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Cataract Surgery

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Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in the world, occurring in most people over the age of 70, though 1 in 6 people in the US have some stage of cataracts by 50.

Is your vision blurry or distorted? Does it often feel like you’re looking at the world around you through a foggy or dirty window?

These are some of the symptoms of having cataracts. Cataracts are something that everyone eventually experiences due to aging. Here at LaserVue Eye Center in Santa Rosa & San Francisco, our cataract surgeon Dr. Jay Bansal is an expert in the treatment of cataracts and helping our patients see more clearly after their procedure.


Advanced Laser Cataract Surgery

Laser Technology is Making Outcomes More Precise and Predictable.

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What are Cataracts?


A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is normally clear. Cataracts are a normal part of the aging process, usually beginning in your fifties and slowly progress with time, then causing vision issues in your 60’s. Even though cataracts are a normal part of the aging, certain risk factors have been known to increase your chance of getting cataracts sooner.

Cataract Visual with Sunflower

Cataracts occur when proteins build up on the natural lens of the eye. As cataracts progress and develop, they cause the lens to become cloudy.

The natural lens is usually clear and easy to see through, but when you have cataracts, they impact your ability to see clearly. Although you may not realize you have cataracts at first, eventually, they will make it more challenging to see the world around you.

Once a cataract has become more advanced, the proteins on the lens will start to clump together in the middle of the lens, worsening your vision. The proteins also begin to break down, which is what causes the lens to become cloudy.


What Causes Cataracts?

The primary cause of cataracts is growing older due to aging. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in the world.

Cataracts typically occur in most people around the age of 50. You may not realize you have cataracts at first because they are too small to cause any visual symptoms.

However, as they continue developing (over years or decades), they will grow larger. The impact on your vision will become far more apparent as they get larger.

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Other Causes of Cataracts can Include

  • Having a family history of cataracts
  • Certain health conditions like diabetes
  • Being a smoker
  • Having had a previous eye injury
  • Undergoing eye surgery in the past
  • Having radiation treatments on your upper body
  • Spending a lot of time in the sun without adequate protection from the sun’s UV rays
  • Long-term use of medications like corticosteroids

If you have cataracts at a younger age, they may develop faster. There is no way to guarantee you’ll never develop cataracts but leading a healthy lifestyle can reduce your chances of developing them earlier.

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Symptoms of Cataracts


If you have cataracts, you may not realize it at first. However, some symptoms of cataracts include the following.

If these symptoms sound familiar, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. They can determine the cause of your symptoms and the necessary next steps.

These symptoms are not exclusive to cataracts, so it’s best to find their cause.

Symptoms of Cataracts

If you have cataracts, you may not realize it at first. However, some symptoms of cataracts include the following:

If these symptoms sound familiar, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. They can determine the cause of your symptoms and the necessary next steps.

These symptoms are not exclusive to cataracts, so it's best to find their cause.

How Do I Know if I Need Cataract Surgery?


The only way to know if you need cataract surgery is to talk to your eye doctor. However, most cataract surgeons recommend the procedure once cataracts get in the way of completing daily tasks.

Can you no longer do things like cook or clean due to your impaired vision? Are you uncomfortable driving? Does it feel like you can’t leave the house safely because you’re afraid you’ll fall?

These could be some signs that it’s time to have cataract surgery. Discuss your options with Dr. Jay Bansal at LaserVue Eye Center to determine when it’s time to have cataract surgery.

Even if you find out you have cataracts, you may not need to have cataract surgery for several years. Your ophthalmologist will monitor your vision and cataract progression to determine when you should consider having cataract surgery. We’ll perform a thorough eye exam as part of the evaluation to ensure it’s time to have a cataract removed.

Revitalize Your Vision with Cataract Surgery

Advancements in laser technology over the past decade has been revolutionary for cataract eye surgery. LaserVue Eye Center is proud to be the first practice in the Bay Area to offer the Blade-Free LENSAR® Femtosecond Laser system. Using the LENSAR® Laser system, we believe our laser cataract procedures are more precise and offer better results than less advanced systems.

RxSight™ Light Adjustable Lens

The RxSight™ Light Adjustable Lens is the first and only intraocular lens (IOL) that can be customized after cataract surgery. The Light Adjustable Lens is made of a special photosensitive material that can be adjusted in response to ultraviolet (UV) light. This optimization is done by your eye doctor in the weeks following lens implantation through a series of non-invasive light treatments that take only a few minutes each. You will have the unique ability to adjust and preview your vision until it meets your personal desires and lifestyle requirements. The Light Adjustable Lens delivers superior vision outcomes that non-adjustable IOLs cannot match.

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Light Adjustable Lens

How to Prepare Before Cataract Surgery


Small incision cataract surgery requires some preparation. Following your diagnosis, you will be given a surgery date.

Before your procedure, we may request that you receive surgical clearance from your primary care physician. We will provide you with the clearance form for your doctor to complete the prior to your procedure.

Please be sure to have all of your questions answered to your satisfaction before your procedure. Your cataract consultation at LaserVue Eye Center is the perfect time to get answers to these questions to ensure you feel comfortable with what to expect prior to the procedure.

What to Expect During Cataract Surgery


On the day of your cataract procedure, wear loose-fitting clothing that you feel comfortable in. Once you arrive, a nurse will check your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.

They’ll also ask a few questions to ensure you’re prepared and ready to have cataract surgery. Before the procedure begins, we will apply eye drops to dilate your pupil and numb the eye.

If you’re nervous, you’ll have medication provided through an IV to relax you. It may make you a little drowsy. Your anesthesiologist will review your medical history.

You’ll then have blood pressure and heart monitors attached before you’re covered with sterile drapes. In the operating room, there will be more eye drops.

We’ll wipe your face with alcohol and betadine for the utmost sterility. You will be able to breathe easily during your procedure. Oxygen will always be available through a tube directly in front of you.

Cataract surgery should only last 15 minutes in total. You will be awake during the entire procedure. If you feel any discomfort, we will immediately administer more medication.

Most patients are pleasantly surprised at how quick, and easy cataract surgery is. It’s much safer and more comfortable to stay awake.

Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). Dr. Jay Bansal only uses state-of-the-art microsurgical techniques at Laser Vue Eye Center.

This includes using a sophisticated ultrasonic device to perform phacoemulsification to remove the lens and replace it with an intraocular lens. The implant is held in place by the outer capsule that surrounds your original lens.

The IOL ensures you’ll see clearly after cataract surgery by taking over the job that the once clear natural lens had. At LaserVue Eye Center, we use the new IOL Master technology to provide the most accurate measurements to determine the correct power of your IOL.

We’ll apply more eye drops after surgery. Usually, a patch is not required. You will rest for about 30 minutes while being monitored carefully and given something to eat and drink.

Because we use numbing eye drops, you cannot drive yourself home after the procedure. Make sure you have a trusted friend or family member that can drive you home. You can expect to spend about two hours at our surgery facility.

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The Advantages of Having Laser Cataract Surgery


When you have cataract surgery at Laser Vue Eye Center with Dr. Bansal, you’ll be able to undergo laser cataract surgery. Laser cataract surgery is safer, more precise, and easier than ever before.

LaserVue’s computer-guided laser system effortlessly creates incisions and breaks apart cataracts with astounding predictability. Using the high-resolution digital “real-time” imaging system, Dr. Bansal can provide a more predictable outcome to his patients than with traditional cataract surgery.

Laser cataract surgery means you’ll undergo a more precise and predictable procedure than traditional and manual methods. Laser-assisted cataract surgery helps Dr. Bansal make the necessary incisions and break apart the cataract faster and more precisely, allowing for a more predictable surgical outcome for his patients.

Traditional cataract surgery uses a manual metal or diamond blade for incisions into the eye and lens, followed by removing the cloudy natural lens with an ultrasound device. Your medical insurance covers traditional cataract surgery.

Laser-assisted cataract surgery utilizes a femtosecond laser to perform some of the most challenging steps of the procedure while using minimal energy. The laser assists Dr. Bansal in making the incisions during cataract surgery.

These incisions are more precise than manual incisions. The same laser then fragments the natural lens into many smaller pieces.

Laser cataract surgery is used for lens removal, resulting in faster vision recovery than traditional cataract surgery.

While laser-assisted cataract surgery can benefit patients, it may be more beneficial for patients with certain medical conditions like:

At LaserVue Eye Center, we believe laser-assisted cataract surgery is slightly safer than traditional treatments. Multiple studies have demonstrated increased precision of the vision correction outcome with laser-assisted surgery.

The downside of laser-assisted cataract surgery is that it is an out-of-pocket expense, as insurance plans do not cover it.

What is the Recovery Process Like After Having Cataract Surgery?


After you’ve had cataract surgery, you’ll need to go through the recovery process. The good news is that this is not long, and soon, you’ll be back to many of the things you love to do with improved vision.

In the days following your procedure, your vision will likely be blurry, which is normal. During your recovery, do not rub your eyes, as this can lead to serious complications with your vision.

Dr. Bansal may instruct you to wear an eye shield at night to protect your eye. Do not get water directly in your eye while showering.

Eye Drops


You’ll need to use eye drops as part of the recovery. Please use these on the day of your procedure and until you’re told otherwise.

These eye drops include an antibiotic and a steroid to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Use both drops four times a day until instructed otherwise. You can apply your eye drops like so:

  • Tilt your head back. Pull your bottom eyelid down.
  • Squeeze one drop into your eye. Do not touch your eye with the bottle tip.
  • Close your eye for a few seconds.

Activities You Can Participate in After Cataract Surgery


Unless your surgeon instructs otherwise, you may resume non-strenuous activities immediately after cataract surgery. These include:

  • Walking
  • Watching television
  • Reading
  • Bathing
  • Showering
  • Eating what you want

A week after cataract surgery, you can resume other activities like golf, dancing, playing tennis, very light weightlifting, and moderate exercise. You can resume all activities after two weeks, including more strenuous exercise.

Cataract FAQ's

What are some causes of cataracts?

There are many known causes of cataracts including aging, diabetes, certain injuries to the eyes, certain congenital disorders, and some metabolic disorders.

How long does the procedure last? Is it painful?

The actual cataract procedure takes about 20 minutes, while the whole visit to the surgical center usually takes less than two hours. Patients arrive about an hour before the procedure and are given medications to induce relaxation and eye drops to anesthetize the eye and dilate the pupil. During the procedure, the old lens is removed and the new lens implant is inserted through a tiny incision. There is a sensation of pressure on the eye, but little or no pain. After surgery, more eye drops are applied to prevent infection and decrease inflammation. A protective patch is usually placed over the eye. Once home, the patient should rest and avoid any strenuous activities. The doctor will examine the eye the next day and advise the patient on the appropriate course of recovery, which will include continuing eye drops for a few weeks and avoiding strain on the eye until it is thoroughly healed. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

How soon does vision improve after cataract eye surgery?

Distance vision will usually be very good within a few days to a week after surgery. Return of near vision may take longer and depends upon which lens was selected for the procedure. Some patients still require glasses or contact lenses with a mild prescription for optimal vision. Some patients achieve better vision improvement than others, but virtually all will see better with lens replacement than without. Implant surgery is intended to correct deficiencies in the eye’s lens, and will not help with vision problems related to other parts of the eye, such as floaters, flashes, or visual field loss. This information is general and not intended to apply completely and specifically to any individual patient.

Anesthesia for cataract surgery?

During cataract surgery, you will remain awake and receive local anesthesia in the form of eye drops and receive a sedative or other medications to help you relax. Pros of cataract surgery anesthesia include the ability to numb potential pain and keep you comfortable during the procedure. Usually, the less medication the better. Your doctor will work with you to decide on the proper dosage and level of anesthesia that will be right for. To prepare for cataract surgery and anesthesia, you will need to follow your doctor’s instructions. Refrain from eating or drinking after midnight the night before, take any necessary medications as directed, and be sure you have someone to drive you home from the procedure. Cataract surgery is relatively quick and noninvasive. Anesthesia can make it even more seamless, although there are some potential risks for both surgery and anesthesia.

What is the likelihood of complications for cataract eye surgery, and what might they be?

The standard cataract surgical procedure is performed on more than 3 million eyes each year, and has proven extremely safe. However, there is always a chance of complication with even the most routine surgery. Most complications, such as minor infections, inflammation, and irritation, are temporary and easily treated. Serious sight-threatening complications, such as infection, hemorrhaging, or retinal detachment, are extremely rare. About 98 percent of cataract surgery patients experience no complications and more than 95 percent achieve improved vision. As with all surgical procedures, the eye doctor will perform a thorough examination and provide a complete evaluation of expected results and possible complications.

How soon after lens implant surgery will I be able to resume normal activities?

Most patients require only a few days to resume normal activities, with some limitations and adjustments. Some sensitivity to touch and bright lights should not deter most patients from driving and returning to work. Patients are given medications to prevent infection and control inflammation. A protective shield is advisable while sleeping; sunglasses can provide protection during the day. For several days after surgery, patients should avoid any lifting or straining, which can increase pressure in the eye. Rubbing or pushing of the eye, and any situation that could result in being hit in the eye, are also to be avoided. Careful showering and shampooing are permitted, as long as no soap or shampoo touches the eye. Any makeup around the eye should be avoided for several weeks. Public swimming pools, hot tubs, and other potential sources of infection/contamination should also be avoided. When in doubt, the patient should consult their doctor for guidelines regarding post-surgical activities.

When can I return to exercising?

Discomfort from cataract surgery is typically minor and may only last a few days. This can make it tempting to go right back to your previous level of activity. It is important to wait at least 10 days before doing any strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting or exercise. Try not to lift anything heavier than 5 to 10 pounds, and keep your head above your body. Avoid swimming or hot tubs for at least 3 weeks. It is important to follow all instructions and recommendations your doctor gives you for a normal recovery.

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Do you have Cataracts?

Learn more about cataracts and if it may be time for cataract surgery by requesting a cataract consultation at LaserVue Eye Center in Santa Rosa & San Francisco, CA, with our doctors today!

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San Francisco

LaserVue LASIK and Laser Eye Surgery Center San Francisco
711 Van Ness Ave Suite 320,
San Francisco, CA 94102
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-415-346-5500

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Business Location
3540 Mendocino Ave. #200,
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-707-522-6200

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Business Location
3540 Mendocino Ave. #200,
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-707-522-6200

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