You have been having some trouble reading lately and driving at night is becoming more difficult. Nothing seems to be as colorful as it used to be. Your eye doctor finally tells you that cataracts are the problem, and you need to have them removed to improve your vision. Surgery on your eyes seems frightening even though you’re aware it’s a very common procedure. You may be able to relieve any anxiety by knowing what to ask your provider about cataract surgery.
The Top Baseline Questions to Ask
How will having cataract surgery improve my vision?
Right now the natural lens in your eye has developed a cloudiness over the years. That’s why you cannot see things, including colors, as you have in the past. It is like looking through a dirty windshield. Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear artificial lens. Once the natural lens is removed, the clarity of your vision will improve greatly.
Will I be able to see without any glasses?
That is doubtful. Rarely does anyone have cataract surgery and never needs to wear glasses again. Most people choose a monofocal lens implant which gives you good vision at one range like distance vision. This will then necessitate reading glasses for close vision like reading or working on the computer.
Can I pick the type of lens I want implanted?
Mostly yes, but this depends on whether you have astigmatism or presbyopia.
There are 3 most common types of intraocular lenses, known as IOLs.
- Monofocal is the most common and patients choose it to see at a set distance like near, intermediate or far. Most patients choose monofocal lenses to have clear distance vision, and therefore need glasses or contact lenses to read.
- Multifocal lenses allow you to see at every distance but only when both eyes need surgery. This lens has some drawbacks as patients may see glare and halos around lights at night.
- Accommodative lens will give you good vision at all distances, but you still may need some glasses for reading especially in low light situations.
There are additional choices known as premium lenses.
Will my insurance or Medicare pay for the surgery?
Yes, Medicare pays for almost all charges. However, it only pays for the monofocal lens implants. You pay out of pocket for a different IOL. Check with your insurance company about what they cover.
What is the success rate of cataract surgery?
According to the National Library of Medicine, it improves vision for 95% of patients.
Additional Questions to Ask
- How do I prepare for cataract surgery?
- What is the typical recovery like?
- Are there any side effects?
- Will I be awake during surgery?
- Will I feel any pain?
- Can I drive after cataract surgery?
- When can I go back to regular activities and exercise?
- How soon can I travel?
- What is the schedule for follow-up appointments?