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Cataract and Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery FAQs

Below is a list of questions commonly asked by people considering Cataract or Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) surgery. Click on the question below to link directly to the answer. Use your browser’s “Back” button to return to the list of questions. If you are unable to find an answer to your specific question here or elsewhere on the site, please call or email us. We will be happy to respond directly to you.


What Do I Need to Know Before Cataract or RLE Surgery?


What Can I Expect During Cataract or RLE Surgery?


What Can I Expect After Cataract or RLE Surgery?


What Do I Need to Know Before Cataract or RLE Surgery?

 
What is a cataract?

A cataract is usually the result of the natural aging process. As you get older, the natural lens, located behind the iris in your eye, may gradually begin to get "cloudy" and interfere with light and images getting to your retina. As the lens becomes cloudier, your vision slowly becomes more blurred. If allowed to remain, the cataract will progress to the point where there will be a complete loss of vision in your eye. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.

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How do I know if I am a candidate for RLE or Cataract surgery?

You may be a candidate for RLE surgery if you:

  • are over the age of 45 and having difficulty focusing on objects up close
  • do not qualify for laser vision correction, such as LASIK, because you are either too farsighted or too nearsighted
  • are tired of wearing bifocals or progressives lenses for both reading and distance vision
  • night vision, impaired depth perception and increased color distortion

You may be a candidate for Cataract surgery if you:

  • are diagnosed with a visually significant cataract condition and
  • are noticing decreased night vision, impaired depth perception and increased color distortion

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How is RLE surgery different than Cataract surgery?

RLE and Cataract surgery are essentially the same procedure. In both instances, the natural lens of your eye is removed through a small incision made in the iris of your eye and replaced by a man-made lens that is designed to remain permanently. The only difference is that RLE is a totally elective procedure performed to decrease the need for glasses; removing the cataract in Cataract surgery is performed for medical reasons (for example, adequate vision cannot be achieved with glasses).

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What are the risks with Cataract and RLE surgery?

As with any surgery, there are certain risks. Fortunately, the risks of RLE and Cataract surgery are low and patient satisfaction is high.

Need for a Laser “touch up” - It's possible that some nearsightedness or farsightedness will remain after surgery. This can be treated by replacing the artificial lens with one of a different power or by laser vision correction that can fine-tune the result. Increased glare or halos around light at night can also result, although these tend to diminish over time. Twenty percent of patients will develop hazy or cloudy vision over time that requires a further, non-invasive laser procedure to fix.

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What are the side effects?

Side effects are minimal. Most patients experience some temporary blurring for a few days and can also expect increased light sensitivity for a few weeks. Depending upon the lens used, you may experience halos or rings around lights and glare at night. These side effects may make it more difficult to see while driving at night or to complete tasks in a room with low lighting.

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What are the differences between the lenses?

Traditionally, lenses used in Cataract surgery have been monofocal, allowing the user to see well at a single distance. Patients with monofocal lenses usually choose to have their natural lenses replaced with lenses that allow them to see well at distance and wear reading glasses for up close or intermediate work. Recent advancements, however, have resulted in multifocal and Advanced Lifestyle Lenses or accommodating lens implants. Multifocal lenses contain concentric rings that provide focus at different distances. Accommodating lenses bend and steepen as the eye changes focal points. These new lenses allow the patient to focus at different distances, giving good distance vision, plus improving intermediate or near vision.

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How long have multifocal lens implants been used?

As compared to the monofocal lenses that have been used in Cataract surgery for decades, multifocal lenses are relatively new. Multifocal lenses have been implanted since the mid-1990s with excellent results.

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Does insurance pay for RLE or Cataract surgery?

RLE surgery is an elective procedure not covered by insurance companies. It is more expensive than laser vision correction because it must be performed in an ambulatory surgical center. Since Cataract surgery is a medical procedure, private insurance companies, as well as Medicare, will pay for the surgery and the implantation of a monofocal lens. If you choose an Advanced Lifestyle Lens, however, you will have to pay for the additional cost of the lens upgrade.

Your employer's flexible spending or cafeteria plan may offer tax advantages for RLE or Cataract surgery upgrades. We can help you understand your options and what questions to ask your benefits administrator. In addition, Furlong Vision Correction offers several different payment options to help make RLE surgery and lens upgrade fit your budget.

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Does it treat astigmatism?

Astigmatism is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea and is not affected by replacing the lens. If you are a cataract patient who has astigmatism that is affecting the quality of your vision, you have several treatment options, including a LASIK or PRK procedure twelve to twenty four weeks after RLE Cataract surgery. There are a few intraocular lenses that have been introduced recently to help correct astigmatism, including the Toric Accommodating and Multifocal IOL lens options. Additionally, astigmatism can be treated with the Femto laser during surgery. This technology is ideally suited to treat patients who have cataracts as well as astigmatism, a non-spherical curvature of the cornea. Astigmatism can be partially managed at the time of surgery using either laser-assisted corneal incisions or through the implantation of the Toric intraocular lenses. As this procedure must be precise, the laser is used for the creation of a perfectly round surgical opening, which is critical for the best possible outcome.

Whether using an accommodating intraocular lens to treat astigmatism or using an multifocal intraocular lens to allow both clear distance and near vision, only Laser-Assisted Cataract surgery can consistently create a perfectly round surgical incision to ensure ideal placement of the lens implant. This specialized surgery's results are improved vision, decreased dependence on eyeglasses, faster recovery and less discomfort.

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What Can I Expect During Cataract or RLE Surgery?

 
How long does it take?

RLE and Cataract surgery takes about fifteen minutes. You'll need to plan to be at the surgery center for approximately two to three hours, however, to accommodate the pre-op preparation and post-op recovery period. You will need to arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.

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Is the procedure painful?

Patients experience virtually no discomfort during RLE or Cataract surgery. The procedure is performed under a local or topical anesthesia (eye drop to numb the eye) and you are given a relaxing sedative intravenously. Mild irritation symptoms for the first twenty four hours are typical. If you experience this, you may use Tylenol or ibuprofen during the first day or two after the procedure.

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What Can I Expect After Cataract or RLE Surgery?

 
Will I still have to wear glasses?

Whether you will need to wear glasses or contacts after your procedure depends on which type of lens you choose to implant. Patients who choose to implant monofocal lenses will have to wear glasses for either distance or up close work, since monofocal lenses are designed to focus only at one distance. Patients who choose to implant multifocal lenses will have a broader range of vision. According to national clinical trial results for patients who chose Advanced Lifestyle Lenses, seventy five percent never needed to wear glasses again and those who still wore glasses occasionally did not need to wear them eighty percent of the time.

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What precautions do I have to take after surgery?

You will be given a plastic shield to wear immediately after surgery and for the next five nights to protect your eyes while sleeping. For the first month, care should be taken to not touch your eyes for any reason and patients should avoid getting sweat, dust or smoke in their eyes. It is also better to avoid swimming for two weeks, but with care, there is usually no problem with showers.

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If my vision is still not corrected, can I have a re-treatment?

As the lens capsule closes around the new lens implant, the focusing range may change requiring a second surgical procedure to adjust or replace the lens. Additionally, laser surgery to improve the focus is also possible.

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Will RLE surgery increase my chances of getting a cataract?

A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of your eye. Since RLE surgery removes that clear lens and replaces it with an artificial one, you will never get a cataract.

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Lori T.
San Jose, CA

9/6/2020
Yelp

The whole process of my lasik journey from start to finish at Furlong was amazing! They have taken the necessary covid precautions to ensure that you & the staff are entirely safe. I'm 2 days postop and I love my new eyes! It's the best investment money can buy! Thank you to the entire Furlong team! I couldn't be happier with the results. 

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Rachel T.
San Francisco, CA

8/8/2020
Yelp

i chose to go with furlong because i have friends who've gone to him and had really good experiences. when it comes to my eyes and quality of vision for the next 20 years, i'm willing to pay for security and quality…i was able to use hsa to pay so that's definitely helpful. i had a great experience overall and i hope this review is helpful for anyone who's unsure!

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Kristin B.
San Jose, CA

8/1/2020
Yelp

I'm thrilled! Just had my surgery yesterday and woke up with perfect vision. Everything is meticulously clean here. I started before COVID and had surgery during COVID. Very impressed with how this office quickly adapted to necessary health precautions and kept on providing excellent service. Dr Sane did my surgery. She explained everything, including during the surgery.

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Seneca K.
San Jose, CA

6/4/2020
Yelp

I've had such a positive experience at Furlong and I will recommend them to everyone! I've had a few consultations at various places and Furlong was the only place where I felt comfortable and safe the moment I walked in. They have numerous protocols in place and it feels safe and sanitary. Get your consultation at Furlong and you won't regret it!

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Jake B.
San Jose, CA

6/3/2020
Yelp

I just finished my last check up since my advanced PRK surgery.  The whole process was amazing and I now have greater than 20/20 vision. Dr. Furlong read about studies in which my eye condition would not be ideal for LASIK and recommended PRK.  I'm glad that the doctor stays on top of his research and recommends the best option to his patients. Office staff was always helpful and I highly recommend this place to anyone thinking about LASIK or PRK.

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Micaela R.
San Jose, CA

5/26/2020
Yelp

SANITARY & LIFE CHANGING!!!!! No need to wait this thing out. 

The entire staff was extremely thorough about all the necessary safety measures put in place to keep everything sanitary, and most importantly, everyone safe. It was even comforting to see them disinfecting stations right in front of me! I'm now Day 5 post-procedure and I am asking myself why I waited so long!!!!!! Both Dr. Sane and Dr. Furlong were so helpful in answering all my questions and making sure I felt comfortable throughout my entire experience!

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Danielle B.
San Jose, CA

5/5/2020
Yelp

If everything going on with Covid19 has made you consider holding off on your visit I'm here to say it shouldn't. I had my 6 month post lasik follow up today, they screen you onsite and check your temperature even before you enter the lobby. They monitor all employees as well!

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Drew E.
San Jose, CA

2/1/2020
Yelp

Dr Furlong and his team did a great job performing lasik. I hated wearing contacts and I'll hopefully never have to wear any again. I don't regret regret coming here one bit. They are highly experienced and made this procedure seem easy.

Gene F.
Milpitas, CA

12/30/2019
Yelp

I'm giving Dr. Furlong and the staff at Furlong Vision Correction five stars for restoring my blurry vision to what is now perfect vision. Prior to the surgery in October (which only took ten minutes overall - in and out and you're done,) my vision was terrible due to the formation of cataracts

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Jaibe B.
San Jose, CA

2/26/2020
Yelp

I cannot thank Furlong Vision Correction and most especially the staff and Dr. Sane for giving me the gift of vision.

The process, the anxiety, the research all led me to finally getting LASIK. First off my wife and our very good friend all got LASIK & PRK with Dr. Sane. She has done a really good job in every step of the process.

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Morgan K.
Gilroy CA

2/8/2020
Yelp

Very happy with Furlong Vision. My Boyfriend went and saw Dr. Sane and she was wonderful! She explained the Cornial Cross Linking (CXL) very well. The tech that helped us prior to seeing Dr. Sane was wonderful as well. Very polite, attentive, and very informative in everything he was doing.

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Renae M.
Santa Rosa, CA

3/19/2020
Yelp

I highly recommend getting LASIK at Furlong Vision! Dr. Furlong and his staff were all calm, professional, and helpful throughout the entire process. I got LASIK about 4 weeks ago and my vision is great and eyes are healed.

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Jerry M.
Santa Cruz, CA

11/15/2019
Yelp

Dr. Mona Sane.....a perfect 10!......she and everyone connected with my experience was a 10!.....the front desk folks, the technical staff, the equipment at the office location, the surgery facility....all were a 10! Very little pain involved and the outcome has been outstanding.....highly recommend to anyone in need...

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Ashley Y.
Mid-city, San Diego, CA

11/14/2019
Yelp

Had LASIK back in 2017 with Dr. Furlong. A family member recommended him and I would definitely go back to Furlong again if I need to. I used to have a -6 prescription but now my vision is near perfect.

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Teresa N.
Milpitas, CA

11/4/2019
Yelp

I couldn't be happier with my experience here. I put in a LOT of research before choosing to move forward with Furlong - you only get one pair of eyes, and I wanted to ensure I was leaving them in good hands. I was sold on not only their excellent reputation but their impressive, state-of-the-art technology.

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Raylina B.
Gilroy, CA

10/25/2019
Yelp

From my grandmother: Dr. Mona Sane thank you very much for the cataract surgery that you performed on my eyes. I appreciate everything you did, as well as the incomparable care you gave me. It was excellent!

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Brenda M.
San Francisco, CA

10/26/2019
Yelp

This place is amazing! Thank You so much Dr. Furlong for the great experience! I had lasik surgery yesterday due to my high astigmatism.

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Danielle B.
San Jose, CA

10/31/2019
Yelp

I had my procedure last Friday morning, I was scared and really nervous. Everyone at Furlong did a great job of comforting me. If anyone is considering having this procedure I would completely recommend it. It was so quick and the recovery has been very easy. Dr. Furlong is and his staff are nothing short of amazing.

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Akeem S.
San Jose, CA

1/31/2019
Yelp

I was incredibly nervous leading up to having the Lasik procedure done. Melody who is one of the staff members was so supportive and reassuring throughout the entire process. On surgery day she had me in tears from laughter and so I was so comfortable leading up to the procedure. The procedure went so smoothly I was...

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Brian S.
Capitola, CA

12/8/2018
Yelp

I could not recommend Dr. Furlong and team any more highly. Incredibly friendly and personal team, with effective and focused service, and the most frictionless simplest surgery I could ever imagine having. I am less than 24 hours after my surgery - and the results are incredible. I am looking for to taking my...

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Bruce F.
San Francisco, CA

2/17/2019
Yelp

Dr. Sane performed my laser cataract procedures at El Camino Surgery Center. Quick, painless and instant perfect vision!  I have never had a better medical experience!

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Lydia A.
San Jose, CA

1/28/2019
Yelp

I had Lasik done with Dr. Sane ten days ago at Furlong Vision and I am absolutely pleased. From the initial consultation to the actual procedure and after care. They have snacks and drinks in the waiting room, everyone is so kind and passionate about their work. I felt very welcome and they were great about answering...

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Mer D.
San Francisco, CA

4/8/2019
Yelp

Furlong Vision took care of me so well. Pre op, you'll have so many questions, possibly even some doubts, but the information and patient onboarding process is so smooth that you'll equipped to face anything. They aren't there to swindle you out of your hard earned dollars!! Nono. They are here on the singular mission...

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Nicole R.
Los Angeles, CA

3/25/2019
Yelp

I just had my annual eye exam - I still have 20/20 following this procedure, and my optometrist always says "your surgeon did an excellent job!" :)

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Solomon A.
San Jose, CA

3/15/2019
Yelp

We did an extensive research for my wife's Andreja important step as eye Lasik surgery is. We included Furlong Vision in that research. It was also recommended by our friend Melissa who did her Lasik with them many years ago and is still excited with the whole experience and results.

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Tu-Anh N.
San Luis Obispo, CA

3/25/2019
Yelp

My LASIK experience at Furlong Vision was beyond amazing. Everybody at the center including the technicians, assistants, Dr. Patel, Dr. Shen, and Dr. Furlong made sure I felt comfortable and confident in my decision to get refractive surgery every step of the way. My vision correction has been life changing, I can...

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Lauren S.
Downtown, Campbell, CA

3/28/2018
Yelp

Dr. Furlong and his entire staff have changed my life! After 11 years of dealing with contacts and glasses, I finally took the Lasik plunge and am SO thankful I did! Dr. Furlong and his staff were so informative, friendly, and reassuring. They made everything so easy and made me feel 100% comfortable...

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Nlramesh R.
Mount Hope KS

4/7/2018
Yelp

Amazing doctors and staff.  Dr. Mona Sane did my cataract surgery and she was absolutely awesome!! The staff at Dr. Furlong's and at the surgery center were super professional and you just knew you were going to be alright at the end of the procedure.  The post op care was just excellent !! If...

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McKinley S.
Marina, CA

2/16/2018
Yelp

I had Lasik 1 year ago and I am still amazed by how well I can see. I have worn glasses and contacts for many years.  I could see well with my contacts so I was expecting to see like that after Lasik. What I didn't expect, was how much better I see now after Lasik. The quality is SO MUCH BETTER. I...

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Kim M.
Santa Clara, CA

1/30/2018
Yelp

This review is long overdue. I actually had my surgery done about a year ago. I had been told for several years from various optometrists I would never be able to even have the surgery because of an eye condition. But when I started to see Dr. Ratra at Dr. Gold & Associates, she referred me to...

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Jennifer B.
Prescott, AZ

1/16/2018
Yelp

In October I underwent LASIK surgery with Dr. Furlong and his staff and I couldn't be happier. It has been life changing after 23 years of wearing contacts and glasses. I had a high astigmatism prescription and at my first last post op checkup about a two months post op I was at -20/20 in the left...

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Voted Best LASIK Doctor by Santa Cruz Good TimesTwice named a Premiere Cataract Surgeon by Ocular Surgery NewsSponsor of Santa Clara County Optometric SocietyJefferson Award - the "Nobel Prize" for community and public service for the Furlong Vision Correction Gift of Sight programOfficial laser vision correction and eye surgeon and Legacy Partner of the San Jose Earthquakes