CATARACT SURGERY-WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Every year since I was about 30 years old I have had an annual eye exam, and every year my vision has gotten worse. I wore glasses every day, all day and if I took them off my vision was limited.

I joked about not being able to read the shampoo or conditioner labels but it was irritating when I mixed them up and used the wrong one. I stopped wearing eye liner because without my glasses I couldn’t see to put apply it anymore.

My regular eye doctor suggested I make an appointment and get checked to see if I was ready for cataract surgery. That was in January of 2018. It took my until December to decide I wanted to look into it. It wasn’t that I was afraid. I was just busy and it seemed like one more thing to add to my tractor-trailer long list of medical tests and procedures.
Wasn’t it enough that I had a mammogram, visited my gynocologist and gastronologist yearly? After all, I had two colonoscopies this year. Not the most fun way to spend a couple of days (but very necessary for folks our age).

When it comes to our health there are some things we have the ability to change and a whole host of things we can’t do much about. I can’t change the fact that I have my mother’s colon and will continue having polyps removed the rest of my life, but I can change the way I handle it. I know people who are so adverse to colonoscopies that they had rather risk their life by NOT having the test, than to do it. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

Cataract surgery, in my case, was not going to endanger my life (unless I had to drive at night without my glasses) but poor eye sight was a big inconvenience. My husband encouraged me to at least go talk to the Optomologist and so I did. After he examined my eyes he told me that while I was doing okay with my glasses that I did have cataracts and they could be removed now or I could wait longer. It was up to me.

I asked him what the advantage to having it done now would be and he asked me if I was tired of wearing glasses all the time. The answer to that question was a resounding “YES!” Then he talked about my astigmatisms (I thought I only had one, turns out I had one in both eyes) and we discussed laser surgery. By using lasers he thought he could get my eyes to a point where I would only have to use them for reading.

Here is an article that explains the use of lasers for astigmatisms much better than I can.

I was sold. Two weeks before Christmas I had one eye done and the next week I had the second eye repaired. The surgery itself is short and easy. I went in about 9:30 and was home by lunch. They did give me a little something to relax me but it wore off quickly and I was fine by that night.

Cost

Part of our decision was based on the cost of the surgery. We knew I was going to have to have it sooner or later and we had met our deductible. I had the surgery right before Christmas which did complicate my shopping, cooking and decorating but it was worth it.

I was happy my doctor could work us in before the New Year because of our insurance and there were lots of other folks there for the same reason. I’m guessing they do a LOT more procedures in December than they do in January. (More cost information below)

Tips for Cataract Surgery

Getting cataract surgery is like buying a car. You can get several different options. Be sure and talk to your doctor at length about what would be best for your eyes.

Shop around. Any medical procedure is worth spending some investigative time on. Talk to several doctors to see if they agree.

Count on resting most of the day of your surgery. You will feel fine but you don’t want to risk damaging your eyes.

Do your before surgery and after surgery eye drops religiously. It makes a difference in how quickly and how well your eyes heal.

My Results

Honestly, at first it was hard to tell how much my vision had improved. I could tell it was better but until I went to my regular eye doctor for a check up I wasn’t sure HOW much better it was.

Then one day I got in the shower and Eureka! I could read the shampoo and conditioner bottles! I went to put on makeup and I could see to put on eye liner without my glasses!

When I visited my doctor I learned I now have 20/30 distance vision (compared to 20/70 before) and he told me what number of reader glasses would work best for me. I went to Walmart and bought two pair and I can see for reading (even really tiny print) so easily!

If you are wondering whether cataract surgery is worth it, then I would say definitely “Yes!” But before you have cataract surgery talk to your friends who have had their cataracts removed. Ask them and your doctor lots of questions. It’s your vision and up to you to determine what to do about it when you are having problems.

More Information

If you are wondering about the average cost of cataract surgery in the United States you can read about that here.

I am not on Medicare yet but if you are and you are wondering if it pays for cataract surgery you can read about that here.

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