Oh my gosh, I have cataracts! I won't be having PRK.

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Oh my gosh, I have cataracts! I won't be having PRK.

Postby Cindy G » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:28 pm

I went for all of the testing today to find out if I can have corrective surgery and before I left I was scheduling cataract surgery. I am only 47. The good thing about it is that I can now have my eyes fixed and insurance will pay for it!

I am really bothered by something though. I had testing scheduled for corrective surgery the first week in October at another place. When I called up to cancel, the gal wanted to know why. I told her. Then she suggests that I come in anyway for a second opinion. If I have a cataracts, I have cataracts, don't I? She said she has never heard of anyone that young having them. I don't think cataracts can be mistaken for anything else.

I already paid them in advance $100.00 for the testing. When I paid the money I understood that it was non refundable. I thought that maybe due to the circumstances they would refund my money. I mean why would I go through the same testing again when I know what is going on with me.

She talked me into having a regular eye exam where I would just pay my $20.00 co-pay. She said that if I came in for that, that they would refund my $100.00. She said this exam would confirm if I really had cataracts.

It is not that I don't believe the doctor that said I have them. I just feel like this is the only way I am going be able to get some of my money back. I would surely hope that they would not lie to me and tell me something different just so I might consider letting them do some type of procedure or surgery. I mean that would be totally unethical, wouldn't it.

Speaking of unethical, is there a place you can call to report a situation like this. I called the American Academy of Ophthalmology and they told me they couldn't help me. I am just very uneasy about what is going one here.
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Re: Oh my gosh, I have cataracts! I won't be having PRK.

Postby LasikExpert » Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:40 am

Cindy G wrote:I am really bothered by something though. I had testing scheduled for corrective surgery the first week in October at another place. When I called up to cancel, the gal wanted to know why. I told her. Then she suggests that I come in anyway for a second opinion. If I have a cataracts, I have cataracts, don't I? She said she has never heard of anyone that young having them. I don't think cataracts can be mistaken for anything else.


Most certainly people of your age can develop cataracts. Cataracts are most commonly associate with age, but can also be caused by traumatic events to the eyes.

A cataract means that the natural lens within the eye has become cloudy. The issue of interpretation is how cloudy and where is the cloudiness. Cataracts do not need to be removed until they interfere with a person's normal activities. You could have a cataract so far outside the center of your vision that it really does not affect your vision quality.

There are advantages to cataract surgery (see our article on Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)) and some disadvantages.

You already noted that insurance will pay. That is a big plus. Also, your cataracts will undoubtedly progress over time, so getting them resolved now means you don't need to do it again later.

A couple of disadvantages are that cataract surgery is much more traumatic to the eye than Lasik or PRK. Even though cataract surgery is relatively safe, surgery is within the eye.

You will lose all ability to focus on near objects. You will need reading glasses to see anything close. There are multifocal and accommodating lenses to help you see near, mid, and far, but they have their own drawbacks, including increased incidence of halos. The accommodating lenses (Crystalens) don't often cause halos, but then they don't always help with near and distance vision.

Cataract surgery is as serious or even more serious a decision as PRK. If your refractive error is more than about 6.00 diopters, you should probably be checked by a retina specialist before having RLE/cataract surgery. Proceed with care and caution.

Cindy G wrote:It is not that I don't believe the doctor that said I have them. I just feel like this is the only way I am going be able to get some of my money back.


In the overall scheme of things, $100 really is not the issue. You need to know if having RLE/cataract surgery now is the best choice for you.

It may be that your cataracts are marginal and your doctor is trying to help you out by making the diagnosis now and you can get both the vision correction you seek and resolve an issue that will eventually cause you problems anyway...plus it's paid by insurance.

It may be that the other doctor only does Lasik and wants you for a Lasik patient. There are many possibilities, but what I suggest is you invest in one more examination, but make it from a cataract specialist in a university affiliated teaching hospital. This will probably give you the unbiased opinion you seek.

If you have cataracts, even marginal cataracts, RLE/cataract surgery may be the most appropriate recommendation for you.

Cindy G wrote:Speaking of unethical, is there a place you can call to report a situation like this. I called the American Academy of Ophthalmology and they told me they couldn't help me. I am just very uneasy about what is going one here.


It is very, very common for several doctors to see the same patient and provide a different diagnosis regarding cataracts. One may say they are there, one may say they are not, one may say they are interfering with vision in some manner (low light, glare, etc.), another may say they need to be removed immediately, and another may say they are fine and do not need to be removed.
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