Cataract Surgery Process

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New Eyes offers both traditional cataract surgery and SMART cataract surgery, which involves less invasive laser techniques to remove the cataracts. Once you have been evaluated, our experienced cataract surgeon will talk with you about your options and determine the best treatment plan for your unique needs.

This cataract surgery process page has been written to assist you in learning more about cataract surgery, and aid you in preparation for a visit to a New Eyes office where you will have your eyes examined. Based on the results of your eye exam, you and your doctor at New Eyes will decide on the best type of treatment choice for you. If you are diagnosed with a cataract and decide to have a cataract surgery done by one of our eye doctors here at New Eyes—Dr. Helga F. Pizio, Dr. Ksenia Stafeeva, or Dr. Emily Schorr—we will advise you about the risks and benefits of the surgical procedure for cataract removal and intraocular lens (IOL) implantation.

It is important for you to understand ahead of time that no guarantee can be made as to how well a patient will see after a cataract surgery, and that results may differ from what was predicted or planned. Eyeglasses or contact lenses may still be required for best vision after a cataract surgery.

This is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me concerning my health in years! My sight was so bad & the results of my cataract surgery has enriched my life in ways unbelievable good! I am so grateful to Dr. Pizio & her excellent staff of office workers & the surgical center was superb! I HIGHLY recommend this group to anyone who requires this life changing procedure! CHEERS!
A. Grabin
March 10, 2017

What Is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a procedure designed to remove cataracts from the eyes. During cataract surgery, your surgeon makes small incisions in the cornea (the “clear window” of the eye) and the lens capsule, which is a thin membrane that surrounds the eye’s natural lens. Since cataracts cause the lens to become clouded, it must be gently broken down and removed in order to restore clear vision. A specialized device called an intraocular lens (IOL) can then be placed to act as the eye’s new lens. IOLs come in a variety of types—prior to surgery, your surgeon can work with you to help you select the IOL that is right for you.

Types of Cataract Surgery

There are two main types of cataract surgery: traditional and SMART Cataract Surgery. Both methods can remove cataracts for improved vision, and are considered safe and effective. With traditional cataract surgery, the small incisions in the cornea and lens capsule are made by hand (with a scalpel). During SMART Cataract Surgery, an advanced laser is used in place of a scalpel to make ultra-precise incisions. In a one-on-one consultation, your New Eyes surgeon can discuss the benefits and limitations of each approach and help you determine which technique is most appropriate.

Cataracts Surgery Procedure

Lens Replacement Options

Based on your unique lifestyle, Dr. Pizio, Dr. Stafeeva, Dr. Fajardo, or Dr. Schorr can help you choose an intraocular lens (IOL) that best suits you. There are a number of lens replacement options available from our practice that can help patients reduce the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses following cataract surgery, including:

  • Monofocal Lenses
  • A monofocal lens is the most common type of IOL for patients who have cataract surgery. This artificial lens can address either distance vision or close vision.
  • Accommodating Lenses
  • Accommodating lenses are often ideal for patients who have trouble seeing objects clearly at a far distance. To some extent, these lenses can also help improve vision at intermediate distances. This type of IOL is able to “accommodate” focal points between certain distances so that the object in sight appears more clearly.
  • Multifocal Lenses
  • Multifocal lenses are versatile lens replacement options that offer patients the ability to see at a range of distances without the need for corrective lenses. These can be very useful for patients who have difficulty seeing objects at near, intermediate, and far distances.

Learn More About IOL Options

Eye Exam

Your complete eye examination at a New Eyes office will include dilation of the pupils to fully examine the health of your eyes and determine if surgery is needed. Some people have a hard time driving following eye dilation and it is recommended that you bring someone to drive you home. In the case that you need a cataract surgery, we will perform measurements called biometry to determine the proper power of the implanted IOL. We may also perform additional testing necessary prior to your surgery based on the health of your eyes and your particular need. While the method used to calculate the power of the IOL is very accurate, in rare cases the final result may be different from what was planned. Patients who are highly nearsighted or highly farsighted have the greatest risk of differences between planned and actual outcomes. Patients who have had LASIK or other refractive surgeries done prior to their cataract surgery are especially difficult to measure precisely.

Preparing for Cataract Surgery

After your cataract evaluation exam is completed you may be scheduled for cataract surgery pending your insurance authorization. Some patients may require additional retina or cornea examination prior to scheduling for a surgery. The cataract surgery will not be performed during your first visit to our office. The New Eyes surgery coordinator will give you surgical dates to choose from that fit with your schedule. When you reserve a surgery appointment, you will receive a surgery folder which contains the information related to your cataract surgery: date, time, location, pre-operative instruction sheet, cataract surgery Informed Consent Form, etc. We will require that you read, understand and sign the Informed Consent Form prior to your surgery. You can take it home with you and mail it back to New Eyes office. The surgery will not be performed unless we have your signed Informed Consent Form on file prior to your surgery. The cataract surgery will be performed by Dr. Helga F. Pizio, Dr. Ksenia Stafeeva, Dr. Roman Fajardo, or Dr. Emily Schorr at one of the surgery centers approved by your insurance. A surgery center is a different facility than New Eyes practice and is at a different physical location.


The Cataract Surgery Procedure

Cataract surgery can typically be performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure involves a small incision to remove the cataract. The incision usually heals rapidly with minimal discomfort, and patients are often very quickly back to normal daily activities. Please note that New Eyes offers both traditional cataract surgery and SMART cataract surgery, which involves less invasive laser techniques to remove the cataracts. Once you have been evaluated, our experienced cataract surgeon will talk with you about your options and determine the best treatment plan for your unique needs.

During cataract surgery, one of our surgeons will remove the clouded natural lens and replace it with an artificial, intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL will permanently serve as the eye’s new lens. It is important to note that cataract surgery cannot treat the effects of conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or age-related macular degeneration. While many individuals who have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism will still need corrective eyewear following cataract surgery, some patients may benefit from advanced types of IOLs that can accommodate for those types of refractive errors. Our doctor will talk with you about your options during your initial consultation.

Cataract surgery is typically performed on one eye at a time; surgery on the other eye can be performed one to two weeks later.

Cataract Removal Surgery Procedure

Cataracts Surgery Cost

At New Eyes, we customize cataract surgery to meet each patient’s specific needs, so the overall cost of cataract surgery can vary. Most types of insurance, including Medicare, will cover a portion of the cost. The final price of cataract surgery will depend on a variety of factors, which can include:

  • Insurance coverage
  • Surgical technique (traditional or SMART Cataract Surgery)
  • Type of IOL used
  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Anesthesia, facility, and equipment fees
  • Pre-operative exams
  • Post-op care and medications

To help make the cost of cataract surgery more manageable, we offer financing options through CareCredit®, which provides patients with the ability to make monthly payments with low or no interest rate.

Cataract Surgery Complications and Risks

Any surgery has associated risks, and cataract surgery is no exception. However, at New Eyes, cataract surgery is a very effective procedure with an extremely low rate of possible complications. Our surgeons utilize the latest advancements in cataract surgery, including laser technology, to minimize risks and maximize visual results. In very rare cases, patients may experience infection, bleeding, permanent dilation of the pupil, corneal edema, or retinal detachment. Your New Eyes cataract surgeon will detail all associated risks of the treatment specific for you during the initial consultation and explain the many procedures we have in place to minimize those risks. Dr. Pizio, Dr. Stafeeva, Dr. Fajardo, and Dr. Schorr are the cataract surgery leaders in Southern Nevada. We will make every effort to maximize the chances for a safe and effective surgery, leading to successful cataract removal and improved vision after the procedure.

Cataract Surgery Recovery

After cataract surgery, our team here at New Eyes will provide you with detailed instructions on the recovery process. You will be given some special eye drops to use for about three weeks after the procedure in order to facilitate healing. We will also make sure that you have follow-up visits scheduled as needed during the first few weeks and months after surgery. Most patients who have cataract surgery are able to resume normal daily routines within one week after the procedure.

If you would like more information on cataract surgery, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for an eye evaluation here at our practice, please contact New Eyes today.

Post Operative

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Cataract Surgery FAQ

Do I need to contact my primary physician before cataract surgery?
No, not all patients require a health evaluation from their primary care physician before undergoing cataract surgery. To minimize risk and achieve the best results, in general, patients should be in good overall health. We can request your primary care physician, if necessary, clear you for cataract surgery. If you do not have a primary care physician, a member of our team can refer you to a general practitioner.
What about retinal clearance for patients with history of eye diseases or current conditions?
The initial visit with your surgeon is critical in the planning of a successful cataract procedure. A thorough examination is performed to determine the health of the eye and, in particular, the status of the retina which is the tissue in the eye responsible for the sharpness of vision. For patients with a newly discovered retinal problem or patients with a potential issue such as extreme near-sightedness, a clearance from a retinal specialist may be necessary before cataract surgery.
Am I too old for cataract surgery?
With the many advances that have been made in the field of cataract surgery, patients who have even reached the 100-year mark can have successful cataract procedures! Depending on the individual patient’s overall health and unique needs, there is generally no age limit for cataract surgery.
How long can cataract surgery be postponed?
Although there is no age limit as to when you should have cataract surgery, it is best not to delay surgery for too long once you become symptomatic. When cataracts are affecting your vision, you may consider scheduling surgery sooner, rather than later. Postponing surgery allows the cataracts to continue to worsen, meaning your vision is further obstructed. Additionally, the cataracts may harden over time, potentially making them more difficult to remove.
Will I be awake during my cataract surgery?
General anesthesia is not typically necessary for cataract surgery, so most patients remain conscious for the duration of the procedure. A topical numbing agent is used on the eye to maximize patient comfort. In some cases, our LenSx® Laser can also be used to further increase the efficiency of the cataract removal process, ultimately minimizing the duration of the procedure and increasing safety.
Does cataract surgery hurt?
Most patients report only minimal discomfort during cataract surgery, primarily when the topical anesthetic is applied to the eye. After this topical anesthetic takes effect, our New Eyes cataract surgeon will begin the procedure and patients should feel little to no discomfort. Some patients may experience a physical sensation on the eye, which can feel like pressure or “itchiness,” but it is not typically painful. After cataract surgery is complete, some patients may also experience mild to moderate headaches or a scratchy sensation that should resolve within 24 hours. If patients experience severe pain after surgery, they should contact us immediately.
How long does cataract surgery take?
The length of time for cataract surgery can vary slightly, depending on each patient’s case, as well as whether traditional or SMART cataract surgery techniques are used. However, on average, most cataract surgery procedures take approximately 10 to 20 minutes to perform. Following surgery, you will be sent to a recovery area, until the effects of anesthesia have worn off a bit. This usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
What is the difference between traditional and laser cataract surgery?

Traditional cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that requires a small manual incision on the surface of the cornea with blades to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an intraocular lens. This method of treating cataracts is still considered highly effective and is widely used. Patients who choose to undergo cataract surgery using the latest laser technology may benefit from a number of unique advantages. First, the LenSx® Femtosecond Laser allows our surgeons (Dr. Pizio, Dr. Stafeeva, Dr. Fajardo, or Dr. Schorr) to make bladeless incisions, enhancing the precision and safety of the procedure. Then, the ORA™ System with VerifEye+™ Technology is used to digitally scan and assess the eye. This data allows our cataract surgeon to make the most accurate and precise calculations possible when choosing the appropriate power of vision correction of the intraocular lens implant. When both of these advanced lasers are used together, the procedure is known as SMART Cataract Surgery, which is currently the most advanced way to correct cataracts back to best vision.

Learn more about the benefits of SMART Cataract Surgery.

How exactly do you determine which intraocular lens (IOL) will be most beneficial for my needs?

Our eye surgeons utilize laser testing in the office called “IOLMaster” to help predict the most effective IOL for your specific needs. For even more precise measurements important especially in SMART Cataract Surgery procedures, our doctors use Optiwave Refractive Analysis (ORA). ORA is an innovative laser measurement system designed to precisely and accurately measure the eye during the procedure to allow our doctor to predict the best IOL power possible. This is especially necessary in patients who have had previous RK or LASIK.

Learn more about SMART Cataract Surgery and ORA technology.

Are there alternatives to cataract surgery?
It is rarely an emergency to surgically remove a cataract. Most cataracts progress slowly over the years from sun exposure and simple wear-and-tear on the eye. Glasses and/or contact lenses can be utilized for a long time before surgery is necessary. Annual eye exams from your primary eyecare provider are very important to identify the early development of cataracts. Once a cataract has progressed to the level where it is affecting your normal daily activities despite best correction with glasses, then surgical removal of the cataract is the only way to restore vision.
Will I need someone to drive me home from cataract surgery?
Yes. Regardless of whether you undergo traditional or SMART cataract surgery, the IV sedation, pupil dilation, and topical anesthesia often leave you feeling slightly sleepy and your vision blurry for some time after the procedure. Our doctors require that you arrange for transportation home after your surgery.
How long until I can drive after cataract surgery?
Many patients feel safe to drive again 1-2 days after surgery, but this depends on your individual case. In your follow-up appointment, your surgeon can let you know whether or not it is safe to resume driving.
How long does it take for vision to clear after cataract surgery?
Although your vision may clear in as little as 1-2 days after cataract surgery, it may take anywhere from one to three months for the eyes to heal completely.
Will I need to wear eyeglasses following cataract surgery?
With the advances in technology we are now able to provide refractive cataract surgery. In refractive cataract surgery conditions like presbyopia, astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia can be treated at the time of your cataract surgery. Our practice offers a full range of intraocular lens options that are designed to reduce the need for corrective eyewear after cataract surgery based on patient’s individual prior condition and lifestyle needs. While some patients may still require reading glasses following cataract removal in order to see up close objects clearly, others may be able to see better than they have in years at a range of distances depending on needs and lens choice. Our eye surgeon will evaluate your eyes and determine whether you are a candidate for a specialty type of IOL that can minimize your reliance on eyeglasses after surgery.
If I do need eyeglasses after cataract surgery, how long should I wait before getting them?
Since your eyes will take several weeks to fully heal after cataract surgery, our surgeons typically recommend waiting approximately four weeks after surgery before getting an eye exam for your new glasses. Depending on your case, your surgeon may advise against driving until you receive your new glasses.
I’ve heard about cloudiness returning after cataract surgery — will I experience this?
Once the cataracts are removed, they rarely (if ever) return. In many cases, however, the lens capsule that surrounds your IOL may become clouded, ultimately affecting your vision. When this occurs, it seems as if the cataract is returning. Thankfully, this condition — referred to as capsular opacification — can be remedied fairly easily through a treatment with a specialized laser.

If you have further questions, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact New Eyes today.