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Old 12-14-2018, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Columbia SC
8,954 posts, read 7,733,997 times
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I am 76 and having cataract surgery on both eyes, a month apart. My Opthamologist gave me a brochure on the optional lenses and basically said, read it and let me know if you are interested. She is not pushing me one way or another.

Standard will help reduce need for glasses at far distances. Near and intermediate distances will require glasses. This is where I am now and have been for several years. I want the "cloudiness" to go away and standard will do that thus I am going for the standard and live with glasses, as I do now.

I can afford the optional but there is no guarantee, only "maybes".
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,540,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnhw2 View Post
My wife and I both have cataracts. They are not severe yet but are a hinderance.


I understand Medicare pays for the surgery and a basic lens. But to get the preferred lens costs me three to four thousand out of pocket.


Can someone describe for me the difference in vision the more expensive lens makes vs the medicare paid version?

I got to try both. Back in 1970, I started having focusing problems. There wasn't really a fix but therapy and it didn't work. And then a few years later it got so bad that the left eye was about 20/50. The right one was getting worse.


They always try the cheaper, less invasive first. Multiple pairs of glasses, finally contacts, though the left eye didn't cooperate well, and more eye exercises. But after Mom got where she was ill, Dad too, I had to be able to drive. The exercise failed. I had two versions of using corrective contacts. No success. Finally the doctor said surgery was the next option, but it wasn't expected to do much.


Then my vision got cloudy on both sides, cataracts the only option. They did the first on the right eye, which was pure wonder with perfect vision. It took very little time. The catarac on the left one was thicker, and in the process the iris was snagged. It doesn't contract anymore, messing up distance (and why I don't drive, not safe that way) but even now, over 20 years, my vision is so good I only need glasses for close up reading. I found great reading glasses on the net for three pair of glass lenses for ten dollars a few years ago as well.


My experience is that before you say no to a surgical fix, get the full truth about how much or little you'll get with the lower end treatment. As it was medicade, I didn't get to pick as they don't use lesser treatments when its likely they won't work long. But with almost 20/20 vision still, just a few problems, I am delighted it could be done. What my doctor didn't really say was because it was under medicade, their rules apply. Medicare could quibble.


The only problems I have are in really bright light, I can't make anything out. That's from the focus problem which shouldn't have been but I adjust.



If you can afford it, if you have to do it with payments, get the version where the catarac is replaced with a nice new shiny clear lense. Once, maybe, people who were 'older' didn't need that skill, but today is a very different situation, and will keep a lot of doors open if your vision isn't compromised and with it compromise what activities you choose to do.
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Florida
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We both had cataracts before we reached Medicare age. That was 21 years ago. We wear bi-focals to handle the distance thing. We also have computer glasses that we use when on the computer.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,540,572 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjm1cc View Post
At a younger age I know a person with very poor eyesight (needed thick glasses) had cataracts removed and lenses put in. Could now see and read without glasses. Still used glasses but could get a long without them if they had too.

That could have been me. One eye focused but not well, and the other wouldn't. I was still in my sr year of highschool, and as I had other health problems, and was sick with it for a few years. Then, I had more treatment, and was left with one eye in worsening shape, and the other just worse. There was a new surgical approach and it took me a minute or so to say yes. It replaced the lens which over time was damaged. I still remember standing outside every evening looking up at the stars, and moon since for the first time in several years I could SEE them.


Sometimes the quality of light can effect how clearly print is. I find that in murkey light, some letters are less clear, but its a minor problem. And for close up, I use the commercial glasses (from a company on the net, three pairs for 20 dollars, with excellent quality). But when you go outside the world looks like it did before your eyes got messed up.


There is this great joy when you go out at dusk and the sky and the flowers and land are full of color and shadow and now you can SEE all the details that link things together.
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Old 12-15-2018, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,167 posts, read 8,691,075 times
Reputation: 6167
Smile Surgery

Long story but I had 1 eye done when I was in my 30's. It was done the old way (1992) and no longer am near sighted or far sighted. It was amazing and gave me more years of life with sight which I do not take lightly.

I am blind in the other eye and there is a huge cataract in that eye but the doctor says to leave it and thinks removing it will cause the good eye (20/50 LOL) trauma.

So, nothing will be done.

Unfortunately, people are rude and will say "what is wrong with your eye?" meaning the blind one.
I have a sister even who will make comments about it (Wow, it seems so much worse than it used to be).

I am grateful for what I have, no longer drive but I can fake that pretty well.

No one in my family understands since they all have perfect vision. My brother had the Lasik done and "got it" for a while but I don't people really get it unless they experience it. For example, I have no depth perception so going down stairs with flowery carpet is a real nightmare for me. (My husband is a saint).

The hardest part when I had the surgery was finding a doctor to do it because of only 1 eye (no one wanted the liability). I finally found the best one and he was amazing. He was also chief of opthamology at a major hospital. Anway, I went into the hospital, had it done. (I remember after getting out 24 hours later, my husband and I went to lunch at a lovely French restaurant and I could READ the menu!!) Still remember that moment and then going home and seeing - really seeing - my children.

The doctor who did the surgery passed away unexpectedly 6 months later. I feel I was meant to get it done when I did. Timing is everything.
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Old 12-15-2018, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Central NY
4,662 posts, read 3,241,188 times
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When I had my glaucoma surgery, my doctor also did cataract surgery at the same time. My left eye is almost perfect. My right eye? Not so much. Apparently when he was putting the new lens in, it got stuck on the iris. So, I had a lot of problems with that eye. After a few months, I had a LOT of laser shots in that eye to do whatever. I assume to loosen the lens from the iris.

That was in 2010/2011.

Some more problems with the right eye and have an appointment with another specialist. I've had a "pucker" on the retina (I am never sure if I'm saying the right thing). If it is still there and causing the new problem, I'll have another surgery.

While I know it will help me, I'm not looking forward to it.
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Old 12-15-2018, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Tennessee at last!
1,886 posts, read 2,037,294 times
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I had poor vision all my life. Could never even see the big E on the eye chart. I had 20/500 vision. Thick coke bottle type glasses gave me better vision, but the world was curved and still it was t 20/20 vision.


I was tested for Lasik and did not qualify.


I was going to have lense replacement surgery- the same as used for cataracts-- when I lived in California. Quoted over $20,000 for both eyes with symphony lenses. Insurance does not pay anything as its considered optional.

I decided to wait until after I retired.


I moved to Tennessee when I retired. The same surgery with the same lenses was $3900 per eye, less than $8000 for everything! And still the insurance did not cover anything.


So check around for the prices.


I had the surgery a few months ago and now have 20/20 vision for the first time in my life! Amazing to wake up and see.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,167 posts, read 8,691,075 times
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Smile So happy for you.....

When I had mine done (1 eye), it was $14,500 with insurance. Since my insurance did not cover pre-existing conditions, I was paying cash.

It was $4500 - I had to pay it before the surgery which was the next day.

I wish my blind eye could come back to life! It was damaged after I was born (as the good one was also) - 10 months in the hospital to get to 5 pounds. (Now, I gain 5 pounds overnight) - LOL.

But, I'm grateful I can see what I see.

I have a good memory so I remember steps, how many, where they are, stupid stuff like that.

Lae - So excited for you! I understand - I really do!! Happy years ahead for you, I'm sure!!
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,088 posts, read 22,943,598 times
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I had cataract surgery in one eye a couple years ago. I have Medi-Cal, which is CA's version of Medicaid. I had no deductible. Nobody ever asked me which lens I wanted. I had no idea there were options. I just took what they gave me.

The results are incredible. I was very far sighted in that eye, but even my far vision was really blurry. With the new lens, I can now read the microwave clock across the apartment at night in the dark without my glasses. I can see the leaves on the trees in the distance without glasses.

My cataract was really bad. if I ever was able to test drive one lens or the other, I might notice a difference. But, whatever lens they gave me that was covered, made such a vast improvement in my vision, that I have zero complaints. And my vision in that eye is now 20/10. Better than 20/20. When the surgeon, after my surgery, told me I had 20/10 vision, I said, you know, I never knew what those numbers meant. And in case you don't either, it means I can see at 20 feet, what most people need to be 10 feet away to see.

I will mention, that with the new lens, you will lose any ability to adjust your eyesight to close and far. So, you'll still need bifocals, if the lens they put in is designed for far vision. So, without any glasses, my far vision is amazing. But, to read, I still need glasses. So, my eyeglasses actually just have a clear lens on top for my eye that had surgery, with a bifocal lens for reading under it. Because I don't need any correction for far vision.

And, I still struggle with reading anything that's in-between a reading distance for a book or computer screen, and far vision. For instance, reading store shelves that are a few feet away, are still a big challenge.

So, it won't make your eye like a healthy young person's eye, with the ability to focus, near and far and in-between, but I still say the surgery is worth having. And if your vision is pretty bad, like mine was, I wouldn't worry about paying extra for fancy lenses. As I say, I was never asked, and just took whatever was covered by Medi-Caid, and I'm thrilled. If it could be even better, I'm completely unaware of that, and as I'm happy, I don't care.

The surgery isn't fun, but the results are worth it. Good luck.
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Old 12-16-2018, 11:27 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,745 posts, read 7,030,085 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
I had cataract surgery in one eye a couple years ago. I have Medi-Cal, which is CA's version of Medicaid. I had no deductible. Nobody ever asked me which lens I wanted. I had no idea there were options. I just took what they gave me.

The results are incredible. I was very far sighted in that eye, but even my far vision was really blurry. With the new lens, I can now read the microwave clock across the apartment at night in the dark without my glasses. I can see the leaves on the trees in the distance without glasses.

My cataract was really bad. if I ever was able to test drive one lens or the other, I might notice a difference. But, whatever lens they gave me that was covered, made such a vast improvement in my vision, that I have zero complaints. And my vision in that eye is now 20/10. Better than 20/20. When the surgeon, after my surgery, told me I had 20/10 vision, I said, you know, I never knew what those numbers meant. And in case you don't either, it means I can see at 20 feet, what most people need to be 10 feet away to see.

I will mention, that with the new lens, you will lose any ability to adjust your eyesight to close and far. So, you'll still need bifocals, if the lens they put in is designed for far vision. So, without any glasses, my far vision is amazing. But, to read, I still need glasses. So, my eyeglasses actually just have a clear lens on top for my eye that had surgery, with a bifocal lens for reading under it. Because I don't need any correction for far vision.

And, I still struggle with reading anything that's in-between a reading distance for a book or computer screen, and far vision. For instance, reading store shelves that are a few feet away, are still a big challenge.

So, it won't make your eye like a healthy young person's eye, with the ability to focus, near and far and in-between, but I still say the surgery is worth having. And if your vision is pretty bad, like mine was, I wouldn't worry about paying extra for fancy lenses. As I say, I was never asked, and just took whatever was covered by Medi-Caid, and I'm thrilled. If it could be even better, I'm completely unaware of that, and as I'm happy, I don't care.

The surgery isn't fun, but the results are worth it. Good luck.
Sounds as though you got the monocular lens to correct nearsightedness-ie, giving you the ability to see distances clearly. That's what I have too. As I understand it, a monocular lens is covered by Medicare (they pay 80% with the patient, or a Part B supplement, or in your case, Medical paying the other 20%) but the "deluxe" lenses, those that correct for both far and near distance, or astigmatism, are not.

I'm happy with my results too, and they're exactly as you explained it (very well, by the way).

I do miss that ability of my own eyes to focus up close too, but figure it's a tradeoff for that amazing distance vision, and the sharp, vivid images and colors I couldn't see before, even with glasses.

So I keep a number of pairs of dollar store cheapy magnifier glasses around, so they're easy to find when I need them for reading computer work, and even answering the phone.
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