How long will the surgery take?

The answer is “as long as it takes to do a safe and good job”. On average, modern cataract surgery takes approximately 15-20 minutes of actual surgery time.

What is the Intraocular Lens (IOL) made of?

Most IOLs are made of a either silicone or acrylic.  Implant materials have been used for many years and have been exceptionally well tolerated by the tens of millions of patients. IOLs do not wear out or need replacement.  They will most likely never need replace.

What are the types of Cataract Surgery available?

Alessio Eye MD offers three main types of cataract surgery options:

  1. Standard Cataract Surgery – covered by your medical insurance in which you would be responsible for any deductibles or copays.
    • Dr. Alessio does the procedure manually with the use of phacoemulsification.
    • May be more dependent on glasses.
  2. One Focus Laser Cataract Surgery – $1950 additional cost in addition to deductibles and copays.
    • Custom laser cataract surgery.
    • Laser creates the incisions.
    • Laser creates will soften the lens.
    • Correction of astigmatism – will likely be less dependent on glasses.
    • Laser creates ultra-important capsulorhexis (opening to remove the cataract).
    • Will need glasses for readying, unless using mono-vision.
  3. Multi Focus Laser Cataract Surgery – $3450 additional cost in addition to deductible and copays.
    • Offers best opportunity to be free from glasses.
    • Custom laser cataract surgery.
    • Laser creates the incisions.
    • Laser creates will soften the lens.
    • Laser correction of astigmatism.
    • Laser creates ultra-important capsulorhexis (opening to remove the cataract).
    • Reading glasses may still be necessary in low light.
    • May experience halos around lights.

What is monovision?

Monovision is using one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance.  Because monofocal IOLs cannot focus distance to near, it is necessary to “cheat” a little by assuring that one eye – usually a person’s dominant eye – can see very well at distance without glasses and the second eye – the non-dominant eye – a little nearsighted so that the person can read regular printed material without glasses. Monovision is a method used to reduce the need for glasses after surgery.  Monovision is a good option for someone who already uses monovision in the form of contacts or refractive surgery.

Where is the procedure done?

Your surgery will likely be scheduled at the Cleveland Eye & Laser Surgery Center located at the corner of Clague and Brookpark Rd.  The eye exclusive surgery center is located about 10 minutes from Alessio Eye MD.

Do I need someone to drive me?

Yes. You will not be able to drive yourself. Arrange for a family member or friend to accompany you the day of surgery. If you need help with travel, please talk with our Surgical Coordinator, Denise Galloway. Although most people are legal to drive the day after surgery, we recommend that someone drive you to your office appointment the day after surgery.

How long will I be at the surgical center?

You can expect to be at the surgery center – from the outpatient admissions process to discharge – for approximately two-three hours. After surgery, you will be offered a snack if you desire.

Do I have to wear a patch after surgery?

Depending on the type of anesthesia used you may need to wear a patch and shield for approximately 4 hours after surgery.  You will be asked to wear your shield at bedtime during the first week after surgery.

Why do I need to use drops after surgery?

Based on research, the drops are designed to reduce the chance of post-operative infection. Also, the body will respond to the “controlled injury” of the procedure by initiating a process called inflammation. It is important to control the body’s normal response to the surgery.

How do I use my drops?

Dr. Alessio, the surgery center staff and our technicians will review your medications and instructions with you.  If you have difficulty getting drops into the eyes for physical reasons such as arthritis, please let us know. The most important thing is to use your drops consistently and as directed.  Follow the steps below for proper instillation of your eye drops:

  1. Tilt your head back or liedown.
  2. Look up towards the ceiling.
  3. Pull your lower lid away from your eye.
  4. Place one drop of medication in the pocket between your lower lid and your eye.
  5. Dry any extra medication on your cheek.  Never push on the eye during the immediate post-operative period.

Some patients like to refrigerate their drops so they can feel them as they are put into the eye.

What are my restrictions after surgery?

Minimal. You can resume most of your normal activities very shortly after surgery. Most people can legally drive the day after cataract surgery. It is advisable to avoid strenuous physical activity the week after surgery. You should also avoid touching or massage the eye in the immediate post-operative period. Protect the eye with glasses, sunglasses or shield when using machinery such as grass cutters and weed whackers. In order to avoid the potential of infection, never rinse the eye with tap water.

How much does it cost?

Although you will see “charges” from the surgery center, the surgeon and the anesthesia group, your insurance will pay all parties an agreed-upon amount for the services rendered. You will be responsible for any co-payments, deductibles and non-covered amounts.  These vary by insurance plan. You may wish to contact your plan prior to undergoing surgery to verify your responsibility.  The surgeon’s fees include 90 days of post-operative follow-up care at no additional charge.  Any laser cataract surgery options are always addition out-of-pocket expenses not covered by any medical insurance.

How long does it take to get my new glasses?

We will prescribe new glasses for you at the time of the third post-operative visit, about one month after your surgery.  Although it can be done sooner, we find the prescription stabilizes around the time of this third visit.  If you decide to purchase your glasses in our optical shop, you can expect them to be ready about one week after placing your order.  Some patients may use interim reading glasses while awaiting your individualized prescription.  After your surgery, Dr. Alessio and his staff can advise you if generic reading glasses maybe an option for you.

When can I have the second eye operated on?

In this country, we do not perform surgery on both eyes at the same time. If you are comfortable with your first cataract surgery, we can do surgery on the second eye soon after the first eye. Usually, we will depend upon you to tell us when you wish to have the second eye done.

I have heard of people who have had cataract surgery and don’t see well. Why?

The most common reasons for poor vision following cataract surgery are conditions that affect the eye and existed before the operation. These might include such things as diabetic damage, macular degeneration, damage to the optic nerve because of poor circulation or glaucoma, previous injury, lazy eye or amblyopia. A small percentage occurs because of surgical complication.  However, the surgical complication rate for cataract removal is one of the very smallest in medicine.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?

Denise is our Surgical Coordinator. She can be reached by calling our office at 440.238.5030. In addition, Dr. Alessio will also be available to answer any questions that you might have about cataract surgery.  Simply leave a message at the office and he will be happy to call you back.

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