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Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Is Cataract Surgery Major Surgery?

by Damion Wasylow 6 February 2022 06:51 AM

patient consulting with eye doctor about surgical procedure
Cataract surgery is among the safest and most effective surgical procedures in the world. It’s performed approximately 4 million times each year in the United States alone.

While no surgery should be taken lightly, cataract surgery is not considered a “major” medical procedure. In fact, cataract surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning patients are released to return home the same day. And while cataract surgery is a relatively minor procedure, patients should educate themselves about what to expect and then select a surgeon with the right credentials and proven experience.

Major versus Minor Surgery

Major surgery is generally defined by the medical community as any invasive procedure that typically causes enough trauma to require an overnight or extensive recovery stay in a hospital. Major surgeries include procedures such as cardiac surgeries, joint replacements and appendectomies, among others.

Minor surgery is generally defined as any surgery that doesn’t rise to the definition of a major surgery. In minor surgeries, there is no need for the surgeon to open the body cavity, neither breathing assistance nor general anesthesia are typically required, and recovery does not require hospitalization. In all these regards, cataract surgery meets the definition of minor surgery.

Cataract Surgery Procedure and Recovery

During a cataract surgery procedure, the surgeon replaces the patient’s cataract-damaged natural eye lens with an artificial intraocular lens implant. The procedure requires only local anesthesia, temporarily numbing just a very small portion of the patient’s face, while the patient remains awake throughout the procedure.

Following the procedure, patients are fitted with a protective eye shield and taken into a recovery room while their eyes adjust to the new lens. Typically after just 30-60 minutes, patients are released to be driven home. Once home, they will wear the eye shield off and on as directed for a few days. During this time, vision may be cloudy or blurred. Depending on the patient, that can clear almost immediately or within a week or two.

Who Performs Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery should only be performed by a trained and skilled ophthalmologist. Some ophthalmologists, like Drs. Gregory Snodgrass and Matthew Gray, specialize in the procedure, and have performed thousands of successful cataract surgeries.

When selecting the right cataract surgeon for you, ask about their training, experience and resources, as well as the types of cataract surgery they offer. You may find laser-assisted cataract surgery preferable to traditional surgery, if offered by your ophthalmologist.

You may also want to consider their personality. You’ll likely visit with your ophthalmologist a few times prior to and following your cataract surgery, so it helps to find an ophthalmologist with whom you’re comfortable.

If you or a loved one is considering cataract surgery, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule a consultation.



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