Frequently Asked Questions about Cataracts

Will I need glasses after surgery?

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If you opt to receive a monofocal lens implanted in both eyes for distance vision, you will need reading glasses after surgery. If you receive a multifocal or extended depth of focus lens, there is a good chance you won’t need glasses. 80% of patients implanted with the diffractive and refractive lenses in their respective FDA clinical trials did not need glasses after surgery for distance or near vision. Of course, not every patient in the trial was spectacle independent. The odds of becoming free of spectacles are better if your corneal astigmatism is low and your eyes are healthy.

Why doesn’t insurance (or Medicare) pay for premium lenses?

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These entities pay for surgery and devices that restore functional vision. They will not pay for services that reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses. While Medicare and insurance will cover the cost of a standard, monofocal lens implant, they will not pay for the portion of a deluxe implant that imparts multifocality.

Can I have a premium lens (Toric or Multifocal lens) implanted later?

It depends on how long ago the initial surgery was performed and the integrity of the eye structure. For a full evaluation, please schedule a consultation with our doctors at Santa Monica Eye Medical Group.

Will it take longer for my eye to recover from surgery?

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Recovery from cataract surgery is the same whether you receive a monofocal lens or a multifocal lens. The number of appointments before and after surgery is also the same. The brain must adjust, however, to the new optical system created with the multifocal lens. This neural adaptation takes from weeks to months to occur. Patients typically notice that they become less aware of their vision as this neural adaptation takes place.

Why do I have to wear a shield at night? How to do I wear it?

After surgery, you would need to wear an eye shield over your operative eye only at night. The reason for this is to not damage the eye while you are sleeping. Place the pointed part of the shield towards the outer part of your eye and tape it down securely with medical tape so it does not slip off while you are sleeping.

How long after my surgery until I can wear makeup?

We recommend waiting 2 weeks after each eye surgery to start using eye makeup.

How long do I expect to be at the surgery center?

Expect to be at the surgery center from start to finish about 3-4 hours depending on the schedule at the surgery center.

When do I arrive at the surgery center?

Due to the scheduling at the surgery center, confirmation of surgery times are not released to our office until the day before. Once received, the surgery coordinator will give you a call with your arrival time. Please keep in mind that you must arrive 1.5 hours prior to your surgery start time. Expect to be at the surgery center for about 3-4 hours.

Why does someone need to pick me up after surgery? Can’t I go home by myself?

Since you will be on local anesthesia, the surgery center is liable for your safely and can only release you to someone else that will get you home safely. Going home alone can jeopardize your safely while still coming down from the anesthesia. You cannot be picked up by a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.

Can I have breakfast before my surgery?

Unfortunately, since you will be on local anesthesia, you will not be able to eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to your surgery time. If you need to take any medications, please do so with small sips of water.

Can I continue to exercise after my surgery?

Unfortunately, no heavy exercise or lifting of 20 pounds or more for at least 2 weeks. Walking is okay.

Can I take a shower after my surgery?

The first 72 hours sponge baths are permitted. You can resume taking normal showers with your operative eye closed for the next 3 weeks.

Can I go swimming after my surgery?

We want to avoid any water in the eyes for 3 weeks. That includes swimming or any water activities.

I am on blood thinners; do I need to stop taking them?

We recommend not taking your blood thinner on the day of your surgery, but if you have within normal range of blood coagulation there’s no need to pause any blood thinners.

Why do I have generic medications and not name brand medication?

Our doctors normally prescribe generic medications due to the little or no cost for the patients when they go through their insurance. The doctors will prescribe the name brand medication with their discretion.

It’s been a few days and I still cannot see through my operative eye?

Everyone heals at different rates, and you may experience blurred vision in your operative eye for a few days or more. If you have a sudden decrease in vision, flashes, floaters, or serious pain with redness, please call our office ASAP at (310) 829-5475.

Do I need to have a COVID test before surgery?

If your surgery is scheduled at Surgery Center of the Pacific and you are vaccinated, you will need to present your vaccination record. If you are not vaccinated, you will have to take a PCR COVID test within 4 days of each of your surgeries.

If your surgery is scheduled at either of the UCLA surgery facilities, regardless of vaccination, you will have to take a PCR Covid test within 2 days of each of your surgeries.

Where do I get my PCR COVID test done?

Depending on what surgery center you are scheduled at, you can get your PCR COVID test done at specific testing sites. Please call our office at (310) 829-5475 to see which testing site you must get your PCR COVID test performed at.

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Our Location

1908 Santa Monica Blvd #3, Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 829-5475

Hours of Operation

(Due to the Coronavirus “COVID-19” situation we have implemented revised hours):

Office Hours


8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am - 12:00 pm *by appointment only