How To Tell If You Need Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are one of the most common eye-related problems amongst the senior community. It gradually develops over time, may occur in one or both eyes, and can have detrimental effects on daily activities, abilities and quality of life if left untreated. Fortunately, there is a solution available – cataract surgery.

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Cataract surgery is an effective yet pricey procedure that gets rid of the damaged lens and replaces it with new artificial ones. The total cost of cataract surgery can vary quite a bit, depending on several factors. But the good news is, both Medicare Plan B and Advantage will cover a percentage of the cost, depending on which type of Medicare plan you have. All in all, it’s immensely important to treat and remove a cataract as soon as possible, as it will get worse and quickly lead to various vision problems, such as blurred or cloudy vision, sensitivity to light, increased difficulty seeing at night and more. Moreover, these symptoms are potentially dangerous to the health and safety of the individual.

Listed below are some of the tell-tale signs and symptoms of a cataract, how the cataract is diagnosed and how much the procedure can cost, along with required preparations and after care.

Cataract Surgery

Symptoms of Cataracts

The first step in determining if you may need cataract surgery or not is to pay close attention to your daily quality of vision. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:

1. Blurred vision: Vision may appear cloudy or blurry, as if you’re always looking through a foggy window.

2. Sensitivity to light: Bright lights may appear too bright or cause glare and halos.

3. Difficulty seeing at night: Night vision may be impaired, making it difficult to see in low light conditions.

4. Fading or yellowing of colors: Colors may appear dull or yellowed.

5. Double vision: Seeing two images of the same object, which may be horizontal or vertical.

Assessment By An Eye Doctor

If you are suspecting a cataract, the next step is to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a professional assessment. During this assessment, the doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for a cataract and its severity. Some of the tests that may be performed include:

1. Visual acuity test: This test measures how well you can see at different distances.

2. Slit-lamp exam: This exam involves a microscope to thoroughly examine the front and back of your eye.

3. Dilated eye exam: Your pupils will be dilated with eye drops so that the doctor can examine the lens and retina in detail.

Based on the results of these tests, the eye doctor will then be able to determine if cataract surgery is necessary.

Costs of Cataract Surgery

The cost of cataract surgery may vary, depending on a number of factors. Some of these factors include the location of the surgery, the type of artificial lens used, and the surgeon’s fees. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the average cost of cataract surgery in the United States falls anywhere between $3,500 and $6,000 per eye. However, this is only an estimate, as the actual cost may be higher or lower depending on your specific circumstances.

Medicare Coverage

Medicare usually covers cataract surgery if it is deemed medically necessary. In essence, this means that the cataracts must be causing vision problems that seriously interfere with your ability to perform daily activities. Medicare Part B covers 80% of the cost of cataract surgery, including the cost of the artificial lens. However, you will be responsible for paying the remaining 20% of the cost, as well as any deductibles or copayments that may apply.

Additionally, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, the coverage for cataract surgery will be even better, depending on the specific plan. So it’s well worth checking with your healthcare provider, in order to determine the specific coverage and out of pocket costs associated with your cataract surgery.

Pre-Surgery Preparations

If your eye doctor has decided that cataract surgery is necessary, you will need to make certain preparations for the procedure. Some of these steps include:

1. Stop taking certain medications: Your doctor may instruct you to stop taking certain medications that could increase the risk of bleeding, such as aspirin or blood thinners.

2. Arrange transportation: You will need to arrange for someone you know and trust to drive you home after the procedure, as you will not be able to drive or safely use public transportation.

3. Arrange for assistance: You will likely need help from family or friends with walking the dog, house cleaning and other daily activities for at least a few days after the procedure.

4. Follow pre-surgery instructions: Your doctor will provide you with precise instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, such as when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure.

5. Ask questions: If you have any questions or concerns about the surgery, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.

The Recovery Process

After a cataract surgery, you will need to take some time to recover. The recovery process typically takes a few weeks, and you may experience some mild discomfort, such as itching or mild pain. During this timeframe, it’s vital to avoid activities that could increase the risk of infection and irritation, such as swimming or using a hot tub.

You will also need to use eye drops as directed by your doctor that help prevent infection and promote faster and better healing. Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments with your doctor to check that your eye is healing properly.

Final Thoughts

Cataract surgery on one or both eyes may be scary to think about, but neglecting a cataract can have serious and even life threatening consequences on your life and wellbeing. After you heal, you will notice a significant improvement in your vision and quality of life.

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