Cataract Surgery

Your vision is important: Choose the best cataract surgery team

The cataract specialists at OHSU Casey Eye Institute can help you see clearly again — and return to all of the activities you enjoyed before your cataracts. Together, our cataract surgery doctors have decades of experience and have completed thousands of successful cataract surgeries. They use the most advanced technology available today and can help you achieve the best possible vision -- often 20/20 -- after surgery.

Make an appointment

Our doctors are available at three convenient locations, including Portland, Astoria and Longview, Wa.

Portland: 503-494-7672

Astoria: 503-338-3803

Longview, Wash.: 360-423-0220

Our expertise

At OHSU Casey Eye Institute, our cataract surgery clinics offer:

  • Experienced surgeons who perform hundreds of cataract-removal surgeries each year, including complex surgeries.
  • Timely surgery within one to two weeks of your first cataract consultation.
  • The latest equipment in laser-assisted cataract surgery.
  • Advanced technology that can correct astigmatism along with removing the cataract, as well as a new measuring system to perform cataract surgeries that is extremely precise and individualized to give you the best vision possible after surgery.
  • The most advanced options for replacement lenses to improve your vision after surgery
  • A dedicated anesthesia staff, skilled at working with patients undergoing eye procedures. 

Our cataract surgeons

Preparing for cataract surgery

Lens options

Cataract surgery removes your natural clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial clear plastic lens. You have a choice for these replacement lenses, and your cataract surgeon will discuss the option that is right for you:

  • Monofocal lens: This lens will allow you to have either better distance vision or better near vision, but it can't do both. Most people choose better distance vision, which means they likely will need reading glasses for near vision. Some people may need glasses or contacts for some distance vision. This lens is typically the only one covered by Medicare or private insurance.
  • Monofocal lens with special refractive surgery: We can use the same type of lens together with special refractive surgery to significantly improve vision for people who have cataracts and also have astigmatism.
  • Toric intraocular lens: This lens can be used in cataract surgery to correct astigmatism. People will likely not need glasses or contact lenses for distance vision but will still probably need reading glasses. This lens is usually not covered by insurance.
  • Multifocal premium intraocular lens: This lens can help your eye focus on both distant and near images and can eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. At OHSU Casey Eye Institute we offer a new multifocal lens called the Symfony Intraocular Lens, which can correct astigmatism as well as mid- and long-distance vision. Multifocal lenses are usually not covered by insurance.
  • Accommodating premium intraocular lens: This lens has flexible hinges that allows it to change focus, similar to the way the human eye works. This lens is usually not covered by insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Cataracts are a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. They develop slowly over time and are a part of aging in many adults over 60. Cataracts may develop earlier due to genetic factors, certain medications and medical conditions.

An eye care provider can tell you whether a cataract is forming, usually long before you notice any symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Seeing glare or halos around headlights at night
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Needing more light to read
  • Blurry vision that can't be fixed by changing your glasses or contacts prescription
  • Loss of color intensity
  • cloudy, fuzzy, foggy or filmy vision

We recommend cataract surgery only when vision problems are impacting daily activities, such as driving and reading.

Your surgeon will meet with you at every visit, from the initial consultation to the final visit after surgery. The normal process includes:

  • Initial consultation: technician will take several measurements of the eyes, check vision and give dilating drops. The surgeon will discuss all aspects of eye health with the patient and examine the eyes to determine if cataract surgery is the right choice.
  • Second visit: We will take more precise measurements of your eye and the surgeon will discuss lens options with you.
  • Surgery: You are awake throughout the procedure. You will have an IV placed in your arm and an anesthesia provider will be present to provide relaxing medications. Drops are used to numb the eye surface for the surgery. The incision is so tiny that it doesn’t need any sutures; it is self-sealing.
  • Next-day visit: Surgeon checks that all is well.
  • Two-weeks later: Final post-operative visit. If having cataract surgery on the second eye, the process begins again.

Patients often enjoy a dramatic change in their ability to see light, colors and fine details within 24 hours after surgery. Most people experience no pain and enjoy a rapid recovery. Vision can continue to improve for two weeks.

All lenses generally will improve vision. Vision correction depends on the replacement lens you choose. Many people still need glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery, most often for reading.

Yes! Most insurance plans, including medicare, cover the cost of cataract surgery and a monofocal lens. 

If you decide to use another type of lens, those are usually not covered by insurance.

Yes.

Cataracts are more common in women than men. In 2010, 69 percent of the people in the U.S. with cataracts were women, according to the National Eye Institute.

Before age 70, cataracts are equally common in all races. But that changes past 70. Half of white Americans aged 75-79 have cataracts, compared to 40 percent of African Americans and 45 percent of Hispanics. Seventy percent of white Americans 80 or older have cataracts, compared to 53 percent of African Americans and 61 percent of Hispanics.

Want to learn more or make an appointment?

Call 503-494-7672 or complete the form below and we will contact you with more information about cataract surgery at OHSU Casey Eye Institute.

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