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ElanusNotatus
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Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:27 pm

For some time I have noticed a deterioration in eyesight. At first I accepted it as a normal progression as I have been wearing glasses since I was thirteen years old. Looking at my old glasses I thought that the film designed to avoid misting had simply broken down. Yet eye testing indicated the problem to be more serious.

My optometrist has referred me to an ophthalmic surgeon with the recommendation that cataracts that have developed be removed. While I recogise that the procedure is common I am understandingly nervous. Who wouldn't be worried about people poking about with their eyes?

So where else to turn to but a trusted aviation forum? If anyone has experience of what is involved and what to expect I would welcome their input. I don't require convincing of the benefits so much as information as to what I can expect.
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mirrodie
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:37 pm

Quoting ElanusNotatus (Thread starter):
I don't require convincing of the benefits so much as information as to what I can expect.

At the initial surgical consult, a good ophthalmic surgeon will ask what sort of end point you want (distance, reading, astigmastism, etc). After deciding upon your visual endpoint, they will schedule one eye first.
They will also ask if you want traditional cataract surgery vs laser cataract surgery. (not sure how it works in Australia, but here in the US, traditional surgery is fully covered by insurance whereas patients wanting laser cataract surgery pay an out of pocket upgrade fee.)

Surgery itself takes about 20-30/minutes although the actual time in the surgical center is 2-3 hours. You'll need someone to drive you there and back on the same day. After surgery, go home and take it easy.
No heavy activity for the first 4 weeks. Depending on how dense the cataract is, vision may be great immediately or may take a few days to clear up.

The BIGGEST commitment is on your part. You will be require to take a schedule of eyedrops for approximately 4 weeks, with a defined tapering off of meds.
Our office gives our patients a printout of what drops to do on what day, so it makes it less confusing.

Feel free to ask me anything else. best, mirrodie
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AAlaxfan
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:10 pm

Based on my recent experience, the hardest part of the actual surgery is keeping your eye still. If you have astigmatism you won't get a choice of lenses, if not I would have opted for the total corrective lens. Lots of bright lights. Total surgical time 30 minutes. Overall time 2-2.5 hrs. Eye drop regimen was a pain to keep track of.

Your choice of laser vs. traditional surgery will depend on your out of pocket expense. I opted for laser, at $2250 per eye, but it was worth it. Distance vision now 20/20 both eyes. Reading glasses cost me $8 for a pack of 3 plastic lenses from Walmart.

Overall experience was pain free. Best of luck to you.
My favorite airport is the one I'm flying to! :airplane:
 
LittleFokker
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:26 pm

I had LASIK done in the summer of 2008 (just for vision correction, not cataracts). One of the best decisions I have made, and I don't miss glasses or contact lenses at all. Make sure you have someone to drive you there and back (at least back if that's only available), and expect to wear protective shields and cotton or eye mask to minimize light exposure to your eyes for about one to two days after the surgery. Plan on taking about 3 days off from work. I don't remember being given any medications, but I was given anti-bacterial eye drops to take for about the first week after the surgery. My surgery lasted only about 10 minutes, with the total time being around 60-90 mins for prep and post surgery recovery.

Hope all turns out well for you!
"All human activities are doomed to failure." - Jean Paul Sartre
 
mirrodie
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:07 pm

Quoting aalaxfan (Reply 2):
If you have astigmatism you won't get a choice of lenses, if not I would have opted for the total corrective lens.

That's not accurate. If you have astigmatism, toric intraocular lenses have been available and used, at least here in NY, for the past 3 years.
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AR385
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:32 pm

Cataracts runs in my family so I know a little about it. There are different types of cataracts and this different types of surgery. You don´t need to be nervous. It´s completely pain free. It´s bothersome but pain free.

Be sure that you don´t have any type of Macular Degeneration Disease, because catarcact surgery can increase the degeneration. But I assume your ophthalmologist must have already seen to that.

My mother is 72. She has Macular Degeneration and 2 months ago she developed a small cataract. She won´t have any surgery until it really becomes a bad case of cataract because of her macular degeneration problem. It´s contraindicated.

Don´t fret. Compared to how it was 30 years ago, it´s a walk in the park these days.
 
ElanusNotatus
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:51 am

Thanks for the repsonses.

My initial consultation is on 6 February. Of course when I actually see the ophthalmic surgeon he will be able to give precise details, but typically how soon after the first eye is treated can the second cataract be removed?

Importantly, how soon afterwards can I fly? I am scheduled to travel to Hamburg on 1 May.
Crawl, walk, fly into the future
 
rwessel
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:41 am

Quoting ElanusNotatus (Reply 6):
Importantly, how soon afterwards can I fly? I am scheduled to travel to Hamburg on 1 May.

You should of course ask your doctor, but there is generally no medical reason to avoid flying more than a day or two after the surgery. If you are going to develop complications, those usually happen in the first week, or so, and most doctors would probably prefer that you stayed near their offices for that time.

And I'm assuming that by "fly" you mean as a passenger. If you mean pilot an aircraft, you'll have to get your medical examiner to issue you a medical certificate after the surgery, and that will take longer. Also the FAA has different restrictions on different types of lenses and procedures. Definitely talk with your AME first if that applies to you.
 
bunumuring
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:46 pm

Hi mate,
I have no experiences to report nor advice to give but I wanted to wish you all the best.
Take care, and heed the advice of those in our community.
Best wishes,
Bunumuring.
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
ElanusNotatus
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:25 am

Quoting rwessel (Reply 7):

Thanks. Yes I will be a passenger but thanks for the additional info regarding clearance from an AME.

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 8):

Thanks mate! Will do.
Crawl, walk, fly into the future
 
Boeing744
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:52 pm

Quoting ElanusNotatus (Reply 6):
Importantly, how soon afterwards can I fly? I am scheduled to travel to Hamburg on 1 May.

I am not sure if it is different in Australia, but typically if you have travel medical insurance for your trip, it will not cover any complications arising from a recent surgery or condition when you are abroad. I know here that most companies will not cover anything arising from a condition that has been "unstable" in the past 3 months or so - this definition is extremely broad and includes any changes in medication or dosage, any procedures, any diagnostic testing, etc. Worth investigating if you are concerned about having to pay for any emergency treatment resulting from the eye surgery while you are in Germany.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:53 pm

Again, I'm not sure if protocol is much different over there, but once the first eye is done in our office, we usually have no problem scheduling the second eye for two weeks later.

We do this largely so as to avoid confusion between the two different eyedrops taking schedules that you will have per eye.

During a consultation, just make sure to let the surgeon know any medications you have taken or may have taken in the past. I'm confident you will do well with the procedure but do your research regarding the surgeon.
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SoJo
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:53 pm

Quoting ElanusNotatus (Thread starter):
So where else to turn to but a trusted aviation forum? If anyone has experience of what is involved and what to expect I would welcome their input. I don't require convincing of the benefits so much as information as to what I can expect.

Hello ElanusNotatus. Had my cataracts done just over 3 years ago. I had no problem at all. There are one or two things I remember. First, the drops they put in your eye before the op. An anaesthetic. Stings for a short while and don't look in the mirror as your pupil is humungous! The other thing is keeping your eye still. You can't blink as they put a clip to keep your eye open. I just stared at the light above me. I had the first op in October and the next one a month later. Both ops took about 15 mins each. The next day after the first op I realised how much I had missed. The colours and being able to see things beyond 20 feet was unbelievable. The second op just made it so much better. I have a new lady in my life and she looks even more gorgeous.  
RAF Abingdon 1967. I met Beverley from Blackburn. Fantastic!
 
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AAlaxfan
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:06 pm

Quoting aalaxfan (Reply 2):
If you have astigmatism you won't get a choice of lenses, if not I would have opted for the total corrective lens.
Quoting mirrodie (Reply 4):
That's not accurate. If you have astigmatism, toric intraocular lenses have been available and used, at least here in NY, for the past 3 years.

In my case , I was not given the option of the Toric total corrective lenses. Each case / individual is different.
The doctor will let you know which lens is best suited for you.
My favorite airport is the one I'm flying to! :airplane:
 
ElanusNotatus
Topic Author
Posts: 720
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RE: Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:56 pm

Quoting mirrodie (Reply 11):

That is good news. I can't see that procedures would be different here but I guess it will come down to how many patients there are and what the surgeon's schedule is.

Quoting SoJo (Reply 12):
I have a new lady in my life and she looks even more gorgeous.  

No doubt she delights in your telling her.   Glad to hear your ops went so well.

Quoting Boeing744 (Reply 10):

Thanks for the tip. Like elsewhere, insurance policies generally exclude various medical or surgical related things unless you first advise the insurer and they accept your premium (and any condition related surcharge).
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