Have you had, or are you thinking of getting, cataract surgery? As we age, the lenses in our eyes may become foggy, but thanks to modern medicine, we can have the lens replaced with a new one – Cool! It’s a common surgery done on an outpatient basis.
I thought I’d share a few tips, from my own experience, with you, for planning purposes…
Most of us on Medicare check in with our insurance to make sure a procedure is covered before having it done so that we don’t go into sticker shock when we receive the bill.
I called and was informed that there would be a $400 copay for each eye. That’s a bit steep for me, but most surgeons are booking months in advance now, so I was able to save most of it before the day arrived. I thought I was all set.
The paperwork from my eye doctor mentioned a “refraction test,” that my ophthalmologist would need to do after each surgery, was not covered by Medicare. I didn’t ask the cost of that, as I thought it would be a regular $45 copay, but it came to $125 for each eye. Surprise! :O
When Medicare doesn’t cover a medical expense, it also gives your Medicare Advantage insurance plan a reason not to pay it. I promised I would not rant about health care in the US, so I will not explain further than that. What I will do is advise that if you are also on a budget, prepare for more like $1100 in copays instead of $800.
Another tip I’d like to mention is that it’s better to plan on someone taking you to your follow-up appointment the day after each surgery. Both the eye doctor and hospital insist that you not drive yourself to or from your surgery because you receive general anesthesia and may be a bit drowsy and not capable of driving. The next day however, you will have a follow-up visit with your ophthalmologist and the paperwork mentions several surgical after effects. Your vision may be blurry, or sensitive to light, or you may have a bit of inflammation. What the paperwork doesn’t say is that any or all of these things may affect your vision enough to make driving difficult. After my first eye, I was unable to see well enough to drive the 50 minutes to my doctor’s office and had to scramble to find someone who could take me. For the second eye, I planned for a ride, and was happy about that, even though the second eye was not as bad as the first.
The doctor also gave me some restrictions for two weeks after surgery. No strenuous physical exercise, no bending over, no mowing the lawn or gardening, as dirt in the eye would be a big problem. However, they also schedule your second eye for two weeks after the first one, so this really means that all these restrictions continue for four weeks. That’s a long time for no strenuous physical exercise; but the thing that was most difficult for me was no bending over. This is something that everyone at the doctor’s office and at the hospital goes over with you again because of pressure in the eye when your head is lower than your heart. They advise you to squat to pick up anything; that can be a lot of squats per day. Putting the dishes in the dishwasher, putting laundry in the washer, getting clothes out of the bottom drawer, etc. All these things involve bending over, but we don’t really think about them. I wish I’d prepared my legs for that, and would highly recommend doing several squats, at least three times a day for the month before your surgeries so that your legs don’t scream so loud afterwards…
Over all, I’m delighted with my new eye lenses. I can see everything without glasses – even for reading, and I see colors of the hummingbirds at my feeder much more vividly than I did before. The procedure itself was relatively painless, went quickly, and the required eye drops were not all that difficult to get into my eyes.
If you also have any suggestions or tips from your own experience, please share them in the comments!
Here’s a little video of my hummingbirds – what colors do you see?
Best of Health,