Welcome to part 2 of our blog series on cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the most common eye surgeries performed, and most likely at some point you or a family member will be having cataract surgery. This week, we will delve into more of the pre-op procedure, details of the actual surgery, and, the most stressful part of cataract surgery—the eye drops!
Do I need a physical before cataract surgery?
Yes. After you and your surgeon have decided cataract surgery is the best option, you will meet with a surgery scheduler. Our fabulous Vicki or Therese will go over step by step what needs to be done before surgery. A pre-op physical will be scheduled by one of these ladies with your primary care doctor before surgery. They will call that day and make the arrangements.
Do I have to use eye drops?
Yes. The eye drops are used 2 days before surgery then for about 4 weeks after, with a tapering schedule over that time. Vicki or Therese will give you a very detailed drop schedule, so you will know exactly when to take the eye drops. The drops prevent infection and ensure the eye to heal quickly and to the best visual outcome.
Does my insurance pay for the eye drops?
Sometimes. We suggest you call your insurance company to find out coverage. Some plans cover very well, some do not. We have 2 drop options for our patients. If you are using insurance to cover the drops, we prescribe 3 separate generic drops. You are given a detailed drop schedule to insure you are using them correctly.
If your insurance coverage isn’t great, or the thought of juggling 3 different drops is daunting, we do have another option. Imprimis is a combination drop not covered by insurance. It is more convenient, and if there is no insurance coverage for drops, much less expensive. On average patients need one bottle of Imprimis per eye surgery, at an out of pocket cost of $50.00 per bottle. Imprimis is purchased at the front desk of our office.
What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery involves making a small incision in the eye, removing the cloudy lens, and replacing it with a clear lens made of plastic. This is an outpatient procedure with mild anesthesia. Eye drops are used to numb the eye. The surgery is short, usually taking under half an hour. During the surgery, you will be lying on your back, looking up into a bright light. You will be awake; you and your surgeon will be talking back and forth. We listen to you. If anything bothers you, you are free to speak up and tell us. Our goal is to work with you, as a member of the team, to create a pleasant surgical experience and a great surgical result.
The surgeons at Relf EyeCare Specialists operate at Lakewalk Surgery Center, St. Luke’s and Miller Dwan (Essentia) Hospitals.
If your surgery is at a hospital, you should set aside 3 to 4 hours for your surgery. If your surgery is at Lakewalk Surgery Center, you should plan on 2 to 3 hours. The surgery center will call you the day before the procedure to let you know what time to be there, but it’s usually early morning.
Use your eye drops as directed that day. If you take Glaucoma drops, take those too!
Next week, Cataract Surgery: Part 3 we’ll cover the measurements taken before cataract surgery and the options for lens implants.