Must know facts about cataract surgery
Cataract Surgery Basics
In cataract surgery, the lens inside your eye that has become cloudy is removed and replaced with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens, or IOL ) to restore clear vision.
The procedure typically is performed on an outpatient basis and does not require an overnight stay in a hospital or other care facility.
Most modern cataract procedures involve the use of a high-frequency ultrasound device that breaks up the cloudy lens into small pieces, which are then gently removed from the eye with suction.
This procedure, called phacoemulsification or “phaco,” can be performed with smaller incisions than previous surgical techniques for cataract removal, promoting faster healing and reducing the risk of cataract surgery complications, such as a retinal detachment.
After all remnants of the cloudy lens have been removed from your eye, the cataract surgeon inserts a clear intraocular lens, positioning it securely behind the iris and pupil, in the same location your natural lens occupied.
The surgeon then completes the cataract removal and IOL implantation procedure by closing the incision in your eye (a stitch may or may not be needed), and a protective shield is placed over the eye to keep it safe in the early stages of your cataract surgery recovery.
A video explaining what exactly is a cataract surgery
A video explaining Cataract Surgery in Hindi.
Useful blog giving a step-wise guide to a cataract patient.
A step-wise guide to a cataract patient.
Step one: Do not panic.
Step two: Confirm why you developed the cataract?
Consult an eye surgeon
Step three: Do you actually need surgery?
Ask your doctor why you can not see?
Step four: Can it be postponed?
Ask you doctor , if you can safely postpone your surgery.
Laser Cataract Surgery
Recently, a number of femtosecond lasers — similar to the lasers used to create the corneal flap in all-laser LASIK — have been approved by the FDA for use in cataract surgery performed in the United States.
These lasers have gained approval for the following steps in cataract surgery, reducing the need for surgical blades and other hand-held tools:
Creating corneal incisions to allow the surgeon access to the lens
Removing the anterior capsule of the lens
Fragmenting the cataract (so less phaco energy is required to break it up and remove it)
Creating peripheral corneal incisions to reduce astigmatism (when needed)
While studies have shown that lasers can improve accuracy during certain steps of cataract surgery, they may not necessarily improve cataract surgery safety, recovery time and visual outcomes in every case.
A video explaining what exactly is Laser Cataract Surgery
, Masters Ophthalmology, Jagadguru Jayadeva Murugarajendra Medical College (2017)
It depends on your location , surgeon , procedure and the kind of lens that is being implanted.
To give a rough idea, a basic procedure like SICS can cost something from 5k to 15k.
Phaco emulsification is an advanced , machine based procedure that can cost anywhere between 20 to 80k, depending on the intraocular lens being implanted .
Fematosecond laser is another kind of advanced procedure that uses a laser for cataract surgery. This will be around 60 to 90k.
Apart from these, there are free cataract surgeries being done under DBCS(District Blindness Control Society ) in various areas which are absolutely free.
So you can choose anyone one of then, but ignoring cataract for a long time can lead to permanent loss of vision. So please don’t neglect this condition even if you can see crystal clear with the other eye.
, works at Writers and Authors
Let me say my story. I live in chennai.
The experienced doctors in chennai who can provide optimum results charge around ₹40k to ₹50k for a procedure, while doctors with poor results in chennai charge lower. So for my grandparents, I flew down south to get quality eye care at affordable prices. I went to my native place tuticorin. There I found an eye hospital called Annai eye clinics,Thoothukudi.There a doctor with three decades of experience who has performed around 15,000 cataract surgeries performed phaco emulsification for ₹12000 on my grandma and she has perfect vision right nowfact she is stitching and knitting with small needles with her precise eyesight. I even explored chains like vasan, agarwal- they were expensive with inexperienced doctors, even the doctor’s name was not disclosed. While some chains like shankar nethralaya sometimes perform the surgeries with trainee surgeons. So research is necessary.Most important point is cost of surgery is not proportional to better eyesight.Although the surgery may be done in a fancy hospital, the surgeon’s skill is important.
Cataract Surgery Packages
Cataract surgery Packages varies from, hospital to hospital, surgeon to surgeon, city to city, type of operation ( SICS> Phaco> Femto Laser), type of lens ( Indian Mono-Focal > Indian Multifocal> Multifocal ) and so on. Cost may vary from 10k -150k depending on the combination of doctor, hospital, surgery, the lens you have chosen for you.
What is included in cataract surgery packages?
The” Package” includes
Medication given during and before surgery
Cost implant (Lens) and hospital stay.
What is not included in cataract surgery packages?
Cost of the post-operative drugs
Additional intervention after the surgery like Yag Laser,Vitrectomy.
Treatment of any complication arising after surgery
Coverage for cataract treatment
The terms of coverage for cataract may vary from one insurer to another.
There are many health insurance companies in the market that provide coverage for cataract.
However, there are some plans that exclude cataract from the list of covered illnesses. You must read the policy document carefully to know whether cataract coverage is offered by your health insurance plan.
Cataract surgery is likely to cost Rs.30,000 to Rs.50,000 for a single eye in a reputed hospital in a major city.
Before providing coverage for cataract treatment, a health insurer may set forth certain conditions.
Things to note in health insurance plans
As noted, more and more health insurers in the market have started providing coverage for cataract treatments. With the increase in lifestyle-related diseases, it is not uncommon for someone in their 40s or 50s to get cataract. Health insurers are aware of this fact. Hence, they provide coverage for cataract only upon satisfaction of certain terms and conditions.
- Waiting period: Most of the health insurers in the market have disease-specific waiting periods for certain conditions. Typically, most insurance companies provide cataract coverage after a waiting period of 2 years. The waiting period clause is mainly used by insurers to discourage people from taking insurance just for the purpose of cataract surgery. If you enter a health insurance cover at a young age, you will not have any issues getting coverage for cataract surgery.
- Sub-limit: For cataract treatments, the full sum insured amount of a health insurance policy may not be available. Specific sub-limits are set for cataract treatments in most health insurance covers. Any additional expenses incurred for cataract treatment must be paid from one’s own hand. Though not common, there are some health insurance plans that do not have any specific sub-limit for this treatment. If cataract treatment is a major requirement for you, you must choose your health insurance cover accordingly.
- Extent of coverage: Cataract is not a disease that spreads from one eye to another. However, if you have cataract in one eye, there is an increased possibility of getting cataract in the other eye also. Hence, it is better to check whether the sub-limit available for cataract treatment is available for each eye. Also, check for any other provisions when it comes to getting treatment for both eyes.
Health insurance plans that offer cataract coverage
Some of the health insurance plans that offer cataract coverage can be listed as follows:
Where to get operated? : An accredited eye hospital
There are no rule of thumb to identify a good hospital from the rest, but certain general guidelines may be followed.
- Prefer a hospital/ facility which accredited by some accreditation agencies like NABH in India.
- Dedicated eye hospitals have better developed facilities for eye care that an eye department in a multi-specialty hospital.
- A facility with multiple eye surgeon practicing different eye specialties has better services than single surgeon facility.
- If you have personal acquaintance with the reputed individual surgeon, that’s the best choice.
Here are some steps to help you select an ophthalmologist for your cataract surgery.
Talk with your family doctor. if you know any doctor in your neighborhood, he is the right person to talk to regarding selection of eye surgeon for you. He will guide you in selecting the best ophthalmic surgeon.
Check with family and friends in your area who have had cataract surgery. If they had a positive experience with their own cataract surgery, they will be happy to recommend their ophthalmologist.
Go online to find eye surgeons in your area. Use sites like Practo or Lybrate to find the ophthalmologist around you.