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Cataract FAQs

 

What is the cost of the surgery?
Medicare covers 80% of the cost of cataract surgery, as long as vision criteria have been met. If you have this or other insurance, our surgery scheduler will check your coverage and review the details with you when she calls to schedule your surgery. If you do not have insurance, she will outline cash payment costs.

There is also a facility charge, about which the Surgery Center will call you directly–their telephone number is (303) 682-0375.

Finally, there is an anesthesiology fee—if you need details on this fee, please call (800) 242-1131.

Are there any other costs involved?
Yes. You need to have three different eye drops. The cost of these is determined by your prescription coverage and deductible.
Your surgeon may recommend the TORIC intraocular lens if you have astigmatism. This premium lens is not covered by insurance. If you choose this lens, you will pay $1100 per eye–this includes the surgeon’s fees as well as the lens itself. See the next question for further explanation.

What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism means that the cornea of your eye is shaped more like a football than a round ball. This irregular shape causes blurry vision. If you have astigmatism, you can wear glasses with a specific lens to correct it after the surgery, or you can select the TORIC intraocular lens to correct the astigmatism during surgery. If you have astigmatism and decline this premium lens, your surgeon will fit a standard lens at surgery and you will have glasses to correct the astigmatism. This is discussed at the pre-op visit.

What choices for vision will I have?
There are three distinct areas of focus that matter to us: distance vision (driving, TV), intermediate vision (computer, cans on shelves), and near vision (reading, crafting). At the pre-op visit, your surgeon will discuss which vision matters most to you. He or she will help you to choose an intraocular lens that best assists you with your individual vision needs.

Why do I need to stop fish oil and aspirin before the surgery?
They are both blood thinners and we want to avoid unnecessary bleeding during the surgery.

Do I take my regular medications on the morning of the surgery?
Yes, you can take necessary medicines on the morning of the surgery. Since you will be fasting, you are advised to take just a small sip of water with the medicines. If you are diabetic, you will take your medicine later in the day when you can eat food. Your surgeon will review your medications with you at the pre-op visit.

If the surgery takes less than 30 minutes, why do I have to be at the surgery center for 3 hours?
Your eye needs to be fully dilated to be ready for the surgery. The anesthesiologist will meet you, and you will change into a surgical gown for the procedure. Following the cataract surgery, staff will ensure that you are feeling well before the doctor discharges you home to the care of a family member or friend. Remember that since you have received anesthesia, you are not allowed to drive until the day following the surgery.

What kind of anesthetic is used?
Usually eye drops are administered, and an IV is placed for use by the anesthesiologist. Your surgeon will review this at the pre-op visit. Sometimes a deeper anesthetic is necessary.

Will I be awake during the surgery?
You may be awake, but with the anti-anxiety anesthesia you will feel relaxed, you may see bright colors, and you will find that the time passes very quickly.

What can go wrong in cataract surgery?
There are risks with any surgery, and the consent form details these risks. You will read the risks and sign the consent with your surgeon at your pre-op visit. There will be time to answer any questions or concerns you have regarding the risks and potential complications.

Will my eye be painful following the surgery?
Most patients do not report pain following the surgery. They describe a scratchy feeling, like having something in your eye, which lasts a day or two. You can take Tylenol or Ibuprofen if you have discomfort.

What will my vision be like following the surgery?
Your vision may be blurred after the surgery, and may take several days to clear. Your vision may vary day to day, or throughout the day, during the healing period.

When will I see my surgeon again?
At discharge from the Surgery Center, your surgeon will give you a post-op appointment for that same afternoon or for the following morning at the office. You will also be seen one week later and three weeks later.

I have difficulty putting in eye drops, what should I do?
Just let us know at the pre-op visit. We will be happy to instruct you, or a family member, so that you are comfortable with this task.

How long will I use eyedrops and will I need refills?
You will use the drops prescribed until the three bottles are empty, about two or three weeks. Rarely are refills required. If you are having cataract surgery on both eyes, this is performed on separate dates, and you will have a second set of eye drops for the second eye.

I have eyedrops for glaucoma, do I still use them?
Yes, continue to use all eyedrops as directed by your surgeon.

My glasses will be the wrong prescription, what do I do?
You will find that your other eye takes over so that you can continue using your current eyeglasses. Your eye will be tested three or four weeks after the surgery, and if needed, you will be given a new prescription for glasses.

Will I need glasses after the surgery?
Yes, once the eye/eyes are healed, you will be given a final prescription for glasses.
For example, if you asked for good distance vision, you may have only a small prescription for distance and will need reading glasses.

What activities should I avoid?
You should avoid anything that involves lifting a weight of 10 lbs or more, and also avoid bending over while lifting a weight of 10 lbs or more. Do not go swimming, or be involved in any sport where you could receive a knock in the head or fall over. Take these precautions for 1 week following the surgery. It is best to avoid rubbing your eyes for 1-2 weeks after the surgery.