Cataract surgery is quick and painless. Patients hear that statement regularly and doctors assume it provides all the reassurance they need. To be sure, there is something to be said about a procedure that can be performed in a short time. A fast treatment suggests little risk and downtime. But we don’t want to trivialize cataract and lens surgery. This is a vision- and life-changing procedure that can permanently eliminate your need for glasses, and requires state-of-the-art technology as well as excellent surgical skills. Perhaps the questions should really be: “How quick is quick? And does increased speed equal better surgery?”
Regardless of whether a patient chooses traditional or laser cataract surgery, the procedure typically takes approximately 10 minutes per eye. Laser cataract surgery adds a trivial amount to the process (actual laser time is about 30 seconds). As far as the relationship between how fast a procedure takes and how safe it is, we should not correlate speed with sloppiness. When a surgeon can complete a procedure quickly, it decreases the amount of post-operative swelling and the overall healing time. It is also a sign of experience; as in everything else in life, the more often you repeat a task the more efficient you become at doing it. So be glad that the procedure is fast (and safe!) and know that you can be up and about in a very short time!