Frequently Asked Questions
At birth, our natural lens is clear, but as we age it yellows and hardens and eventually becomes cloudy. The cloudy lens is referred to as a cataract. At first, this clouding doesn’t interfere with vision, but gradually began to impact how well you see. Left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. Most cataracts occur as a result of the natural aging process, but cataracts can also form as a result of injury or as a complication of glaucoma and diabetes. Learn more about cataracts. >>
Symptoms that could indicate the presence of a cataract include:
If you are over 55 years old, cataract surgery with lens implant replacement should be an option you consider if vision has become cloudy, if you’re having trouble seeing well to drive at night, if you notice rings or starbursts around lights, or if you’ve become more sensitive to sunlight. Lens replacement can provide a fuller range of vision than you currently enjoy, unlike monovision with contacts or LASIK. Lens implant surgery is a permanent vision correction procedure that will only need to be done once, and will last the remainder of your lifetime.
Once you and Dr. Grayson have decided that you will have your lens replaced during cataract surgery, a complete eye health exam will be performed, and your eye will be measured to determine the proper power of the intraocular lens that will be placed in your eye.
Your cataract surgery procedure will be performed in an outpatient surgery center. You will be in the center for approximately three hours on surgery day. You will be given medications to relax you and numb your eyes. A local anesthetic will make the operation virtually painless.
The skin around your eye will be thoroughly cleansed, and sterile coverings will be placed around your head. Under an operating microscope, a small incision is made into the eye and your natural lens will be gently removed using an ultrasound instrument. The new lens will be placed in your eye through this same tiny incision. A stitch is occasionally needed to close this small incision.
When the operation is over, we will usually place a shield over your eye. After a short stay in the outpatient recovery area, you will be ready to go home. Plan to have someone drive you home. You will return to our office for a post-operative visit the next day. You will notice an improvement in your vision at that time which will continue to sharpen over the next 30 days.
You will get the full benefit of a multifocal or accommodating IOL when it is implanted in both eyes. Please discuss with Dr. Grayson your work and hobby considerations so that he can recommend the optimal IOL for you.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved. These risks may include infection, retinal detachment, an increase in eye pressure, reactions to medicines and vision changes. Dr. Grayson will discuss all risks and benefits with you before your surgery.
There is a small chance that your vision could be made worse by the operation, especially if bleeding or infection occur. These risks are rare and should be weighed against the potential benefits of restoring your vision. Please read the informed consent that will be provided to you for additional information
Common side effects include redness, scratchiness to the eye, and light sensitivity. In addition, you may have glare, rings around lights, and blurred vision. These side effects may make it more difficult to see while driving at night or working in low light for a period of time after your procedure. These side effects generally resolve over time.
Procedures considered “elective” are usually not covered under your health insurance. However, Flex plans typically cover most of our services. We will be happy to check with your insurance carrier or Flex plan to help determine what they will pay. We also have financing through Care Credit, which offers interest-free options.
The surgery itself is painless. There are no needles, instead anesthetic drops numb the eyes during the procedure and if needed you will be given something to help you relax. After surgery, patients go home, relax for the rest of the evening and then usually return to their normal routine the next day. When I ask about their comfort level, most say they couldn’t believe how easy the whole experience was. Others feel some eye irritation, such as a foreign body sensation and itching for 12 to 24 hours. If you are concerned about pain, we can provide a prescription for pain relief.
The actual laser treatment lasts about 2 minutes per eye. The advantage this offers is increased comfort for you during treatment, as well as quicker healing times and better post operative results.
Any surgery involves risks, however LASIK is the most common elective surgery in the world, and very safe. When you come in for your consultation, we will review any risks involved in your specific case.
LASIK treatment offers a permanent change to your cornea. This tissue won’t “grow back”. However, your eyes will continue to age, and as you reach your 40s and 50s, you may think the effect of LASIK is somehow wearing off. In truth, it is not your cornea that is changing. It is the lens in your eye that is aging, becoming harder and cloudier. This occurs whether or not you have had LASIK, as is part of the natural aging process. You should make an appointment with us to determine options. This might include a LASIK touch-up, corrective contact lenses or glasses, or a lens removal and implant procedure.
Yes, but it is unlikely that you will need to wear contacts. The laser we use was selected for its ability to deliver vision beyond what you can achieve with glasses or contacts. Occasionally, corrections are needed for certain part-time activities and in these cases, glasses are usually chosen.
LASIK is a safe and effective way to eliminate, or greatly reduce, your need for glasses. The technology has been continuously improved for over 20 years, and has now reached a level of accuracy, safety and reproduceability that is considered complete. LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, from low to quite-high levels. LASIK is best completed as a young adult – under the age of 30 – so you get the maximum benefit of glasses-free vision before eyes begin to change again in your late 40s. Still, if eyes are healthy, LASIK can be performed from age 18-70, based on the patient’s wishes. Learn more about LASIK >>
There are many new options for people who have been told they are not candidates for LASIK. First of all, if it’s been more than a year since you were evaluated, or you were seen elsewhere, you need a free evaluation at Eye Care Northwest to learn about other excellent new choices. I am certified for every lens implant and multifocal IOL on the market. One of these may be right for you. The multifocal IOL is ideal for many people over 45 and those who need cataract surgery. You can learn more on the Lens Replacement page. Lens implants are typically for those who are very nearsighted or have thin corneas.
Dry eye occurs when your eye does not produce tears properly, or when your tears are not the proper consistency which causes them to evaporate too quickly. Often, dry eye can cause the surface of your eye to become inflamed, leading to pain or damage to the cornea, if left untreated. As a Dry Eye Center of Excellence, we offer several dry eye treatments, from simple to surgical. We recommend you visit us for a Dry Eye Assessment and LipiView analysis, so we can diagnose the reasons for your dry eye, and discuss treatment options. Learn more about Dry Eye treatments.