Do You Need Cataract Surgery?

Do You Need Cataract Surgery?

Many of us take our sight for granted. And unless it happens to us, we don’t fully understand how the diminishing of this essential sense is life changing. Impaired vision is detrimental to all facets of life and increases the possibility of depression and social isolation.  If you suspect, or know you have a cataract, you are not alone. In the United States more than 25 million Americans have cataracts.  A normal eye lens is clear, but when it becomes opaque or cloudy, it’s called a cataract. When this happens the amount of light that can reach the retina is reduced so your sight becomes blurry. Once a cataract has developed to this point it often interferes with your normal activities including driving, reading, and watching television.  

When do you need Cataract Surgery? Depending on the severity of the cataract and the impact on your life, cataract surgery many become necessary. If you are wondering if cataract surgery is the right choice for you, consider the impact of diminishing sight on your life.

  1. Are you able to drive safely?
  2. Are cataracts preventing you from doing your job?
  3. Are daily tasks, such as cooking and shopping hard?
  4. What about taking medications?
  5. Are cataracts affecting your ability to live independently? 

“I remember after the (cataract) surgery, the vibrance of the colors. Before, everything was gray.” Paulette Trump What is Cataract Surgery? Cataract Surgery is a procedure where the eye lens is removed and then replaced, often with an artificial lens called an IOL (Intraocular Cataract Lens).  This is a surgery that is performed by an eye doctor and most patients go home the same day. In the United States,  cataract surgery is common with millions of cataract procedures are done every year  and  considered to be a very safe procedure.   Often the solution to repair cataracts is straight forward but often expensive (See How much does Cataract Surgery Cost?). 

Cataract surgery which has been around for a long time dating back to 1747 when the first reported surgical removal of cataract took place.  Hundreds of years means a dramatically improved process as the Mayo Clinic This means doctors have had a long time to keep improving this procedure. According to the Mayo Clinic cataract surgery complications are not common and if any should occur, they can be treated successfully. A few of the potential risks include inflammation, infection (just as in any surgery), bleeding, swelling, and drooping eyelid.  In order to minimize your risk of complications it’s important to have your eye fully evaluated to know if there are any other eye health issues that may have damaged the eye or that should be treated prior to surgery. In most cataract surgery patients, the procedure successfully restores the gift of sight and have no complications.

Cataract Surgery Process

To give you an idea of the cataract surgery process let’s talk about preparing for the procedure. Because cataract surgery is most often a straightforward procedure, preparing for cataract surgery isn’t hard. You will undergo some painless eye measurement tests to help determine the right lens for you. You may need to temporarily stop some medications that might increase surgical bleeding risk. You may be prescribed antibiotic eye drops. You’ll also be given pre-op instructions which explain not to eat or drink starting a certain number of hours prior to the procedure.  Even though it is likely you will be going home the same day you have your surgery, you won’t be able to drive so you’ll need to make some arrangements, so you have help.  In some cases a cataract can be removed without the need for an artificial lens. But if you will need a new lens, prior to surgery you and your doctor will have a discussion about which IOL (intraocular lens) is the best one for you. An important factor to realize is that once the lens is in place it’s a permanent part of your eye and you won’t even be aware that it’s there.  The procedure itself takes less than an hour and after your surgery your vision will begin improving within days. Any mild discomfort or itching usually goes away quickly. 

The Cost of Cataract Surgery depends on several factors including the type of lens implant (IOL) you receive as well as the technology that is utilized during your procedure. A rough estimate of the cost is between $3500 and $6000 per eye.   When Thomas Myles started losing his vision, it was pretty scary. He didn’t have insurance, and he and his wife couldn’t afford the $300-$400 per month premium. But Thomas’s job depended on his vision. He works in the printing industry as a pressman. “My job is my eyes,” he told us. “Without my eyes, I don’t have a job.” After Thomas returned home from his first (cataract) surgery, he took off the patch over his eye. “It was like someone just turned on a light,” he says. “I could see in 3D.”   Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation of Southern California (LSH) fund critically needed treatment to help restore sight for people in our service area who lack the income and/or don’t have adequate insurance coverage.

LSH might be able to help with the cost of your eye surgery/procedure.

To find out if you qualify go to How Do I Qualify or call 1-800-647-6638.

Our staff is happy to provide guidance through the process.


How To Qualify