Frequently Asked Questions

What you should know about cataract treatment

4 September 2019
Cataract patient and doctor discussing questions about cataract treatment.

There are a lot of questions you might have when it comes to cataracts and the associated treatment. Some of the most frequently asked questions are answered below. If you still wish to learn more about the disease or vision correction after reading through this overview and the website, please consult your ophthalmologist.


  • Unfortunately, a cataract cannot be treated with glasses or medication. The only effective method for treating a cataract is the surgical replacement of the eye’s clouded natural lens with an artificial one – called an intraocular lens (IOL).

  • You should consult an eye care professional to determine if you suffer from cataracts and how far progressed the condition is. You will decide together if you are eligible for cataract surgery.

  • Cataract surgery is considered one of the safest surgical procedures today. However, as with all medical treatments, some complications may occur. Your eye care specialist will thoroughly discuss the potential risks with you.

  • An important part of cataract surgery is finding the right doctor. There are many factors to consider, for example, the doctor’s experience, expertise and the technology used. Visit, research, and compare surgeons before choosing the one you are most comfortable with. When you talk to your doctors about cataract surgery, prepare some questions beforehand.

  • The surgery itself takes about 15 to 30 minutes and is performed in one eye at a time. Local anaesthesia is usually used. Typically, after a short observation period, you will be allowed to go home. It will not be possible to drive a car right after surgery.

  • If you have cataracts in both eyes, your doctor will usually schedule the second surgery a few weeks after the first surgery. However, it becomes more and more common to treat both eyes in one procedure, at the same day.

  • No, the procedure is painless. You will usually only receive drops of anesthesia to numb your eye during surgery. As your medication wears off after the procedure, you might feel some minor discomfort for a short time. This can easily be treated with over-the-counter pain medication.

  • Cataract surgery is permanent. The IOL does not have to be removed or replaced and can stay in the eye for the rest of the life.

  • A follow-up visit is necessary the day after surgery to check the state of your eye as well as answer any questions you might have. Additional examinations are typically scheduled over the following weeks to monitor the healing process.

  • Patients frequently notice a significant vision improvement immediately after surgery. However, some may also experience blurriness. It can take a few days for the eye to adjust and vision to improve.

    Multifocal lenses normally require more time to adjust than monofocal lenses - patients may experience visual phenomena like glare right after surgery. The visual phenomena will disappear or become less disturbing after a little while.

  • Following surgery, doctors may advise you to relax and avoid strenuous activities such as bending over or lifting. They may advise you not to overexert your eyes, so they have time to recover. For optimal healing, you should avoid rubbing or pressing your eye.

Intraocular lenses (IOLs)

  • Intraocular lenses are pretty small, with a diameter between 11 and 13 millimetres.

  • IOLs are made of acrylate; a soft, flexible and biocompatible material. The acrylate can be either tending to repel (hydrophobic) or to absorb water (hydrophilic).

  • To better match the unique requirements of each patient, modern IOLs offer added functions such as the correction of pre-existing refractive vision deficits. They can, for example, enable the patient better contrast vision (aspheric lenses) or correct astigmatism (toric lenses). The goal is to provide even better vision quality for specific distances after cataract surgery.

  • A spherical aberration is a visual effect that occurs when the light rays passing into the eye are not precisely focused at one single point on the retina. Spherical aberrations are a result of the aging process. If you are already suffering from spherical aberration or if you want to prevent this visual change, an aspherical IOL may be an option for you.

  • The special, not uniformly curved design of the aspheric IOLs enables them to correct spherical aberrations. With aspheric IOLs, the light rays entering the eye are once again sharply focused at a single point. The result is improved contrast sensitivity and enhanced image quality.

  • Astigmatism is a refractive error like near- or farsightedness. These errors are usually the result of an irregularly shaped cornea, and lead to light not being properly focused in your eye. Toric lenses can correct astigmatism.

  • The combination of a spherical and a cylindrical lens bends the light in each meridian differently. Therefore, the lens focuses all incoming light properly onto your retina to reduce or eliminate astigmatism while treating cataracts at the same time.

  • Selecting an IOL is a very personal matter. Not only should specific medical prerequisites be taken into account, but also the individuals needs and personal preferences of the patient. Consult with your eye care specialist to help select the IOL that is best for you.

  • Patients with monofocal and EDoF lenses may need to continue to wear glasses for certain activities. The majority of patients with trifocal lenses may have a good chance of not requiring glasses anymore.

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