Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eyes, Cataracts and me! Why cataract surgery now?

Cataract Surgery and Medicare  
If you have been waiting for cataract surgery because of cost here is some information on what Medicare will pay.  Your 20% co-pay will depend on you supplemental Medicare Insurance:
Does Medicare pay for cataract surgery?  Yes, it does. Because cataract surgery is performed by a physician rather than an optometrist, Medicare Part B covers the surgery, including lens implants. And following that surgery, it can pay its share for one pair of eyeglasses. How much it pays for the glasses depends on whether you get new frames, and if so how much they cost. Medicare Part B will pay for both lenses and frames, but only basic frames. If you buy more expensive frames than the basic ones approved by Medicare, you'll have to pay out of pocket for the difference between the standard amount Medicare pays and the amount your frames actually cost.
For both the surgery and the glasses, you have to pay a coinsurance amount, which is 20 percent of the amount Medicare approves for the surgical procedure and for the glasses and frames.(
Cataracts and Me
I developed cataracts in my eyes very slowly.  I have been having problems for about two years.  The constant struggle to see clearly left me exhausted and I was developing dry eyes on top of that.  So this summer I finally got a referral from my primary care physician and went to see a opthamologist.  Yesterday I had my first eye surgery for cataracts at a surgery center near my home.

Me and my GLASSES!
The process for getting the surgery involved a visit to the opthamologist for a confirmation of my condition and then a visit to the center that evaluated the topography of my eye. This procedure shows the actual contour of the cornea. Because the diagnosis for my lens prescription was always related to my astigmatism, I was thinking that a Toric Lens Implant might work for me.
"For Cataract patients who have astigmatism, and who do not wish to wear eyeglasses to see clearly at a distance, choosing a Toric Lens Implant can help them be independent of glasses for tasks such as driving, that require clear distance vision." (All About Cataract
This type of lens can cost up to a thousand dollars in addition to the simple lens implant paid for my medicare and supplemental insurance. It turned out that my astigmatism was not the typical type and one eye was shaped more like a slightly ruptured basketball than the football shaped eye most people with the astigmatism have. My specialist ruled the Toric Lens Implant out totally.

My surgery was a simple process followed by a day of mild discomfort and a need to sleep for long periods of time.  When I woke this morning the eye felt almost perfect.  After a visit with my doctor at 8:45 am the shield I had worn for 24 hours was taken off and I was directed to wear it when I sleep or nap.  I am to use eye drops for two weeks and will also have my second surgery at the end of that two week period.

How am I seeing.  The first eye I chose to have corrected was the one that was so misshapen.  I am writing today with the lens removed from my glasses on that eye.  I can see so much better out of that bad eye I am dizzy...really.  It is as though I am receiving my very first pair of glasses after being almost totally blind and am seeing for the first time. I don't know about you but better glasses always make me a little dizzy!  I see much better out of the new eye than I do out of the other eye with the corrective glasses.  I am hoping for the same results the second time around.

This is what I am experiencing:
  • Colors are brighter.
  • Words simply pop off the page.
  • The old glasses are not going to work at all.
  • I may be unable to drive until the second surgery is done.  Road signs are a problem
  • The sense of perspective is messed with a little bit with the one good eye and one not good.  I suppose I will have adjusted to that very soon.  I just try not to miss my mouth!
  • I will probably go without glasses at all until the second surgery.  That works better.  It is not perfect by any means.  But it a great improvement.
I love this bright new world I am seeing.   We are very lucky people in this day and age.  Who knew that we would be given better eyes at 70 that we had at 19?



  1. Congratulations on your successful operation! My dad did this about three years ago and has not worn glasses since (he had been wearing them since high school). My wife has slow growing cataracts so we figure that 5-10 years down the road technology will be even better than it is today which is pretty darn good. Enjoy your new peepers.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement Dave. I am doing fine.


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