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Different Types of Cataract Surgery

At Eye Center of the Rockies, we’ve been helping patients improve their vision for more than a decade, and our unique experience in the Vail Valley helps us determine which patients will benefit most from different types of surgeries.

Cataract surgery, for example, is one of the most common surgeries performed worldwide. Early symptoms typically include blurred vision, glare, and difficulty reading.

To help determine whether you’re a good candidate for cataract surgery, our laser eye doctors review types of cataract surgeries below.

Types of Cataract Surgeries

There are two types of cataract surgeries ophthalmologists perform on patients: laser-assisted and traditional.

Traditional cataract surgery involves a hand-made incision near the cornea to retrieve the cataract. Ultrasound is used to facilitate the process.

Laser cataract surgery involves the use of cameras, computers, and ultrasound to achieve similar results.

While both surgeries are safe, there are notable differences. For example:

  • Laser cataract surgery is not usually covered by insurance plans and it’s usually more expensive
  • Laser cataract surgery may be more accurate than traditional cataract surgery
  • Traditional cataract surgery is more common than laser cataract surgery

There are also three specific surgical treatments:

  • Phacoemulsification—this is the most common method of removing a cataract. This form of removal does not require eye patches or stitches.
  • Extracapsular cataract surgery—common for advanced cataract. This form of removal is used to remove a larger cataract in one piece. An eye patch is typically worn after surgery.
  • Intracapsular cataract surgery—rarely used today, and requires removal of the lens and the surrounding lens capsule in one piece. Complications are common due to the large incision.

Both laser cataract and traditional cataract surgery are outpatient procedures, meaning you will be able to return home after surgery. However, you will need to arrange a ride—you will not be able to drive yourself.

Ideal Candidates

The ideal candidate for cataract surgery depends on which type of surgery is being performed. Overall, most people are eligible for cataract surgery with only a few exceptions.

For example, you may not be eligible for cataract surgery if:

  • You’re pregnant or nursing
  • You’re under 18 years old
  • You’ve had significant medical/eye problems
  • You do not currently have stable vision
  • You’ve not received an eyeglass and/or contact prescription for at least two years

Post Op and Recovery Time

Following surgery, symptoms such as itching and mild discomfort in your eye are common; fluid discharge is also normal. These symptoms should go away in a few days.

Regardless of the surgery method, recovery time is often very similar. Your vision may be blurry for a few days, but this will subside over the course of a few weeks. During this time, you may be asked to visit your ophthalmologist to ensure best results and a speedy recovery.

Where to Go for Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a relatively painless and quick operation that can dramatically improve a patient’s vision and quality of life.

At Eye Center of the Rockies, our full-time, industry-leading ophthalmologist and expert optometrist can help you rediscover a life in focus.

We have two convenient locations in the Vail Valley: one in Eagle (970-930-8819) and the other in Glenwood Springs (970-930-8601). If you’d like more information about cataract surgery options, give us a call or contact us online.

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Glenwood Springs

1607 Grand Ave. Suite 31
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601



232 Broadway St
Eagle, CO 81631


970-930-1205, 970-930-1044, 970-930-1195, 970-456-1442, 970-930-1120, 970-989-2006, 970-989-2700, 970-930-1013, 970-947-0050