Cataract Surgery

Dr. Michael discusses cataract symptoms and surgical options to remove cataracts.



Jessica Noll: For many people, cataracts are a normal part of aging but the symptoms can be very frustrating. Fortunately they can be removed through a simple outpatient procedure. Dr. Andrew J. Michael and Community Outreach Director Julie Bragg discuss some of the symptoms and surgery options to remove cataracts. Welcome back. We’re talking today about cataract surgery and this is a common procedure for a lot of people isn’t it.

Dr. Andrew Michael: Cataract surgery is the most common outpatient procedure in America.

Jessica Noll: When people learn that they need to have surgery for this what’s the reaction, because you think surgery of the eye – aye, aye, aye.

Dr. Andrew Michael: I think people are appropriately concerned about any kind of surgery. But fortunately cataract surgery is very successful. It’s a very pleasant experience for patients. In fact, the most common reaction that I get is that they’re surprised at how well it goes, and how easy it is, and that they can’t wait to get their other eye done so they can see better with both eyes.

Julie Bragg: And that blew me away when he said that to me; that patients can’t wait. And I’ve actually been in the OR to see Dr. Michael do this and it is so routine. And it is something that we do almost daily at Stony Point. And it’s safe. What’s recovery like?

Dr. Michael: The recovery is remarkably easy for patients. In fact, most of my patients are driving to our office the next day to see us.

Jessica Noll: Wow! That is pretty amazing! When you start, when you’ve reached the point of having the surgery, how long have you been working with patients? Is this a pretty quick thing? Or is it developing over time?

Dr. Michael; Well cataracts develop very slowly over years. People start to get symptoms and maybe a change in glasses might help and be all they need. But at some point they get to a point when the glasses won’t really help them see as good as they want to and that can be months to many, many years depending on how the cataract develops.

Jessica Noll: A few of the symptoms include?

Julie Bragg: Patients typically have blurred vision, or cloudy vision. They may have trouble with glare or halos around lights. If they’re particularly attuned to different colors they may notice that there’s a change in their color perception. Those are the most common symptoms of cataracts.

Jessica Noll: What do you say to that person who’s watching right now and thinking, “I probably need.” I have a dear loved one who’s right now thinking, “Am I at the point where I need to do this?” And he’s scared. What would be your message to them? Is it really one of those things where you’re just putting off the inevitable?

Dr. Michael: Well, if someone feels like their vision is good enough for their needs they don’t have to get anything done. Cataract surgery is elective. But fortunately when someone, maybe perhaps your loved one, gets to the point where they feel like they really would like or need to be seeing better, cataract surgery is extremely successful and a generally good experience for everyone. And so you don’t need to be scared.

Jessica Noll: Dr. Michael is this something that you have to catch early? You said it takes quite a lengthy time to develop, but is it important to have this procedure done at a certain time?

Dr. Michael: Well it’s important for people to have regular eye exams for a lot of reasons. But fortunately cataracts are reversible. So we can take care of a cataract whenever it is detected. It’s unlike other things like glaucoma or other problems that really should be detected early because treatment is easier and more successful earlier. Cataract surgery is not an urgency.

Jessica Noll: You mentioned glaucoma. Is this a related disease to cataracts?

Dr. Michael: Cataracts and glaucoma are generally not related. There are some rare situations where they can be. But typically they are two separate things.

Julie Bragg: And glaucoma is one of those where just living our normal life we wouldn’t necessarily know if we have it, right? Getting back to the importance of those eye exams.

Dr. Michael: The big difference between cataracts and glaucoma is glaucoma is silent. Cataracts slowing lower vision and typically people know their vision is not as good as they would like. Glaucoma is called the sneak thief of sight for good reason because you can be totally asymptomatic. You can have no symptoms at all of glaucoma and be losing vision. A regular, good eye exam is important.

Jessica Noll: Now Julie you mentioned that there may be folks watching right now that this is a procedure that I may have to have done. What about folks who are watching who know that there’s a family history of cataracts. Is this something that follows that family tree?

Dr. Michael: Well, the main risk factor for cataracts is age. If we live long enough we get cataracts. Some cataracts occur earlier in people who have a family history. There is a hereditary, genetic component to cataract and some people do get them earlier. So they may be wanting to see their eye doctor on a regular basis if there’s a family history of early cataracts.

Jessica Noll: Eye exams are crucial.

Julie Bragg: And I just couldn’t believe that something like cataracts surgery that something like cataracts surgery that you could be driving the next day. Because I had heard people say, “I don’t have time in life for this. I can’t be out of commission for several days. And it’s just not like that now.

Jessica Noll: Yeah. That’s fantastic. Driving in to see you practically the next day.

Dr. Michael: They do.

Jessica Noll: They’re getting everything taken care of. Well thank you very much Dr. Andrew Michael for coming in and Julie, thank you. If you have any of the symptoms of cataracts or glaucoma that Dr. Michael mentioned, give Commonwealth Eye Care Associates a call to learn more about treatment options. Call 804-217-6363 or visit online

Related pages

Contact Andrew Michael, M.D.

Commonwealth Eye Care Associates
West End

3855 Gaskins Road
Henrico, VA 23233
Phone: (804) 217-6363
Fax: (804) 217-6400

Commonwealth Eye Care Associates
Colonial Heights

280 Charles H. Dimmock Hwy.
Suite 2
Colonial Heights, VA 23834
Phone: (804) 217-6363
Fax: (804) 217-6400

Commonwealth Eye Care Assoc.