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Cataract Surgery Information

Dr. O'Donnell and Dr. Wise are leading cataract surgeons in Vancouver delivering high quality results for patients based on their individual needs.


What is a Cataract?

A cataract develops when proteins accumulate on the inner lens of the eye, situated behind the iris (the colored part of the eye). Over time, this protein buildup leads to the clouding of the lens. In its normal state, a clear and healthy lens effectively focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in sharp, well-defined images. Conversely, a lens affected by a cataract behaves similarly to a dirty window, permitting less light to pass through. This explains why individuals with cataracts often describe their vision as hazy, cloudy, or generally dim.


Cataract Causes

Cataracts often occur as a natural part of the aging process, however there are some factors that increase a person's likelihood of developing cataracts. Including:

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Genetics

  • Previous Injury to the Eye

  • Nearsightedness

  • Excessive Alcohol Comsumption

  • Some Medications

Cataract Symptoms

Cataracts occur gradually and as such, patients don't normal realize they have a cataract until it is at an advanced stage. Symptoms include: 

  • Night Vision Difficulties

  • Cloudy, Dim or Blurred Vision

  • 'Halos' Around Lights

  • Need for More Light While Reading

  • Colours Appear More Faded

  • Double Vision in One Eye

  • Vision Prescription Changes

  • Light Sensitivity/Glare

Cataract Surgery

Without surgery, cataracts will continue to progress. With surgery, the diseased lens is removed and an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted. Your doctor will provide you with all of the lens options available to you and may make a recommendation dependent on your lifestyle, needs and budget. 

Cataract surgery lasts approximately 10-15 minutes. You may be given some light sedation and drops that help to numb the eye. The surgeon will make a very small incision and use special instruments and medical devices to break up the diseased lens and remove it. The artificial lens is then placed between the iris and the pupil. Your surgeon may apply a plastic or cotton eye covering after the surgery to protect the eye.


After a short time in the post-op unit, a friend or family member will be able to drive you home. You will be given eye drops and a schedule to administer them. Your eye may feel slightly irritated or itchy after surgery, it is important to avoid contact with your eye of any type. Your doctor will provide you with a post-op appointment date and time before you leave the hospital.


After surgery, it's important not to touch or rub your eye. Shield your eye to prevent debris, soap, shampoo, etc from entering your eye. Avoid strenuous activity and do not drive until your surgeon gives you the all-clear to do so. 

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