Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery

Call for an Appointment

Duke eye surgeons perform thousands of cataract surgeries each year and can often restore your vision to 20/20. We remove your cloudy lens using tiny incisions and sophisticated techniques, including highly precise lasers and ultrasound. We employ the latest lens designs to clear your vision. Depending on the lens used, you may no longer need glasses.

Our Doctors
Meet our doctors, view their profiles, and select the one that’s right for you.
sliders Refine Results
Use My Current Location Locations Near You
Find a Cataract Surgery Doctor
Matching Results
Showing of Doctors
Load More View All

Improved Vision Through Cataract Surgery

Blurry or hazy vision and nighttime glare or halo may be a sign that you have a cataract. A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. Age is the most common culprit, but medication use, diseases (like diabetes), and trauma can also cause the lens to cloud. A cataract can also be present at birth. When a cataract deteriorates your vision, your best option is the surgical removal of the cataract and placement of an intraocular lens that permanently corrects your vision.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes less than 15 minutes to perform using only light sedation. Most people experience no pain and enjoy a rapid recovery. Our approach improves your vision and gets you back to enjoying your normal activities as quickly as possible.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Lens Options

Cataract surgery involves a small incision, made on the side of your cornea using a blade or laser. The cataract is removed using ultrasound energy, then an artificial lens is inserted into the eye. The entire process takes a few minutes under light sedation. You will be sent home with a clear eye shield and will be able to return to most activities within two days. Complete recovery and stabilization of your vision can take up to one month. Lens options include:

Monofocal Lenses

The standard lens covered by most insurance companies offers high-quality vision. Some can filter UV light that may provide protection from macular degeneration. You will need glasses for computer work and reading. Some people do not need distance glasses with these lenses. It is possible to use these lenses to obtain monovision, which refers to correcting one eye for farsightedness and the other eye for nearsightedness.

Astigmatism-Correcting Lenses

Toric lenses use a special shape and targeted power to correct astigmatism as well as distance vision. This lens is typically not covered by insurance.

Presbyopia-Correcting Lenses

Multifocal and accommodative lenses correct presbyopia, the loss of near vision due to aging of your internal eye muscles. Multifocal lenses distribute light over multiple optical zones, which allows for distance-, intermediate-, and near-vision correction. Accommodative lenses rely on the internal eye muscles to move the lens forward and backward to focus at multiple distances. It may still be necessary to wear reading glasses occasionally, but most people who receive these lenses are free of glasses for many activities.


toy phone
Call for an Appointment


Slit-Lamp Microscopy

Magnified, 3-D examination of the structures at the front of the eye.

Corneal Topography and Tomography

A computer-guided device creates a 3-D image map of the cornea to measure corneal power, curvature, and thickness.


Measures the curvature of the cornea’s front surface to assess astigmatism.

Corneal Pachymetry

Ultrasound waves measure the thickness of the cornea.


Ultrasound waves measure intraocular lens power.

Duke University Hospital is nationally ranked in 10 adult specialties
Best Eye Hospital in NC
When it comes to your care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital’s ophthalmology program is ranked seventh in the nation and best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.

Why Choose Duke

Implantable Lens Options
Recent advances in lens technology and design mean we have multiple options to improve your vision with cataract surgery. Your cataract surgeon will thoroughly discuss with you your individual situation and what you can expect from surgery. This will help determine which lens is right for you.

Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery
Some people may benefit from the use of lasers, which can be used during cataract surgery to correct astigmatism or assist in the implantation of multifocal lenses, which can improve distance and up-close vision. 

Astigmatism Correction
If your cornea is not completely round, called astigmatism, you may have blurring or distortion of your vision. After careful evaluation, we may recommend one of two options to correct your astigmatism. We may correct your vision with a special artificial lens, or we may recommend an alternate procedure called limbal relaxing incision (LRI). A small incision is created to reshape your cornea and reduce astigmatism. LRI can often be performed at the same time as your cataract surgery.

Simple Secondary Cataract Treatment
In a small percentage of cases, scarring or a secondary cataract may form on the membrane that supports the implanted lens. If this occurs in the months or years following your cataract surgery, we perform a short, painless in-office laser procedure to create an opening that lets light shine through and eliminate the secondary cataract.

Compassionate, Supportive Environment
We offer patient support services including educational materials and programs, a low-vision rehabilitation program, and a dedicated social worker to help you and your loved ones manage your condition and maximize your quality of life.