Texas Eye Surgeon Explains Why Patients Aren’t “Doomed” to a Life of Readers and Bifocals After Treatment for Cataracts
By Dr. Greg Parkhurst, Founder of the NuVision Cataract Center
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the world. But there’s so much confusion and misinformation about cataracts.
In this short article, we want to set the record straight and clarify the common misconceptions about cataracts and cataract surgery.
Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process. Everyone fortunate to live long enough eventually develops cataracts at some point.
The gradual clouding of the lens of the eye usually progresses slowly and causes some or all of the following visual symptoms:
- Blurry, cloudy or dimmed vision
- Worsening color perception
- Poor night vision
- Halos and glare
- Light sensitivity
- Double vision
- Eye pain
Even with these unsavory symptoms hindering a happy life, there are persistent myths that keep people from taking advantage of a life-changing Modern Laser Cataract procedure.
We don’t want anyone to needlessly suffer cataract symptoms out of unfounded concerns. Let’s review the three most common myths about cataract surgery, and then we’ll reveal the truth about cataracts and Modern Laser Cataract Surgery.
MYTH: My eyesight isn’t bad enough for cataract surgery. BUSTED!
FACT: Patients with cataracts often assume they must wait until their cloudy vision becomes a serious issue before they can address it. They may have been told this at some point by their doctor. But that’s not always the case!
One thing we know for certain about cataracts – they don’t improve or go away on their own. Cataracts cannot be “reduced” or “improved.” If you have them today, you will still have them next year and the next.
The symptoms will gradually get worse, and new symptoms will appear, interfering with your ability to lead a full and safe life.
You don’t have to deal with declining vision or wait until your cataracts are “ripe enough” for surgery – your eyes aren’t fruit.
If you are diagnosed with cataracts, you have options to go ahead and have the cataracts removed before they get worse.
MYTH: If I have cataract surgery too early, the cataracts will come back. BUSTED!
FACT: Many patients hold off on cataract surgery because they fear the cataracts will grow back and they’ll have to repeat the procedure.
Instead, they live with compromised vision for years in pursuit of a “one and done” solution.
But cataracts do not come back. Once your cataracts are gone, they’re gone for good.
We have spoken to many patients at NuVision who wish they had their Laser Cataract Surgery and vision correction years earlier, so they could have escaped inconvenient eyewear long ago.
MYTH: I will still need glasses, even after cataract surgery. BUSTED!
FACT: As you may be aware, cataracts – which cloud your lens and dull your vision – are a separate issue from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism. These are called “refractive errors.”
Basic manual cataract surgery will clear the cloudiness in the lens, but it will not correct refractive errors with precision.
The result – basic manual cataract surgery patients will have clarity in their vision, but they will typically still require glasses for virtually all daily activities.
The good news is cataracts and refractive errors can be addressed in one treatment – through Modern Laser Cataract Surgery. In fact, most of our cataract patients choose this route.
The NuVision surgeons use sophisticated lasers to remove the cataract. Then they use advanced lens replacement technology that allows patients to focus on objects in the distance and up close for reading. This all happens at once, within the same procedure.
The result is clear vision (no more cataracts!), and patients are able to reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses or bifocals for most daily activities.
Why do patients choose to invest in Modern Laser Cataract Surgery?
Patients often cite these reasons as to why they go the modern treatment route:
1. You only have cataract surgery once.
We have talked to many patients who had cataract surgery elsewhere, and they tell us, “If only I had known I could have a procedure that got me out of my glasses, I absolutely would have done it.”
But because they chose to go with basic manual cataract surgery, they no longer have the option of correcting their vision as well. That ship has sailed for them.
On the other hand, patients who have Modern Laser Cataract Surgery often express how happy they are with their decision and the results of this one-time procedure.
2. A portion of cataract surgery is typically covered by insurance.
So you only pay for the additional laser and lens technology required for the vision correction portion of the treatment.
(And many patients choose to use a payment plan for this. More on that below)
3. Vision correction surgery may cost less over time than a lifetime of glasses or contacts.
Depending on the options you choose, prescription eyeglasses can cost as little as $250 for bare-bones single-vision lenses, or more than $1,000 for progressive lenses with a branded photochromic (think Transitions®) coating. Contact lenses can cost even more.
Rather than continuously spending that money over time, patients choose to invest it in Modern Laser Cataract Surgery and the benefits it provides.
4. Many patients who discover cataracts early – before retirement – are still able to take advantage of an employer’s flexible spending account (FSA) to offset the cost of vision correction.
As of 2020, employees can set aside up to $2,750 in pre-tax earnings for their flex account annually.
That means you’ll not only pay down or pay off your procedure, but you’ll also enjoy paying less in taxes because of your FSA investment.
5. NuVision makes Modern Laser Cataract Surgery procedures even more accessible by offering convenient and affordable payment options to our patients.
This gives you the flexibility to see better now and pay later by taking advantage of financing options, including low monthly payments through Alphaeon or health care financing through a CareCredit credit card.
Even those on a fixed income can typically find a payment option that fits their budget.
Your Next Steps
Now that we’ve covered the truth behind the most common cataract surgery myths, you have a decision to make.
You can wait another 5, 10, 15 years – continue letting your vision deteriorate until it’s no longer tolerable. Or until you have a scare on the highway, like Ms. Pat did.
Miss the special moments with your grandchildren. Keep using the XXL text setting on your smartphone. Keep losing golf balls out on the course.
Or you can take action now. Have your cataract evaluation and become educated about your options. Make an empowered, proactive decision about your health care.
And if it makes sense, go ahead and move forward with a treatment that many patients describe as “the best decision of my life.” (Don’t take our word for it. Go to Google and read the reviews from actual patients in their own words)
If you are starting to notice your vision becoming blurry, colors not as vibrant as they used to be, it’s time for a cataract evaluation.
Or if you’ve already been diagnosed with a cataract, you can still come see us to find out if you qualify for one of the Modern Laser Cataract Surgery treatments we’ve described in this article.
If you have an eye doctor, we are happy to work with him or her to arrange an appointment. But please know a referral is not necessary. You can call us directly – (210) 851-9587 – or request an appointment on our website.
We look forward to meeting you and serving you on your journey toward a life of freedom with crisp, clear vision.
Dr. Gregory Parkhurst has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.