Closeup of Cataracts in the Eye

A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside the eye, causing blurry or hazy vision and sensitivity to glaring light. There has never been a better time to have cataract surgery because of all the vision improvement options available. To our patients throughout the Birmingham area, once you have decided to have cataract surgery you and your doctor will work together to decide what type of artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is right for you. 

Until recently, people who had cataract surgery had to settle for either distance or near vision, but not both. Combining laser cataract surgery and the newest artificial lenses, our patients can see BOTH at distance and at near. The new toric lens is used to correct vision in patients’ high levels of astigmatism. A multifocal lens is used to provide better near, far and intermediate vision, thus minimizing or eliminating your need for reading glasses. These specialized lenses are available for an additional fee, usually not covered by your insurance. The monofocal lens, typically covered by insurance, provides distance or near vision, but some patients will need glasses after surgery.

Finding the right lens for your lifestyle – Now with Blade-Free Laser!


How do I know if I have a cataract?

A cataract is the result of a natural change inside your eye making your vision less sharp over time. Usually, cataracts form with age, but can also be caused by trauma, disease and family history. Your eye doctor will check for the presence of cataracts. The examination is important because it demonstrates what effects cataracts may be having on your visual acuity. It’s also possible that the cataract may not warrant medical treatment. Sometimes changing your glasses prescription may help.

Cataracts develop slowly and painlessly and you may not realize your vision is changing. Symptoms of cataracts include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Faded color vision
  • Double vision
  • Sensitivity to light

Chart Showing How Intraocular Lenses can Affect the Eye

Cataract Surgery Procedure

How to Prepare

Your cataract evaluation at VisionFirst will include a comprehensive eye exam, diagnostic testing and medical history review. We will walk you through the procedure and make sure all your questions are answered. You and your doctor will decide on which artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is right for you. We only operate on one eye at a time. Before the surgery, you will begin administering prescription eye drops.

The Surgery

The typical cataract surgery lasts 20 to 30 minutes and the entire process that day takes just a few hours. The entire procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home from the surgery center.

Chart Illustrating the Cataract Surgery Process

Your eye will be anesthetized and you will receive a mild sedative so you will stay relaxed and comfortable during your procedure, but you won’t be put to sleep. Our surgeons use minimally invasive state-of-the-art technology and micro-incision techniques (no-stitch). During this procedure, using an ultrasonic handpiece, the lens is removed from the eye and an IOL is folded, delivered through a small incision, unfolded and fixed into position once inside the eye. This is a minimally invasive technique conducted under local anesthesia; it involves no sutures, resulting in faster healing and fewer complications than conventional surgical methods.

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After the Surgery

It is time to enjoy your newly restored vision! Your doctor will prescribe a personalized recovery schedule and specific instructions. You will be prescribed medications to put in your eye based on this schedule. You typically will return for a follow-up the next day, one week, three weeks and three months after surgery to make sure your eye is healing properly. If you’re interested in cataract surgery, call VisionFirst at (205) 949-2020 today. We perform cataract surgery in outpatient care centers in Trussville, Alabaster and Birmingham, AL.

Cataract Surgery FAQs

When is the best time to treat cataracts?

Many people believe cataracts have to be “ripe” before they can be removed. This is no longer true. Today, cataract surgery is a routine procedure that can be performed as soon as your vision interferes with your quality of life.

What happens if cataracts go untreated?

Over time, the clouded areas of your lens can become larger and denser, causing your sight to become worse. This can take anywhere from a few months to many years. Eventually, though, your entire lens can cloud over and cause blindness.

How do I know which lens implant is right for me?

No single lens works best for everyone, and only your eye doctor can determine the most appropriate option for you, based on your lifestyle, eye health, and visual needs.

Do all lenses let you see at different distances?

No – only presbyopia-correcting lenses such as multifocal IOL give you a full range of clear vision, near to far, and everywhere in-between.

Can cataracts come back?

Once a cataract has been removed, it cannot return. So, the lens you choose is usually the one you will have for the rest of your life. However, over time, patients may notice that their vision has once again become cloudy. This condition is known as secondary cataract, and it can be easily and rapidly treated by a laser procedure in our office.

Will my insurance cover cataract surgery?

All Medicare and most insurance plans generally cover cataract surgery. Please contact our office for specific information. You typically have to pay the extra costs for the premium IOLs. We offer financing through CareCredit and you may also use “flexible spending account” health care programs.

Cataract Surgeons

Mark G. Bearman, MD
Mark G. Bearman, MD
Alabaster, Trussville and Pell City
Carolyn Hebson, MD
Carolyn Hebson, MD
Birmingham, Trussville, Pelham and Alabaster
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Dr Bearman and his staff are so nice and professional. They have calmed me and made me feel ready for my cataract surgery. The whole staff goes out of the way to make you feel important.

Rita W. 

Dr. Doss is an amazing eye doctor. My daughter who is 4 years old saw her and she was the most caring, sensitive doctor she has seen in a while. Dr. Doss is a must a see doctor!

Nikole P.