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Cataract Surgery in Las Vegas

Cataract surgery is the primary treatment for addressing the cloudiness in your lens known as a cataract. At NV Eye Surgery in Las Vegas and Henderson, we strongly believe in educating our patients about all the options and risks associated with any treatment. The resources on this page should address most questions and concerns around cataract surgery.

If you have any questions, or are interested in scheduling an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us by filling out the form below or calling (702) 745-7172.

What is a Cataract?

Your eye is amazing! The eye is designed to take in the images from the world around you, focus the light and provide a clear picture that is sent by electrical signals to the brain. The eye has a lens just like a camera that helps to focus the light and make a clear picture inside the eye. At birth, your natural lens is perfectly clear, just like glass.

As you age, the lens proteins start to break down and the lens becomes cloudy. This cloudy lens is known as a cataract. Many people have the misconception that a cataract is a film or cloudiness that develops in front of the eye. This is incorrect. A cataract is simply a cloudy lens. Cataract surgery is, therefore, a lens replacement surgery.

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

As cataracts develop, several visual symptoms may occur. Many of these symptoms are not noticed with early cataracts because they are mild and the visual changes occur gradually. Common cataract symptoms include:

When to Remove a Cataract?

Simple Steps to Better Vision

Many patients ask “When is the right time to remove a cataract?” The answer is very simple. The time for you to consider cataract surgery is when you feel dissatisfied with your vision. Here are some common scenarios that may lead you to consider cataract surgery:

A common misconception is that cataract surgery should not be done until the cataract is “ripe”. In reality, a cataract should be removed when it is causing visual symptoms. People are unique and there is a wide range of visual needs. Some people with visually demanding professions such as engineers and architects may notice even minor changes to their vision and be unhappy. Dr. DeBry will be able to help you determine when to remove a cataract.

What is the Treatment for a Cataract?

There is no cataract treatment such as drops or medications that can fully reverse the cloudiness in the lens that develops with age. Therefore, once the lens starts to turn cloudy and symptoms develop, the primary cataract treatment is surgery.

Many patients feel like they have turned back the clock a decade with their new cataract treatment.

Cataract Surgery FAQs

What Happens Before Cataract Surgery?

Generally, you can eat up until midnight the night prior to your surgery. In other words, no breakfast allowed including fluids such as milk or coffee. If your surgery is to take place later in the day, your surgeon may specify a different time. Please remember to not eat breakfast the morning of your procedure. It can be very frustrating to go through all the preparation and then have your procedure canceled or do the surgery with no sedation because you ate.

Yes, you should take your medications as usual unless directed to do otherwise by your surgeon. Many times, patients will arrive at the surgery center without having taken their medications and their blood pressure or blood sugar is elevated. In most cases, we are able to normalize these levels and perform the surgery as scheduled, but occasionally surgery is cancelled due to high blood pressure or blood sugar. If you need to take medications in the morning, drink only a sip of water with the medications.

If you are taking eye drops for glaucoma, it is very important to use them as usual unless your surgeon instructs you to do otherwise.

Most eye surgeons recommend that their patients start their medicated eye drops a few days before cataract surgery. There are several reasons that this may be beneficial. The antibiotic eye drop may decrease the number of bacteria living in your eye and reduce the risk of infection. The anti-inflammatory and steroid drops may help your eye to be more comfortable and heal quickly if started before the procedure. Finally, by starting the medications before your surgery, you will have a few days to work on any medication problems such as formulary restrictions or a pharmacy that needs to order the medication for you. If you are unable to start the medications prior to the surgery, do not be concerned. You are likely to have great results from the surgery even if the drops are started that day. Occasionally we get phone calls with panicked patients thinking that their surgery needs to get canceled because they forgot to take the eye drops.

What Should I Expect on the Day of Cataract Surgery?

You will require a driver on cataract surgery day. You will be receiving medications for sedation during the procedure and will not be able to operate a motor vehicle safely until the effects of these medications wear off in a few hours. You may feel normal and safe to drive, but for your safety and the safety of those around you, it is best to have the assistance of another driver on the day of surgery. If you arrive at the surgery center without a driver, your surgery may be canceled. If you run into difficulties finding a friend, neighbor, or family member who can drive you on your surgery day, please call our surgery scheduler. There are often community resources available that could help you get the required transportation.

On cataract surgery day, plan to arrive at the surgery center at the time indicated by your surgery scheduler. This is usually one hour prior to your scheduled surgery time. This will provide the staff enough time for checking you in and getting you prepared for the surgery. Please bathe or shower in the evening or the morning of your surgery. Avoid wearing makeup. Do not bring jewelry or valuables if possible. Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothes. Bring your eye medications so the nurses can confirm that you have the correct bottles.

When you arrive at the surgery center you will have some paperwork to fill out. Any co-pays or deductibles related to the surgery will also be collected. Please remember to bring a credit card or check book to the surgery center. Several things happen in the pre-operative area. This is where you will be prepared to have your surgery done. Your vital signs (blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, temperature) will be checked by a nurse. An IV line may be inserted to allow sedating medications to be administered before and during the procedure. You will also be given eye drops to help dilate your pupil to allow the surgeon a good view of the cataract. Other eye drops anesthetize the eye so you do not feel pain during the procedure. The nurses will have you lay on a bed where you can relax while you are waiting for your surgery appointment.

In the operating room, you will first be positioned properly for surgery. This is lying comfortably on your back with a small cushion under your head and neck. The anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will begin administering the relaxing medicines through your IV to help you feel comfortable. The perfect amount of sedation will make you comfortable but not asleep. Patients who get too much sedation can become confused and wake up suddenly with dangerous movements that could cause problems with the procedure. Therefore, we want you relaxed but not completely asleep. If you have a high level of anxiety, please share this with the anesthesiologist. In this case extra medications can be given. A nurse will then cleanse the skin around the eye with an antiseptic (Povidone iodine). After this is done, you will be covered with a sterile drape which covers your face and upper body. This can be a little claustrophobic but the drape is very light and there is plenty of air underneath. If you need to cough or clear your throat after the surgery has started, let your surgeon know before doing so.

A small wire (speculum) is used to keep your eye open during the surgery. You don’t have to worry about blinking because the speculum will hold your eye open. It is best for you to keep both eyes open during the procedure. Once the speculum is placed, your primary responsibility is to look straight ahead at the bright microscope lights at all times. This places your eye in the perfect position for the surgeon. The best way to avoid pain is to keep both of your eyes open and relaxed.

During the surgery, you will see bright lights. Some patients describe a kaleidoscope with lots of vibrant and beautiful colors. You may feel a pressure sensation as the cataract is removed and the new lens implant is inserted into your eye. You should not feel any sharp pain. If you experience pain, let your surgeon know and more medication can be given to help relieve the pain. This medication may burn slightly when it is given, but your eye will be numb in a few seconds. You will hear the buzz of the instrument used to break up the cataract and you may feel cool water on your face. These are all normal aspects of the surgery. A typical cataract surgery takes between 10 and 20 minutes. It usually done before you know it.

In the recovery area, the nursing staff will make sure you are stable before releasing you to your designated responsible party. You can have a drink and a little snack. They will also go over important information, including how to use your eye drops and what to do in the event of an emergency. Because you may still be sleepy, it is helpful to have another adult available to listen to the instructions. We will do all we can to make your cataract surgery day a smooth and gentle experience.

What Happens After the Surgery?

You will most likely have three follow-up appointments after your cataract surgery. Your first follow-up appointment is the day after your surgery. We also recommend that you have a driver for this visit. This is not an absolute requirement but is probably safer for you because of possible blurred vision. At this appointment, your vision and eye pressure will be checked, and detailed instructions will be given for the eye drops you will use. We generally expect that the vision will be a little blurry, but this should improve in the first few days following surgery. It is not unusual to have an elevated eye pressure for the first few days after the surgery. If the eye pressure is elevated, you may need to use an additional eye drop to help lower the pressure.

The second follow-up appointment usually takes place about 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Usually, the schedule for your eye drops will be changed at this appointment and reviewed with you. Your eye may be dilated again at this appointment to allow a thorough examination of the retina.

The final follow-up appointment happens about 1 month after the cataract surgery. At this appointment, you will be checked for a prescription for eyeglasses. Most patients at this appointment will be instructed to stop using all of the surgery-related eye drops.

In general, your eye should feel better and have better vision each day after the surgery. If a day or two passes and you notice worsening symptoms of pain, redness, or blurred vision, contact your doctor immediately.

Your surgeon bears primary responsibility for making sure that your surgery has the best outcome. You will almost always see your surgeon on the day after the surgery. If you have a family optometrist, they can also see you for some of your post-operative care. You might choose to have follow-up visits with your optometrist if their office is more conveniently located, or you have a relationship with that doctor that would make your follow-up care more comfortable in their office. Shared post-operative care is known as co-management. If you choose to have your follow-up care with your optometrist, it is important that you know that you can return to your surgeon at any time or with any problems.

Modern cataract surgery has a very quick recovery and there are minimal activity restrictions.

  • Do not rub your eye for at least the first week after surgery. If you rubbed your eye you could push open the incision and cause an infection.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for one week after the surgery such as lifting heavy rocks in the garden, or high impact exercise. Normal household activities are generally safe.
  • There are no restrictions with bending or lifting most household objects.
  • You may bathe or shower the day after your surgery. Keep your eye closed while you shower and avoid getting water to directly into the eye.
  • You should not swim or bathe with your face under the water for one week after the procedure. You can be in a pool if you keep your head above water.

After cataract surgery, most patients with healthy eyes end up having vision that would allow them to pass the DMV vision test without eyeglasses. Many patients are amazed by the brightness of colors and the clarity of their vision. Most people find that after cataract surgery they are able to perform their normal distance visual tasks without a significant need for glasses. Things we hear…

  • Doctor, I didn’t notice how dirty my house was! Now I can see the dirt on the floor and have to do a deep house cleaning.
  • Doctor, I looked in my closet and found out that my black dress is really navy blue. Colors are so bright now.
  • I can see the rocks and trees on the mountains miles away.

Within a few days after your cataract surgery, your vision will likely have improved to a point where you see better without glasses. If this is your first cataract surgery and you are nearsighted or farsighted, you probably will still need your glasses to sharpen the vision in your other eye. This can feel awkward because one eye needs glasses and the other one does not. A good way to cope with the change in your vision is to remove the lens from your glasses in front of the surgical eye. If you have difficulty doing this at home, most glasses stores such as LensCrafters can help you. Another option is to just keep your glasses on in which case the surgical eye will not see clearly, or remove the glasses completely in which case the nonsurgical eye cannot see clearly. If you have a cataract in the other eye, doing that surgery within a few weeks can start the recovery process faster and help give you equal vision.

Costs of Cataract Surgery

There are some common questions asked about the cost of cataract surgery. They include:

Let’s talk about each of these categories to help you understand the costs associated with cataract surgery:

Some people think that a cataract is a vision problem and therefore should be covered under their vision insurance. This is incorrect. Cataract is a medical problem and therefore cataract surgery is a covered procedure under Medicare and other medical insurance plans. To be covered by insurance the cataract needs to be causing symptoms that are interfering with your daily activities. Your medical insurance will pay for the cataract procedure with the standard co-pay and deductibles applied.

At NV Eye Surgery we offer cataract surgery at competitive pricing, usually $1000 less expensive than any other clinic in Las Vegas or Henderson for cash pay cataract surgery. We are able to do this because our surgeries are done in our office-based surgery suite. This is significantly less expensive than a surgery done in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Our fee includes 90 days of post-operative care. Packages with special lenses such as a toric IOL or multifocal IOL have additional costs.

The newest technology used with cataract surgery is laser-assisted surgery. With this technology a laser is used to make the incisions, break up the cataract for easier removal, and treat any existing astigmatism. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is more expensive due to the technology behind the laser equipment. The laser makes detailed maps of the eye and incisions with a precision of less than a hundredth of a millimeter. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is a great option for people interested in achieving the best vision with the most effective technology.

If you have a tight budget and are looking for ways to save money with your surgery there are a few options to consider. One useful way to save money is with “Dropless” cataract surgery. With dropless surgery an antibiotic and a steroid medication are inserted into the eye after the procedure. With this technique no post-operative eye drop medications are required. This may save anywhere from $45 to $300 depending on your insurance plan. Another consideration would be to have both eyes done on the same day; this is called bilateral sequential cataract surgery. If you had planned on surgery in both eyes this will save up to 25% for the procedures. Finally, as mentioned above, if you have a high deductible then using our office-based surgery suite can save up to $500 per surgery. Please call our office if you are interested in more details.

Medicare and other health plans will cover cataract surgery. This coverage includes the surgeon fee, the anesthesia fee, and the facility fee. New technologies often offered with cataract surgery to enhance the vision are not covered by health insurance and add some additional cost to the procedure. Extra services can include…

  • Laser-assisted cataract surgery
  • Astigmatism correction with a Toric lens implant
  • Multifocal IOL lens implants to improve the range of vision without glasses
  • Astigmatism correction with limbal relaxing incisions of the cornea with a blade or laser
  • ORA technology for improving IOL power accuracy with lens implantation

Some cataract surgeons market new technology such as multifocal lens implants as being better than standard monofocal lenses and their support staff encourage people to pay extra for these services. The reality is that multifocal or extended depth of focus lenses are NEWER technology, but they are not necessarily BETTER technology. Each lens has positive and negative aspects. While the multifocal IOL has a better range of focus, and less need for reading glasses, the trade off with these lenses is some glare at night and reduced contrast with certain lighting situations. For some people who want to avoid reading glasses, this trade off is better. But for people who don’t mind wearing reading glasses, a monofocal IOL may actually give sharper and clearer vision. Before you plan on spending more for your surgery, it is important to take time to decide what is important for you and how your needs can best be served with each lens option.

NV Eye Surgery and Dr. Peter DeBry are excited to offer the Alcon Panoptix lens as a premium lens choice for patients in Henderson and Las Vegas seeking cataract surgery. The Panoptix lens is the first multifocal lens approved by the FDA with 3 focal points, allowing patients to do more tasks without glasses than any other Intraocular lens (IOL) on the market! During cataract surgery an IOL is inserted to replace the cloudy lens that was removed. Conventional monofocal IOL’s have a single focal point, providing clear vision at only one distance. Therefore, people with monofocal IOL’s require glasses for many daily activities. For example, if an IOL is set for distance vision, then glasses are required for computer work and reading. Multifocal IOL’s have special optics that allow them to focus light at more than one distance. Most Multifocal IOL’s on the market have 2 focal points. With 3 focal points the Panoptix lens allows people to see more clearly at more distances without glasses. Multifocal IOL’s do have some tradeoffs to be aware of. A multifocal IOL causes some glare or halos when driving at night and slightly reduces the contrast. These lenses should only be implanted in eyes that are completely healthy and without any eye diseases. Multifocal lenses are not covered by Medicare or other insurance companies and add additional cost to cataract surgery fees.

In their response to questions in a clinical study with the PanOptix® Lens:

  • 99% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would choose the same lens again
  • 98% of people with the PanOptix® Lens would recommend it to family and friends
  • When asked how often they needed eyeglasses to see in the last seven days, 80.5% of people with the PanOptix® Lens reported that they never used them and 11.4% reported that they rarely used them

The Vivity lens is a new artificial lens (IOL) available for patients having cataract surgery. Just like there are different models and manufacturers of cars and refrigerators, there are different models and manufacturers of Intraocular lenses. The Vivity IOL is designed to give your eye a better range of focus compared to a standard monofocal IOL that is only focused at a single distance. The Vivity lens is considered an Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) lens. The benefit of an EDOF lens is a better range of focus which will help you to see more things without glasses. As compared with a multifocal IOL the Vivity lens will have less negative side effects such as glare and halos around lights at night. The Vivity lens may not focus as close as the Panoptix lens so you may still need glasses for some near tasks such as reading small print. The Vivity lens is considered a high technology IOL so there is an extra cost for this lens that your medical insurance will not cover.

Situation Panoptix Vivity
Near Vision +++ +
Intermediate Vision +++ +++
Distance Vision +++ +++
Glare or Halos at night some minimal

If you are interested in a high technology IOL designed to give you a better range of vision than the standard monofocal IOL, then you have two great options with the Vivity or Panoptix lenses. In general we recommend the Panoptix lens for all patients with a healthy eye who are willing to adapt to some glare and halos at night. The Panoptix IOL is a true trifocal lens which gives you good focus at near, intermediate, and distance. If your eye is not perfectly healthy and has mild medical conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or macular pucker/ERM then the Vivity lens may be a better option for you. The Vivity lens is also the best lens for patients who have glare as one of their main cataract complaints. The Vivity lens does not reduce contrast or give significant glare as a side effect of the lens optics, making it ideal for many patients. The near vision with the Vivity IOL does not focus in as close as the Panoptix lens so glasses may be needed for small print.

For more information about the Panoptix Lens Click Here.

Self Pay Cataract Surgery & Other Eye Procedures

Self-pay cataract surgery in our office is affordable! We want every patient to have the opportunity to see better and work to help every patient get the surgery they need. Self-pay cataract surgery is an affordable solution for patients without insurance. Due to our low cost options for eye surgery, patients often travel to Las Vegas from other states for their procedure. We have had patients from Alaska, Texas, California, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico come for their procedure in our office.

Prices include Surgery and 90 days of post-op care – this is the total package cost. There are no hidden costs or surprises.

We work hard to control our costs and run efficiently. We are committed to providing the best quality care at the lowest prices.

Forms of Payment

Self-pay includes all forms of payment: cash, check, credit card, money order, etc. We also offer Care Credit as a financing option.

Our surgeons are among the most experienced cataract surgeons in Las Vegas.

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