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Old 05-23-2006, 10:03 PM   #1
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cataract surgery

I was diagnosed with cataracts last year. My left eye is worse than my right. I've noticed my left eye getting a little worse over the past year, but on Thursday it suddenly became worse. I can barely see. Everything is a blur and I can't read at all. Overnight I went from seeing to looking through a heavy fog. I can see colors, and light/dark, but details are gone. Anyway, I went to the specialist today and he said that the cataract in my left eye is definetly bad. He was unable to see through it to check the health of the back of my eye. He said that my right eye is getting worse too, and isn't far behind my left eye. He told me that I need cataract surgery on the left eye immed., and to plan on the right eye in the next year. He told me that because of my age (40), I should look into getting the new bifocal lense. He said that I would be able to see near and far with it. He did tell me that it would cost me an extra $1500 out of my pocket because insurance considers it a new lens and won't pay the full cost of it. I'm seriously looking at getting this lens, but I want to learn more about it. Has anyone had this type of lens implanted and is it worth it? I can't believe how fast this cataract advanced. It's a tad scary. I definetly have to have the surgery. My "good" eye is straining so bad to compensate for the bad eye and I'm having headaches avery day, not to mention that looking through a fog is really messing with me. It really is messing with my depth perception.
Any information/experience with this lens would be greatly appreciated.

 
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:48 PM   #2
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Re: cataract surgery

I met someone who had the same sudden change when he was in his 40s and had the surgery immediately.
I was diagnosed in my 40s, but didn't have the surgery until this past year at 52, and even then, it probably could have waited.
I got a different lens in each eye, both promised clear vision at "all" distances. You are right to want the whole story. If you live near a university or liberal arts college, there is probably a science librarian who could help you research it.
The insurance wasn't supposed to pay for my first one, but I delayed (for other reasons) for a couple of months, and they wound up reimbursing me for the $700.
The second one had not yet been approved by the time I went to surgery, but I didn't want to wait because of not being able to function with one eye 20/20 for distance in bright light, and the other -6 in all light, and not being able to wear a contac lens in the nearsighted eye because of severe dry eye.
So, I wound up paying $800+ for that one.
And so, if you can wait a couple of months, your insurance might cover the cost.
Maybe you can wait long enough for the second eye, at least.

 
Old 05-24-2006, 10:43 PM   #3
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Re: cataract surgery

So you have bifocal lenses in each eye, just different brands? Do you really see at all distances? I'm looking at having the surgery sometime in July, providing my eye doesn't get any worse. As it is, I'm probably considered legally blind in that eye now. A new prescription won't help me at this time. I'm still in the process of getting information. I've been online for hours reading everything I can find. I'll be calling my insurance tommorrow to see what they pay on this. What a pain in the butt.

 
Old 05-27-2006, 01:07 AM   #4
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Re: cataract surgery

They're not called "bifocal," but they are designed to give near and far vision. One is a Crystalens, it moves within the eye in response to the same muscles used for focusing the natural lens, but it doesn't move in quite the same way and doesn't do well for reading distance. The other lens is a ReStor, which has 12 concentric circles/layers of lenses that alternate between near and far. It doesn't manage mid-distance very well, but does exceptionally well with distance, and acceptably well with close.
HOWEVER, both lenses do not work well in low light conditions.
But this has improved somewhat over time.
And both have starburst effects at night.
Some of the newest ones are supposed to work better in low light and at night.

Are you nearsighted now?

 
Old 05-27-2006, 10:43 PM   #5
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Re: cataract surgery

Yes, I'm very near-sighted now. Which lens do you prefer? I'd love to have my eye-sight as near to normal as can be, although I know that probably isn't a reality. I'm only 40, so I was thinking that I would want the lenses that can do the near and far. What do you mean by the mid distance not being that great?And by acceptable on the near vision, do you mean you can see clearly close up, or that it's still a little blurry? It's a lot of money out of pocket to get the "improved lenses", so I want to make sure it's worth the extra cost. If it's not really worth it, I think I would go with the far distance vision and just use reading glasses for close up. I need to call my doctor on Tuesday to find out what lens he was thinking of using for the multifocal. I won't be able to do the surgery until sometime in July because of insurance purposes and I'm hoping my eye holds up til then. It seems to be getting a little worse each day. I've had a slight headache all day and driving home from work tonight was a bit more difficult. It's amazing how much this throws off your depth perception. After you had your first surgery, how did they work the glasses out? I know my glasses will be fine for the right eye, but if the left eye is now a "new" eye, how do they work that lens?
I think I read somewhere that it's common for the capsule behind the lens to cloud up later. If they do the YAG, doesn't that mean that you can't exchange lenses later if you don't like the one you have? I don't really plan on exchanging a lens (who wants to go through this again and again?), but I'd like to know all the options, etc.
Any information is greatly appreciated. You can read all the literature out there, but it's so much nicer to have first hand experiences. I know every one is different, but it does give you some idea of the reality of it. The doctors definetly don't give you all the info.

 
Old 05-29-2006, 12:22 AM   #6
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Re: cataract surgery

Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
Yes, I'm very near-sighted now.
I was too. It seems many cataract surgery patients are retired, married (someone to chauffeur), and farsighted. I found the office to be very indifferent to my needs as someone who is none of the above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
Which lens do you prefer?
I'll have to say that the jury is still out on that one. They're just different, each having advantages and drawbacks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
I'd love to have my eye-sight as near to normal as can be, although I know that probably isn't a reality.
Even at 40, you've probably been nearsighted for 30 years. So "normal" meaning 20/20 is very different from what your brain considers to be normal. This was the biggest issue that the doctor failed to address, and working full time, it matters. Many people will tell you that you can go back to work, drive, etc. the next day. It's a good thing I only live a mile from my job. Although I was not able to do a lot of things for several months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
I'm only 40, so I was thinking that I would want the lenses that can do the near and far.
LOL. At any age.
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
What do you mean by the mid distance not being that great?
It's blurry with the ReStor eye, but clear with the Crystalens. But with both eyes I can see well enough without glasses to watch tv. But when I am assisting someone with a computer application, even with the glasses I now have, it's difficult at times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
And by acceptable on the near vision, do you mean you can see clearly close up, or that it's still a little blurry?
Blurry isn't quite the issue. It's a little ghosty. I'm talking about reading or threading a needle. I prefer to use reading glasses, but maybe if both eyes saw as well up close as the Restor lens eye, I wouldn't bother with the glasses as much for close work. And doesn't work well in poor light. But that's improving as my brain is learning to use this new equipment. I can see anything and everything in bright light.

Having been visually handicapped by extreme nearsightedness my whole life means my brain has learned to recognize things that are out of focus, if you know what I mean. Like I could recognize someone at a distance without glasses by the way they walked. So at least my brain is used to making those kinds of connections.

It's just that I no longer have really clear, really close vision. There's a whole universe in tiny things. This is the other concept that the eye doctors don't seem to consider at all. Nearsightedness is the gift of being able to see near, but we live in a society where its considered to be a handicap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
It's a lot of money out of pocket to get the "improved lenses", so I want to make sure it's worth the extra cost.
Ideally you should also "talk" with someone who has had the single-focal lens implant. I don't know how broad is the range at which they can see. For instance, can they see a tv across the room without glasses?
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
I need to call my doctor on Tuesday to find out what lens he was thinking of using for the multifocal.
Yes, definitely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
It's amazing how much this throws off your depth perception. After you had your first surgery, how did they work the glasses out? I know my glasses will be fine for the right eye, but if the left eye is now a "new" eye, how do they work that lens?
Not very well. Again, there was no consideration of how this would work, even though I asked questions both before and after the surgery. Like I said above, most of their patients don't need to see for a living. If you can wear a contac lens in the eye with your natural, nearsighted lens, you will be fine. I could not. With the Crystalens, your eye is kept dialated with drops for a couple of weeks. During that time I wore my glasses without one lens. After the drops wore off, my brain could not compute what it was seeing and it was very disorienting. This was why I had the second eye done within about 6 weeks of the first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
I think I read somewhere that it's common for the capsule behind the lens to cloud up later. If they do the YAG, doesn't that mean that you can't exchange lenses later if you don't like the one you have? I don't really plan on exchanging a lens (who wants to go through this again and again?), but I'd like to know all the options, etc.
Yes and yes. We think alike. Post the name of the new lens and I can at least look up the likelihood of it causing the capsule to cloud. But my understanding is that in time they all cloud. Mine are cloudy now, but I haven't done the YAG yet. There are risks with any procedure.

And as I learned from the surgery, be sure the outcome is going to be better than not having the surgery. They kept promising me it would be so much better. Well, my eyesight without glasses is miraculously better. But what nearsighted person spends any time without her glasses? Still, I can see the other side of Lake Michigan now on a clear day, and I never saw that before ever.

The procedure itself is a piece of cake. But the risks are considerable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by my2sorefeet
Any information is greatly appreciated. You can read all the literature out there, but it's so much nicer to have first hand experiences. I know every one is different, but it does give you some idea of the reality of it. The doctors definitely don't give you all the info.
That's how I felt too. I hope you get to talk to someone with the single focus lens and compare.

 
Old 05-30-2006, 09:33 AM   #7
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Re: cataract surgery

I just called my doctor and was told that he will use either the ReStor or the Rezoom lens. My insurance won't pay for those lenses, so I'll have to pay $1695 out of my own pocket. I'll have to pay another $250 on top of that, but I guess that's not too bad. I've spent a little time online looking for info on both lenses, but so far I've only found all the sites that rave about the lenses, nothing about the reality of it. I guess I'll keep looking for the info when I get a minute. It's been a pain trying to read the info. My left eye barely has any vision left in it, I definately can't read with it, so I'm getting major headaches as my right eye is trying to do all the work. I've got some of the same concerns as you do with seeing. I have to see at night; I get off work at 10 pm. I also have lots of paper work to do, so up close is vital. I need the far vision too, based on my job. I know it won't be perfect, but I can wish.

Last edited by my2sorefeet; 05-31-2006 at 03:18 PM.

 
Old 05-30-2006, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: cataract surgery

The ReZoom was supposed to be better for night driving, but the actual statistics on the trials seemed to indicate only slight improvement in that respect.
With Restor, you would wear low power glasses for mid-range (computer).
I'll post some more info when I have time in the next few days.

 
Old 05-31-2006, 03:17 PM   #9
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Re: cataract surgery

I spent hours online last night researching both lenses. I found a sight where people post there experiences. A lot of people have a Restor/Rezoom combo. There were mostly positive reviews, with a few negative. Most people said that the combo worked because one lens compensated for the weakness the other lens might have. So they had good far, intermedate, and near vision, night vision wasn't bad. Halos were an issue at first, but soon decreased, etc. I called my doctor again, and they said he had Rezoom listed for me. I want to talk to him myself before he orders the lens. Most people said that they had the Rezoom put in their dominate eye, and the ReStor in the other one. I had always thought that my right eye was my dominate one, so I want to check with him. He may be thinking of putting Rezoom in both eyes. I went ahead and scheduled my surgery for July 19th, so I have a little time to get things ironed out. I also have to come up with the cash by then. I just hope my eye holds up til then. The headaches are really wearing me down, and the vision is getting less and less. I can barely make out things now, only bright colors and light and dark. Everything else is gone. I really have to watch that I don't hit the left side of my head on things because I can't see them. I about ran into a cupboard door yesterday. What a pain. As poor as my vision was over the years, I've realized with all of this how much I have taken it for granted.

 
Old 06-01-2006, 04:23 AM   #10
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Re: cataract surgery

Sore Feet: Do you know how to determine which eye is dominant?
With both eyes open, extend your arm and point at a far away object. Close your left eye. If your finger is still pointing at the object, your right eye is dominant. When you close your right eye, your finger will appear to move away from the object.

Oh, I just remembered, you can hardly see out of your left eye. Well, it might still work.

 
Old 06-01-2006, 06:03 AM   #11
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Artificial Lenses

Good luck to all of you. Don't worry about your age. You're not old at all. I read that one in three people get cataracts, and I think it said even children can have them, but my memory may be wrong about that.

My first eye cataract removal gave a LITTLE improvement. I went from 20/800 to 20/400, so it's still not at all good, due to scar tissue from previous lasers for diabetic retinopathy. At least the cataract is out of there so the retina specialist can see her work area better.

Last edited by Eagle; 06-16-2006 at 04:20 AM. Reason: Remove An Error

 
Old 06-01-2006, 12:04 PM   #12
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Re: cataract surgery

Keela
I tried what you suggested and I am right eye dominant.

 
Old 06-02-2006, 04:57 AM   #13
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Re: cataract surgery

Glad to be of use Most right-handed people are right eye dominant.

 
Old 06-02-2006, 10:30 AM   #14
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Re: cataract surgery

Keela
I figured I was right-eye dominant because I am right-handed, but also because I tend to use that eye more. I have for years. My left would get tired easier too.
It really stinks not being able to see much out of this eye. I keep running into things on my left side. I turned around yesterday and smacked into the corner of the wall, then again later into the bannister on my stairs. It's just little things, but I'm amazed at how much the loss of vision in an eye throws you off. By the time I have my surgery, I'll be black and blue.

 
Old 06-02-2006, 06:09 PM   #15
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Re: cataract surgery

2feet,

Did your searching take you to the Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today articles? I was just reading through their observations for the Crystalens, Restor, ReZoom, and Tecnis lenses, and the information seemed on target, based on my personal experience with the Crystalens and the Restor, and on my research on the Tecnis and ReZoom.

This was new to me: "With the Rezoom IOL, patients need a larger pupil to read, because the near does not start until past 2.5mm. With the Acrysof Restor IOL, a bigger pupil decreases the patientís ability to read, because the lens becomes more distance dominant. I actually have Rezoom patients who say, 'I can read, but I have to turn down the lights.'"

It would be good to make a list of your activities for a few days, with a column for the time spent in the activity, and another for the type of vision needed: close range, intermediate, or distance.

Last edited by seriousperson; 06-02-2006 at 06:30 PM.

 
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