"I have never seen a Doctor and staff that were as caring of their patients as The Hughes Eye Center."
Tina Childress
"I'm very pleased with my ReSTOR lenses.  My only regret is not having my surgery sooner.  Wonderful doctors and staff, A+"
Robert McCullar, Jr
"The people at Hughes Eye Center are the best! Courteous, efficient, good listeners and willing to take time to deal with my questions. I highly recommend their services!"
Scott Myatt
"The staff was phenomenal and the results incredible!!"
Jesse Avery
"Everyone was very friendly and professional from the receptionist to the doctor.  I was seen at the time my appointment was scheduled, and all of my questions were answered."
Patricia Faulkner


A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens inside the eye that causes a decrease in vision over time.  Your local eye doctor may tell you that changing your glasses prescription will no longer improve vision when a cataract has advanced.

Symptoms of a cataract may include:

  • A steady decline in vision
  • Problems seeing while driving at night
  • Problems with glare from bright lights
  • Difficulty reading road signs
  • Difficulty reading small print, such as your mail, medicine bottles, computer or cellphone
  • Difficulty with balance and mobility, going up or down stairs or uneven surfaces

Cataract Symptoms

Cataract Treatment

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, which is one of the safest and most successful surgeries done in the United States each year. During the procedure, the cloudy lens of the eye is dissolved and a new artificial lens is implanted.

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It is an exciting time to have cataract surgery!  Treatment of cataracts has drastically improved in recent years.  Advanced technology and cutting edge innovations have significantly improved visual outcomes. A cataract examination at The Hughes Eye Group includes an extensive evaluation by our doctors and staff to determine if you are a candidate for the procedure and which treatment plan is best for you.  Review the following options and FAQs for more details prior to your examination.

Cataract FAQs

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that affects vision. There are different types of cataracts, some slow growing and others fast growing. Most people have a cataract in both eyes, and often one cataract may be worse than the other. Some people with cataracts don’t even know it; however, their glasses prescription may be changing frequently over time.  Others cannot see well enough to perform normal activities of daily life.

I've been told I have a cataract, now what?

If glasses or contact lenses no longer improve vision, you may be a candidate for cataract surgery. A full medical/surgical evaluation is required prior to your surgery by Dr. Hughes, Dr. Davis, Dr. Nordtvedt or Dr. Underwood. There will be a number of advanced tests completed to determine if cataract surgery is in your best interest and if you are within your insurance’s guidelines. Plan on spending approximately two hours with us for your appointment and testing. Your eyes will be dilated during a cataract evaluation.  Many patients find it helpful to bring a family member with them to help during the exam and with surgery scheduling.

How do you treat cataracts?

A cataract is removed by a special form of ultrasound called phacoemulsification. After the cloudy lens is removed, a small implant, called an intraocular lens (IOL), is put in its place.  In a healthy eye, typical cataract surgery is a quick procedure and no stitches are required.  Cataracts do not grow back; however, it is common for the capsule around the lens implant to develop a haze  as the eye heals.  If this haze causes a decrease in vision, a quick and simple laser procedure, or a yag capsulotomy, may be done in the office to return clear vision.

What are lens implants?

A lens “implant” is a small, clear artificial lens placed inside of the eye once the cataract is removed. Prior to surgery, specific measurements are required to determine the best type, power and position of the lens implant.  The implant is not replaced periodically, like a glasses prescription, so the decision of which implant is right for you is a very important one.  The three most common implants are  Standard, Toric (for astigmatism), or Multifocal (for a range of vision).  See the Cataract Options chart above for the lens package options available to you.  Toric and Multifocal implants are not covered by medical insurance.

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I have Astigmatism. Which implant is best for me?

Astigmatism is not a disease; it relates to the shape or curvature of your eye. Astigmatism on the corneal surface of the eye is very common. A Toric implant for Astigmatism may drastically decrease the need for glasses at a distance (for driving or watching TV) after cataract surgery. Usually, readers are necessary for near vision with a Toric implant. Your doctor will evaluate the curvature of your eye to determine if you are a candidate for a Toric implant.

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I do not like wearing glasses. Which implant is best for me?

A Trifocal Implant (PanOptix) or Extended Depth of Focus Implant (Symfony or Vivity) provide a wide range of vision after cataract surgery. While there is no guarantee that this implant will eliminate glasses 100% of the time, it may be the best option for you to decrease the dependency on glasses after surgery. If you are a candidate for this type of implant, you may expect a range of vision from driving, to dashboard, to computer, to reading distances. Occasionally, a pair of readers may help with extremely fine print or in dim lighting conditions. Based on measurements of your eyes, health of your eyes, and expectations, your doctor will determine if you are a candidate for this implant.

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What is ORA guided cataract surgery?

The ORA system is used in the operating room to provide real-time measurements of the eye after the cataract is removed. Before the use of this technology, your surgeon had to rely on basic measurements of the eye taken in the office days to weeks before surgery. The ORA real-time data allows your surgeon to make fine tune adjustments in lens power and positioning at the time of surgery. This technology provides more predictable visual outcomes, confirming that the chosen lens implant will provide the absolute best power possible for the eye. If you desire the least prescription possible after surgery, you may be a candidate for ORA guided cataract surgery. ORA technology is not covered by medical insurance.

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Who is my surgeon?

Dr. David Underwood is our chief cataract surgeon. Dr. Underwood has performed cataract surgeries in West Tennessee since 1989. All of our doctors work together as a team to provide you with the best possible outcome with cataract surgery.

Where will my surgery be done?

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure done in a local hospital or surgery center. The Hughes Eye Group has surgical locations at West Tennessee Healthcare Surgery Center in Jackson, Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Baptist Memorial Hospital Carroll County in Huntingdon, Henderson County Hospital in Lexington, and Hardin County Medical Center in Savannah.

When will my surgery be done?

After a medical/surgical consultation with one of the Hughes Eye Center doctors, you will meet with our surgery counselor to provide a surgical date at your desired location. The counselor will review the guidelines of your insurance, what is required prior to surgery, expectations the day of surgery and after surgery care. You will be given a folder with all the information discussed.

How much will the surgery cost?

Cataract surgery is considered medically necessary as long as vision and complaints are within insurance guidelines. After all insurance requirements are met (such as deductibles and copayments), basic cataract surgery with a standard lens implant is typically covered by medical insurance. Advanced testing and advanced implant options are not covered by insurance. You will receive three different billing statements for cataract surgery: The Hughes Eye Group, the hospital/surgery center, and anesthesia. Any expected fees will be discussed with you at the time of your surgery scheduling.

Hughes Eye Insurance Counselors: Our insurance counselors will assist you by explaining the benefits of your insurance. As a courtesy to you, we will verify your medical benefits to determine deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and your other financial responsibilities prior to your surgery. As per insurance guidelines, all co-pays, deductibles and/or patient responsibility is collected in full prior to your planned cataract treatment. The surgical facility and anesthesia bill separately.

Will I need to use eyedrops for surgery?

To prevent infection and help the eye to heal properly, eyedrops are a necessary part of cataract surgery.

The Hughes Eye Group offers the LessDrops Formula for cataract surgery care. This formula combines three medications (antibiotic, steroid, and anti-inflammatory) into ONE SINGLE BOTTLE for ease of use. If both eyes are scheduled for surgery, you will require one bottle for each eye. This compounded medication is available for purchase at our office.  Because the LessDrops single bottle formula is a compounded drug, is not available at local pharmacies.

You may wish to use your local pharmacy to purchase eyedrops. If so, three separate prescriptions (one for antibiotic, one for steroid, one for anti-inflammatory) will be sent to your pharmacy. The pharmacy will provided three separate bottles, with a refill for each if both eyes are scheduled for surgery.

Do my current medications affect cataract surgery?

Typically, no.  However, we do need to know all medications that you take before scheduling surgery.

Warfarin/Plavix/Coumadin/Aspirin (Blood thinners) – Please inform our technician if you take any form of blood thinners. Most patients can continue blood thinners prior to and after surgery.

Flomax (Tamsulosin), alpha blockers or any generic form – Inform our technician if you are presently taking or have taken prostate or bladder medications. This will NOT prevent you from having cataract treatment, but will allow the surgeon to take extra precautions.

Glaucoma Eyedrops – In most cases, you will continue to use all glaucoma eyedrops before and after surgery. You doctor will discuss this at your evaluation.

What do I need to know for after surgery?

It is normal for your eye to be slightly red, sore, scratchy, or itchy for a few days after surgery. Due to dilation of the eye during surgery and potential for a small amount of swelling on the eye’s surface, it is not uncommon for the eye to be slightly blurry the first day after your procedure. Some patients notice a small “flicker” in the eye the first few days after surgery.  The prescribed eyedrops are very important and to aid in healing and to prevent infection. Be sure to keep all follow-up visits with your doctor to monitor the eye as it heals.

  • Avoid rubbing or pressure on the operated eye for seven days.
  • Avoid water in the operated eye for seven days.
  • Tape eye shield over operated eye while sleeping for seven days.
  • Resume and/or continue all medications and drops you were taking before your procedure.
  • Resume normal activities and regular diet. You may read and watch TV.
  • Drops and medications: See the “Helpful Tools” below for printable instructions and checklists.
  • Keep all follow-up appointments. If you have any questions, please call (731) 664-1994 or (800) 945-1994

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Helpful Tools

PDFCataract Surgery FAQ

Understanding Cataracts and Treatment

PDFCataract Surgery Options

Cataract Surgery Options

PDFCataract Instructions and Checklist (1 Bottle)

Print these instructions if you received the LessDrops (1 bottle) formulation at our office.

PDFCataract Instructions and Checklist (3 Bottles)

Print these instructions if you chose to have your medications (3 bottles) sent to your local pharmacy.

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