How Long Does Cataract Surgery Take?

January 1, 2024


If you are noticing difficulty driving at night, reading the menu in a dim restaurant, or applying make-up, you are most likely experiencing early symptoms of cataract, a common condition that results from age-related clouding of the natural lens inside your eye.  By age 75, more than 50% of Americans have cataracts. Most people will eventually need cataract surgery, a procedure to remove the cloudy lens, replace it with a clear artificial implant, and restore your vision with minimal interruption of your daily activities. 

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts form as the clear lenses in your eyes experience the effects of aging. First, proteins in the lens begin to stiffen causing the lens to lose flexibility, and the proteins clump together, causing it to become more opaque and harder to see through. People with cataracts often notice that their vision gradually becomes more blurry and that colors lose their vibrance. People also commonly experience halos or glare around lights, particularly at night. 

Cataract Costa Mesa & Orange County

How Does Cataract Surgery Work?

Once the aging process has begun, your cataracts will continue to worsen over time. While you may be able to get by with updating glasses for a while, most people will eventually need cataract surgery. This procedure works by replacing the damaged natural lenses with artificial implants that will remain clear for a lifetime. During the procedure, the capsule containing the lens is opened, the natural lens is removed, and an artificial lens is inserted in its place. The incision is so small that it usually does not require any sutures and will heal rapidly. 

How Long Does Cataract Surgery Take?

Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed of all medical subspecialties, with 3.7 million cases performed per year.  Cataract surgery is a common procedure that eye surgeons like Dr. Jennifer Wu perform on a regular basis. Your eyes will be numbed with drops to prevent you from feeling anything. You may see lights during the procedure, which usually takes less than 30 minutes per eye

Twilight sedation is provided during the surgery to relieve anxiety.  Dr. Wu and her team strive to ensure your comfort throughout the surgery. The procedure is quick and comfortable, with most people finding it took less time and was more comfortable than they expected. 

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How Long is Recovery From Cataract Surgery?

You can expect some irritation and light sensitivity that last a few days. Your vision will become clearer after this time, but you may have glare and blurriness lasting up to a few weeks. Dr. Wu will prescribe eye drops and may recommend eye shields at night to prevent accidental rubbing. 

Most people return to work in two or three days. However, you should avoid getting water or dust in your eyes for a week and limit strenuous exercise during this time. Using your eye drops is important to ensure your healing. 

How Long Will My Cataract Surgery Results Last?

One great advantage of cataract surgery is that your artificial lenses should last a lifetime. This IOL (intraocular lens) never experiences the effects of aging and will remain clear. In addition, these lenses will never become stiff, keeping you from developing age-related nearsightedness called presbyopia. 

Am I a Good Candidate for Cataract Surgery?

The majority of adults will have cataract surgery at some point. Most people above the age of 65, are good candidates for this common, low-risk procedure. However, you should not have cataract surgery if you have certain medical conditions affecting your eyes. Individuals who do not yet have cataracts can undergo a procedure called Refractive Lens Exchange, also known as Clear Lens Exchange, to prevent cataracts from developing and enjoy the benefits of an artificial lens implant sooner. 

Dr. Wu is one of the best Healthcare providers I’ve had to pleasure and good fortune to me. She is a straight shooter and takes personal ownership of your eyecare needs. She is a pleasure to work with her for my wife and son’s medical needs. I highly recommend Dr. Wu.
Jim L.

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Want to know more about cataract surgery? Please fill out the form on this page or call (949) 208-9090 to schedule your appointment.

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