Cataract Patients Now Have Choices!

Up until a short time ago, individuals who were diagnosed with cataracts had surgery and at best achieved good distance vision following their surgery. Because the intraocular lenses available only corrected distance vision and could not correct an astigmatism or near vision, patients were often required to wear glasses following their surgery.

Advanced technology now allows cataract patients to choose what type of intraocular lens is best for them. Those individuals who wore glasses for an astigmatism can now select a Toric Intraocular Lens. For the first time in their lives they will be able to see well at a distance without glasses or contacts.

Patients who would like to completely eliminate the need for glasses, may be interested in selecting the ReSTOR Intraocular Lens. This multi-focal lens allows patients to see well near, far and in between!

Not all patients are candidates for these new high technology lenses. After careful examination, your doctor will suggest which lens he feels is right for you. Although patients will receive the standard Medicare reimbursement for cataract surgery when they select one of these premium lenses, there is an additional fee that is not covered by insurance.

If you have been diagnosed with cataracts, be sure and ask your doctor at your next visit if either of these new innovative lenses are right for you.

Cataracts – The Most Successful Surgery Available

People don’t have to live with vision loss because of cataracts. Through new technological advances, cataract surgery today is faster, more effective and more comfortable for the patient. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States. More than 20 million Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts, and more than two million people have cataract surgery each year in the United States. Over 95 percent of cataract surgeries are performed without complications and result in a significant improvement in vision.

What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. This clouding of the lens  causes the light to scatter and prevents some light from reaching the retina which then causes blurred vision. This condition usually occurs slowly over time; however, it can also happen quickly.

Cataracts are not painful, but you may notice these symptoms:

  • Details are difficult to see
  • Cloudy, fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Changes in the color of the pupil
  • Poor night vision
  • Sensitivity to light and glare, especially while driving at night
  • Frequent changes in your glasses prescription
  • Dull colors
  • Inability to perform activities such as reading or driving due to poor vision

When should you see your doctor?

If you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, please make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is the best method of management. Regular office visits assist your doctor in determining if cataracts are affecting your ability to see. However, if your vision suddenly becomes worse, see your doctor promptly.

When should you schedule surgery?

If cataracts limit your daily activities, such as reading, driving or watching television, speak with your doctor about scheduling surgery. Changing your glasses prescription will not improve your vision. Surgically removing the cataract and inserting a clear artificial lens is the only treatment for restoring clear vision.

Does my insurance pay for the procedure?

Cataracts are considered a medical condition. For this reason, most health insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid, will cover their portion of the surgery for the doctor as well as the facility. Specific plans have limitations, such as copayments, deductibles or percentage payments.

Our insurance department will research your specific coverage before your surgery. They will discuss your coverage and notify you of any fees that you may be responsible for remitting.

How many people get cataracts?

Nearly half of all people will have a cataract by the time they are 65 years of age.
In addition to aging, other causes of cataracts include:

  • A family history of cataracts
  • Medical problems, such as diabetes
  • Injury to the eye
  • Medications, such as steroids
  • High salt intake
  • Long-term unprotected exposure to sunlight

Can cataracts be prevented?

Currently, there are no medications or exercises that will cause cataracts to disappear. The most important thing that you can do to prevent cataracts is to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. Parents should also make sure their children are protected from these harmful rays. Ultraviolet exposure occurs over an entire lifetime.

Will cataract surgery improve my vision?

The success rate of cataract surgery is excellent. Improved vision is achieved in the vast majority of patients. Only a very small number of patients continue to have problems following cataract surgery.

New Technologies

Cataract Patients Can Now Benefit from Multi-focal Lens

The ReSTOR IOL lens is designed to treat patients who are diagnosed with cataracts by treating two different conditions: cataract removal and lens replacement  and presbyopia (near vision). Patients who select the ReSTOR IOL lens will receive the standard Medicare reimbursement for cataract surgery. An additional fee will be assessed for the presbyopic portion of the treatment.

The ReSTOR multi-focal lens is an FDA approved naturally focusing vision-correction lens replacement which allows the patient to see well at near, mid-range and far distances. ReSTOR is the most advanced intraocular lens (IOL) currently available. After having the natural lens of the eye removed and replaced with a ReSTOR IOL lens, the patient has the ability to see well at all distances with each individual eye.

Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing for Surgery – What to Expect

What do I need to do before the surgery?

After your examination by one of our doctors, you will meet with our Surgery Coordinator, Sharon, who will thoroughly explain the procedure to you and answer any of your questions. A prescription for eye drops will also be given to you. Use these drops as directed prior to your surgery.

Will I need to see my medical doctor before the surgery?

It is necessary for you to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for a physical examination, lab tests and any other testing required by him, prior to your surgery. A form will be provided to you for your PCP to complete. * Surgery cannot be performed unless this form is completed by your doctor and returned to us prior to your surgery.

The Day of the Surgery – What to expect

Where is the surgery performed?

The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis.

When will I be notified about the time of my surgery?

You will receive a call from the surgery center staff approximately three or four days prior to your surgery. They will review your instructions, medications and answer any questions that you may have.

What should I do the morning of the surgery?

You must not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the surgery. Do not take any medications that morning. Bring any prescription medicine that you normally take in the morning with you. One of the nurses will give it to you. You should make arrangements for someone to drive you home after the surgery.

How long will I be at the surgery center?

You will be at the center for approximately three hours. The surgery itself usually takes about fifteen minutes. However, preparatory time is needed before the surgery. When the surgery is completed, your doctor will place a shield over your eye. After a short stay in the recovery area, you will be ready to go home.

Do I need to remove my clothes?

Wear nice comfortable clothing (something that buttons or snaps to avoid pulling anything over your head) and slip on shoes or slippers with socks, as it is cold in the operating room. You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and to put on a hospital gown once you are brought into the surgery area.

After Surgery – What to Expect

Do I have to stay in bed when I get home?

There is no need for you to remain in bed. You may feel more tired than usual because of the anesthesia, however any light activity is acceptable. Over the counter pain medicine may be used.

Are there any dietary restrictions?

You may resume your normal dietary habits after surgery.

How long do I have to wear the shield over my eye?

A shield is placed over your eye after the surgery is completed. You may remove your shield on the day of your surgery. You may see double and your vision may be blurry when the patch is first removed. If you are uncomfortable with the post-op symptoms, you may leave the protective shield on. Tape the eye shield over your eye at bedtime and naptime for 7 days.

What else do I need to do to ensure that my surgery is successful?

  • Use your eye drops as prescribed.
  • Be sure not to rub or press on your eye.
  • Avoid strenuous activity until your doctor informs you that it is acceptable.
  • Wear normal eyeglasses or an eye shield, as advised by your doctor.
  • Return for all your post operative appointments as scheduled.