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Please read this information carefully and completely. If you have any questions, ask your eye doctor. Your decision should be based on your own visual needs following a thorough consultation with your eye doctor. The purpose of the following information is to give you a general introduction to the potential problems and potential benefits of cataract surgery. Any decision regarding surgery should be made by you in consultation with your doctor.


Although the results of your surgery cannot be guaranteed, the expected benefit of cataract extraction is to improve vision to the extent allowed by removal of a cloudy lens. Cataract extraction is intended to remove a cloudy lens that is reducing your vision. Usually, an artificial lens is placed after removal of the cataract. The cataract procedure will not improve the condition of the cornea, retina or optic nerve and if these structures are responsible for decreased vision, the cataract extraction process will not improve those problems. The surgery is intended only to improve the optical clarity of the eye hopefully resulting in a useful improvement in vision. Specific results from this treatment cannot be guaranteed.


You will need to wear glasses at least some of the time after the cataract extraction procedure for either distance or reading vision or both in order to get the best possible vision. You should carefully discuss with your doctor any questions you have about how your vision will be with and without glasses. You and your doctor make a plan together to best fit your needs. More information on refractive issues is available.


Discomfort during surgery is unusual, and if it occurs additional pain relief medication is administered. After the surgery, irritation and minor aching is usually relieved by Tylenol or similar medication. If that is insufficient, call the doctor to discuss what should be done. Painful complications such as infection, high pressure, need for secondary surgeries or corneal abrasion occur infrequently.


Any surgical procedure carries potential risks. Cataract extraction may be followed by complications. Risks of cataract extraction include, but are not limited to, infection, bleeding, retinal detachment, dislocation of the cataract or lens implant, corneal clouding or scarring, macular swelling (edema), worsening of diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration, glaucoma (high pressure), inflammation, reduced or complete loss of vision or eye, corneal abrasion, astigmatism, need for laser after cataract extraction, need for additional surgical procedures, bruising from injection, irregular pupil, iris prolapse, drooping of eyelid, glare or reflections from lens implant, and need for glasses after surgery. Complications due to anesthetic injection or sedation are possible, due to drug reactions or other problems. These complications may involve other parts of your body, including the possibility of brain damage or even death. Rarely, the optic nerve may be damaged which can result in loss of sight. There is a possibility of hemorrhage or bleeding. In some cases, complications may occur weeks, months or even years later. Some complications could result in the need for more surgical procedures. One situation that is fairly common is for a “secondary cataract” to form, sometimes months but usually years after even perfectly performed surgery. This requires a laser treatment (also available at Marin Ophthalmic Surgery Center) to correct. Since it is not possible to list every potential complication that may occur as a result of any surgery, this list may be incomplete and there may be risks associated with laser surgery that are currently unknown. Contact your doctor with any problems noticed after the surgery, such as pain, light sensitivity, loss of vision, or unusual mattering or discharge from the operative eye. Many complications are manageable if caught early. You are responsible for reporting any symptoms and making arrangements to be evaluated.


You may elect not to have cataract extraction, or to postpone it. In this situation, it is expected your condition will stay the same, or worsen over time. Presently, there is no other known therapy for reduced vision from a cloudy cataract other than surgical removal. You will confer with your doctor as to the lens implant style and power options for your needs.