A cataract is a clouding over the clear lens of the eye. Age-related changes beginning at about the age of 40 cause proteins to break down in the lens and begin clouding over.
Cataracts are a very common condition that affects more than half of all Americans by age 80. Fortunately, your ophthalmologist at Joshi Retina Institute can treat your cataract with a simple, painless surgery.
Do You Think You Might Have a Cataract?
Only an eye doctor can determine whether you have a cataract or another type of vision problem. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment for a cataract screening at Joshi Retina Institute:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble driving at night
- Bright glare from headlights or sunlight
- Halos around headlights
- Difficulty reading
- Colors seem faded
- Double vision
Are There Different Types of Cataracts?
Age-related cataracts are the most common types of cataracts. There are some other more unusual types of cataracts:
- Secondary cataracts can develop from diseases, steroid use, or after another eye surgery
- Traumatic cataracts can develop as a result of an eye injury
- Congenital cataracts occur rarely in babies or small children
- Radiation cataracts can result from exposure to certain types of radiation
What Should I Do if I Have a Cataract?
Cataracts often progress very slowly. Many people have early-stage cataracts for years before they need surgery. It’s important to take care of yourself in the early stages of cataracts:
- Wear good quality sunglasses to protect the eyes from damaging UV rays. This may actually slow down the growth of the cataract
- Have a comprehensive eye examination with dilating drops every year if you’re over the age of 65, and every two years if you’re under 65
- If you are having trouble reading, use brighter lights and a magnifier
- Make sure you have an up to date prescription for your glasses or contacts to ensure safety
- Quit smoking
- If you have diabetes, keep your A1C levels under control
Treatment for Cataracts
Surgery is the only option for removing cataracts from the eye. Cataracts cannot be treated using medication or other minor procedures.
When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?
Waiting for a cataract to “ripen” is an outdated concept. Most ophthalmologists recommend cataract surgery when patients feel that a cataract is interfering with their quality of life.
What Happens During Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is a quick and painless surgery. The actual procedure takes less than a half-hour to perform.
When you arrive at the eye surgery center, the staff will wash and clean the area around your eyes. Drops are then inserted to dilate your pupils.
Anesthetic eye drops will numb the eye, and you should feel no pain. Most patients are awake during the procedure. You may be given medication to help you relax.
Your Joshi Retina Institute eye surgeon will enter the eye through tiny incisions.
The incisions are made with a laser or blade near the edge of the cornea. The next step is to remove the clouded natural lens from your eye and replace it with the artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Stitches are not usually required and the tiny incisions close on their own.
What Happens After Surgery?
Your eye will be covered to protect it for at least 24 hours. You will need prescription eye drops at regular intervals for several weeks to help the eye heal and to prevent infection. It’s very important to follow the post-operative instructions your doctor gives you.
Insurance Coverage for Cataract Surgery
Medicare and most other insurances pay for basic cataract surgery if it’s considered medically necessary. It’s important to contact your insurance company before scheduling surgery.
Your doctor may need to submit certain vision measurements to prove medical need before your insurance will approve paying for the surgery. Also, it’s good to understand what co-pays and deductibles you may be responsible for.
Optional “Out of Pocket” Costs
Basic cataract surgery involves implanting a standard monofocal intraocular lens, which is usually covered. But there are new types of lenses available called “premium” intraocular lenses (IOLs).
Premium lenses are beneficial for many patients, but unfortunately, they are not covered by insurance. Your insurance should pay for the basic surgery, but you would have to pay for the cost of the premium lens yourself. You should discuss the cost and benefits of premium IOLs with your Joshi Retina Institute eye surgeon.
Many ophthalmologists prefer to use a laser-assisted method of cataract surgery when inserting a premium lens. There is usually an extra charge for this technique which is not covered by Medicare.
Concerned that you or a loved one may need cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Joshi Retina Institute in Boynton Beach, FL!