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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the doctor board certified?

Dr. Dahringer is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO). He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FCAS).

What insurances do you participate in?

Carolina Cataract & Laser Center participates in all major insurance plans. See our list under Insurances.

At what hospitals do you perform surgeries?

Most of Dr. Dahringer’s surgeries are performed at Duke Raleigh Hospital and Wake Med North Complex. He also operates at Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn, North Carolina and at Granville Medical Center in Oxford, North Carolina.

Do you treat all eye problems?

Dr. Dahringer focuses primarily on anterior segment surgeries, including cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, corneal transplantation and some surgeries involving the lids. Dr. Dahringer also does refractive surgery, which includes LASIK and PRK. Dr. Dahringer does not treat childhood eye diseases, such as crossed eyes, and does not do retinal or vitreous surgery.

What causes cataracts?

A clouding of the natural lens of the eye, which is clear at birth, causes cataracts. This clouding could occur congenitally, meaning it is present at birth, but it is most likely to occur in people over the age of 60 because of the aging process. Many younger people can get cataracts as a result of trauma, diabetes, or family genetics, which can play a role.

How many cataract surgeries have you personally performed?

Approximately 20,000.

Do you use lasers for cataracts?

Laser cataract extraction in the United States today is done rarely. Technically, the procedure, which is performed 99% of the time, is phacoemulsification using ultrasound energy to remove a cataract. Cataract surgery by laser removal is inefficient as compared to phacoemulsification. Lasers are used to remove clouding of the posterior capsule, which can occur months to years after cataract surgery. This laser treatment is typically done in the office and requires very little recovery time.

Am I awake for cataract surgery?

Most patients are given light sedation, which will have a calming effect. Cataract surgery is not painful, so therefore usually only a modest amount of anesthesia is used. Patients are all different in this regard, and therefore we tend to titrate the amount of medication to the person’s needs.

What is the recovery time for cataract surgery?

Typically, recovery is immediate after cataract surgery. You can resume your usual activity, such as bending or climbing stairs, immediately. Body tissue takes approximately 4-6 weeks to heal completely, so therefore your healing time will be approximately 4-6 weeks long. Visual acuity returns immediately in some people, and it may take 2-3 weeks to return in other people. Variation is normal among different people because of co-existing diseases, such as diabetes and some corneal problems. 

When can I resume my regular activities after cataract surgery?

Regular activities can be resumed immediately, with the exception of driving. Driving cannot be done until the following day due to the sedation that the patient has received.

How is glaucoma detected?

Glaucoma is detected by a full eye exam at your doctor’s office. This typically includes dilation and visual field testing as well as newer technologies.

Who is a good candidate for LASIK?

LASIK can be used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Good candidates are those with low to moderate amounts of these conditions who are without cataracts or any ocular disease.

What is the treatment for glaucoma?

Glaucoma is typically treated initially with eye drops which, in many cases, will stabilize the condition. Lasers and surgery in the hospital can also be used to control the eye pressure.

What is the recovery time and when can I return to work?

LASIK recovery time is remarkably quick. Most people can return to work the next day. They will need to put medicated eye drops in for approximately 1-2 weeks and use lubricating eye drops for several months following the procedure.

Can you retreat an eye after LASIK?

Most eyes can be retreated after LASIK safely. In some cases, retreatment cannot be done due to anatomical limitations that would place the patient at risk.

How many LASIK procedures have you personally performed?

Approximately 1,500

What are the possible side effects or complications that could occur with LASIK surgery?

The complications that can occur after LASIK surgery are the same that can occur after any eye surgery. This includes infection, loss of vision, and even loss of the eye itself, which is extremely rare. 99.9% of the patients do very well and see better after LASIK, however, other side effects, such as dry eye, can persist for months following LASIK. Glare and halos can also be problematic. These risk factors vary with the type of prescription that is being treated. Higher prescriptions typically have more side effects both in dryness and in nighttime aberrations.

Can both eyes be treated at the same time?

Yes, both eyes are treated at the same time.

Will I be able to get rid of my glasses/contacts permanently?

LASIK has not been perfected yet for presbyopia seen in people over 40 who require glasses to read. We can make the non-dominant eye a close-up eye and the dominant eye a distance eye, which is called mono-vision, work for certain people. However, this is satisfactory in only some people. People who have LASIK will eventually need glasses to read either at computer distance or at near vision if their distance vision is corrected to 20/20. Contact lenses can be worn after LASIK comfortably.