Published on June 01, 2018

Breaking down fears about cataract surgery

By Jessica Brewer, Lawrence Memorial Hospital

Using the latest technology in cataract surgery, Lawrence Eye Care surgeons are helping break down fears patients may have about the sight-restoring procedure. 

“A lot of people think the surgery is a daunting process, when it’s actually very quick and comfortable,” said Dr. Curtis Brown, who joined Lawrence Eye Care Surgeons last year. 

Curtis Brown, MD

On June 12, Dr. Brown will speak at LMH during the monthly Senior Supper and Seminar, providing attendees a review of the surgery and the technology that has simplified the procedure. 

A cataract is clouding of the natural lens inside an eye. The symptoms of cataracts can start to appear in adults as early as their 40s. Oftentimes, people don’t realize they have cataracts because of the often-slow progression of the clouding.

“People will come in with blurred vision,” Dr. Brown said. “Sometimes they didn’t pass their driver’s license exam and come to get it checked out.”

Cataracts are not predictable or preventable. Their development is typically a slow and gradual process – usually part of the aging process, Dr. Brown said. However, it’s possible an injury can cause a cataract to develop. 

The surgery lasts 15 minutes – sometimes less – and is performed on an outpatient basis. Dr. Brown said it is a surgery during which patients experience minimal discomfort. 

“The procedure used to take longer, patients were hospitalized,” Dr. Brown said. 

The surgery is now performed using either blades or laser to break apart the old, cloudy lens, which surgeons replace with a new artificial lens.

The recovery time for this procedure is brief. Patients are cautioned to not drive for at least 24 hours and not to lift heavy objects for one week following surgery. Another benefit of this surgery is that there is minimal irritation afterward. 

This surgery, considered one of the safest and most successful procedures, is a permanent solution to blurry vision. There are times however when the new lens can become foggy. This could occur weeks, months or even years after surgery.

“A film on the backside of the lens can form, and in that case we just have the patient come in and we use a laser to polish the back of the lens. This takes about two minutes to do,” Dr. Brown said.

Jessica Brewer is an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at LMH, which is a major sponsor of Lawrence Journal-World’s health section.

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Breaking down fears about cataract surgery