Cataract Surgery & Me

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I've known that I had cataracts since my mid-40's. At that time, my right eye had a small one and I was horrified. I was too young, cataracts are for old people. Right? Um, nope. LOL!

The years went by along with the annual eye exams and new prescriptions. My right eye has always been my worst, qualifying as legally blind without correction. The left eye needed correction but much less than the right. Both eye have astigmatism, the left eye joining in the fun in later years.

I did wear contacts for almost ten years, until my eyes got too dry. While it was nice to actually see my hair being cut and to be able to buy regular sunglasses off the rack. So most of my life since junior high has been spent sporting glasses. And due to hereditary dark circles under my eyes, I actually prefer how I look in glasses.

Fast forward to last year and the eye exam with new glasses. For some reason, my left eye just wasn't seeing clearly, even with the new prescription (which was checked and double-checked). Our ophthalmologist decided it was time for me to see the eye surgeon/specialist about cataract surgery. Stu had been seeing him for two years due to a question about possible glaucoma. He has cataracts, too, but last year was told they weren't severe enough to qualify for Medicare coverage.

So, off I went....and out I came, now knowing both eyes were ready for surgery. I qualified under the doctor's limits, under Medicare's limits and under my limits (I can't see/read anything clearly and haven't for a while now).

He could have scheduled me almost immediately but we were leaving in a week to head to Florida for the winter and for a cruise (our big cruise to Hawaii). So plans were made to get it scheduled this year.

And now the time is here. The left eye is scheduled for surgery on Monday, the right eye will be scheduled during one of my after-care visits. I see the the surgeon twice next week as well as getting an echocardiogram done (checking out a long history of unusual EKGs - no worries, no heart attack - LOL). This Friday I start using three different eye drops, one drop in the left eye, each drop five minutes apart. That's pretty much all I have to do to get ready for Monday.

Almost forgot the two positives - this is a VERY quick surgery and they use a sedative in an IV. Perfect for someone who is TERRIFIED of any surgery connected to her eyes.

Just for general information (and prices will vary with different doctors in different parts of the country), I was a bit staggered at what the surgery COULD cost me if I went with all the options. First, this surgeon has perfected a laser surgery that is a step above the generally accepted surgery. Unfortunately, it would be $1600 out of pocket - for each eye. Pass.

Next was choosing the lenses. I'm getting a monofocal lense. If I had opted for a multifocal, that would be another $2600 per eye. Since I have astigmatism, I could get Limbal Relaxing Incisions done - for $3200 per eye. Um, pass again.

So if I went for all three, it would end up costing between $14,000-$15,000 total for both eyes. Eeep! The doctor was very understanding when I had to pass on all three. The basic surgery with the simple lenses and I will continue to wear glasses (which will correct the astigmatism for distance vision as well as provide the necessary correction for reading).

After the left eye is done, we will pop out the left lens in my current glasses since that eye will have good distance vision. I will continue that way until the right eye is done in June. I will struggle through with no glasses for a couple of weeks, then off to get new ones that will, hopefully, last me longer than a year.

Ciao for now!

3 comments:

  1. I have them too, but not up to Medicare's standards to pay for the surgery..I have watched live cataract surgery when I worked for an eye doctor. It is so much easier than it use to be, and you will love the difference!

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  2. Harvey had his done in about 2004 and said it was the difference between regular TV and HD! LOL Hope all goes well for you! HUGS!

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