Cataract Surgery

Dr. Steven Schendel, MD, FRSC (C), Ophthalmologist, discusses cataract surgery.

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Dr. Steven Schendel, MD, FRSC (C), Ophthalmologist, discusses cataract surgery.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Steven Schendel, MD, FRSC (C), Ophthalmologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 12 seconds

Right now there’s no way to deal with cataracts besides actually doing surgery, so despite all sorts of advances in medicine, cataracts remain a surgical disease.

And what that involves is patients have a topical anesthetic that means eye drops put on the surface of the eye, and we do have a procedure where we make a small incision in the surface and use a probe, an ultrasound based probe, to help break up the cataract and take it out of the eye.

Once the cataract’s been removed, we can put in an artificial lens into the place the cataract had sat, so into that same plain in the eye and that lasts for the rest of somebody’s life. So once your cataract is done it doesn’t need to be repeated.

Occasionally there can be a bit of a haze that grows in behind where we put in the artificial lens, but that can often be dealt with in the following months to years in the office if need be with a laser procedure.

Around the time of cataract surgery your ophthalmologist will often prescribe eye drops, so it’s important to continue to use those as your ophthalmologist requires and that might be for several weeks after the surgery.

It is important to keep any postoperative appointments that you have scheduled just so your ophthalmologist can make sure your eyes are recovering as they should be. I think an important thing to remember if you develop a lot of redness, discomfort, or decreased vision around the time of surgery, so those three things, if those occur suddenly, you should go back to see your eye surgeon right away because it could be an unlikely infection that can happen following surgery.

And that should prompt you to be seen right away. The prognosis following cataract surgery is excellent. In fact, it’s one of the most cost effective and functional surgeries that we have worldwide, so patients following the cataract surgery usually have a really nice outcome.

As I mentioned in the short-term, there’s usually some follow-up that needs to happen and occasionally patients note a bit of a foreign body sensation like a little bit of something is in the eye.

But that will resolve in the weeks following surgery, and the vast majority of patients are extremely happy following their cataract surgery, which makes us as ophthalmologists happy too.

If you have been having decreased vision or you’ve noticed some changes in your vision, and you suspect you might have cataracts or were told that you have early cataracts developing, it’s reasonable to go see your GP or optometrist and get a referral to an ophthalmologist for a full eye assessment.

Presenter: Dr. Steven Schendel, Ophthalmologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Ophthalmologist

Self-Assessment Quiz ( 6 participated.)

99-100 got 2 or more wrong


Cataracts always develop in both eyes at once.


Cataracts can affect both eyes or just one, and some patients experience mild symptoms, while others can barely see any shapes or movements.


Decreased night vision can be a symptom of cataracts.


Cataract symptoms include blurry vision, haloes, sensitivity to bright lights, decreased night vision, frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions, and faded colours.


Cataracts don't develop as a result of diseases such as diabetes.


Cataracts can be caused by trauma, diseases such as diabetes or medications such as steroids.


An outpatient surgical procedure is the treatment for cataracts.


If you’re diagnosed with a cataract, your ophthalmologist will recommend an outpatient surgical procedure.


There are two types of intraocular lenses.


There are two types of IOLs: monovision (fixed-focus for a preset distance) or multifocal (focused vision at various distances).

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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