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I just found out I have cataracts. I'm only 54!
Old 07-06-2009, 07:16 PM   #1
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I just found out I have cataracts. I'm only 54!

I had a checkup with the dr. last Wednesday. I just thought I needed a new prescription. I have been wearing the multi-focal contacts. I am EXTREMELY nearsighted without any correction. My dr told me that I had cataracts in both eyes. I left the dr's office in tears. Anyone had similar experiences and can you give me any suggestions?
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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A close relative also developed cataracts in her early to mid 50's, had the lenses replaced with artificial lenses, and is happy as a clam -- eyesight hasn't been so good in years. Colors are clearer and brighter, too. After initial doubt and fear, she is actually happy she did not have to "wait" till her 70's.

Not to pry, but you aren't by any chance diabetic? She is Type II diabetic and was told this contributed to her eye condition.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:23 PM   #3
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Hello jhammock and welcome! I'd say don't be upset; cataracts are very treatable these days. I have an aquaintance who was thrilled with his cataract surgery; the surgeon implanted permanent lenses and he has perfect vision for the first time in his life. Good luck, and don't worry!
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:59 PM   #4
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You are certainly younger than average to get cataracts, but not unheard of by any means. Risks include
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Metabolic syndrome or Diabetes
  • Systemic corticosteroid
BTW, it's common for a sudden worsening of nearsightedness to appear before the cataract (likely just the changes in the lens before the cataract becomes visible). Surgery is outpatient and 95% highly effective.

So, sorry about your news but in the big picture it should work out fine. BTW, no rush to do this if it's not really limiting you.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:10 PM   #5
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My oldest brother had cataracts removed - one eye at a time.

He said it was great - immediate improvement in his vision!

Good luck!

ta,
mew
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:16 PM   #6
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Welcome , I developed Cataracts in my early 50's due to inhaled steroid use for asthma .I had the surgery at 56 . It was a simple procedure and the bonus was I got to throw my glasses away . I also worked with someone who developed them at 50 .He had no health risks except living in Florida with the bright sun . Since they have just found the cataracts you may have a few years before you need the surgery .
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:21 PM   #7
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Thanks for everyone's comments. I am feeling better about my situation. My dr. didn't tell me how bad the cataracts are. He just told me he wanted to see me again in a year. I guess they must not be that bad right now. He told me that he could put in multi-focal lenses. It wasnt until later that I found out that my insurance probably won't pay for those kind. Now I'm wondering if I should try one single vision for distance and the other one for close vision. Does anyone know if insurance would pay for that?
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:00 PM   #8
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I am 52 and was told two years ago that I had cataracts - last year I had a better doctor who explained that it was just the beginnings - no need to worry, but I will need surgery at some point well in the future. I'm not sure why they felt it so necessary to tell me- but they each made a point of it. Maybe that's the same situation with you - they're just giving you a heads-up that you'll need the surgery in the future. Either way, I gather that it's no big deal anymore - not like 30 years ago!

My major disappointment with them was because they said that the cataracts eliminated the opportunity to do "tune-ups" on my Lasik - which kind of bummed me out - I was hoping to perk things up a bit!
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:12 PM   #9
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I have noticed more difficulty seeing as well at night. I am hoping that the stronger prescription he gave me will help me see better. He did tell me that I will eventually need MORE LIGHT in order to see. I guess I should keep a flashlight in my purse. I have also noticed that while I am teaching at the board, occasionally I will skip a line. Several times a student will have to tell me that I did that, and I will have to go back and find out which one I missed.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:47 PM   #10
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DH was diagnosed with cataracts at 53 and had an implantable lens in his right eye about a year later. The left is not to the point where he needs surgery yet. He said the surgery wasn't a big deal and his vision improved immediately. The doc told him that people with light colored eyes (like DH) who do not regularly protect their eyes in bright sunlight are at risk for early onset cataracts.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:48 PM   #11
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Hi. I was diagnosed with one in the right eye at probably age 40 or 41...none of the above mentioned risk factors, but I did have an injury to that eye when I was 12 or 13. A couple years later as it progressed, I was doing the research and talked to the doc about doing the surgery with the ReStor lens implant for the right eye and lasik for the other eye. He told me it would be best just to have both eyes done, since cataracts also run in my family (grandmother in her late 50s, mom in her late 40s, dad just got his done at 73). I did the surgery 4 years ago, right eye first, then checkup the next day, and left eye the day after that. I was apprehensive to say the least, since I had watched the process in an internet video. But after the first eye, and walking out of the office with no patch, just dark glasses to cover it, and then being able to see the stars that night, I was elated!!! Couldn't hardly wait for the second eye to be done.

4 years down the road, I am still happy with it, because the ReStor lens allows me to see well up close for reading (unless there isn't enough light - then I need either my progressives or a drug store pair of readers) and distance, just fine. As I mentioned in another thread, ReStor can give you problems in the mid-range, say 2-6' (I have trouble with the GPS in the car, for example, or with the teleprompter when I give a speech, and I use a pair of prescription progressives for that).

A couple more things to talk over with your doc:

1) Would a combination of ReStor and ReZoom be a good option? I have heard that this combination helps with the mid-range issue I mentioned above.

2) how much will it cost, if the insurance only covers the older style single vision lense? Mine cost about $500 per eye extra, if I remember correctly (4 years ago), but in my opinion, it was well worth the money, to not have to wear glasses all the time. (Like I said, I still need them, but use them maybe 5% of the time. You may not even need them if the combination ReStor/ReZoom is a good option in your case).

3) if you like needlework or some other craft or hobby that requires close-up manipulation of shiny objects, ask your doctor about his patients' experience with whatever lens you go with. My only complaint worth mentioning here is that I have a real problem with shiny objects. I don't do needlework...but using the nail clippers gives me problems. The reason is that ReStor can cause halos around really bright objects, like car headlights (not enough of a problem to prevent driving), and shiny objects like needles and nail clippers. As I said, I don't have any hobbies where this would be a problem, but if you do, the single vision implant combined with glasses may be a better option...but you will have to wear them pretty much all the time.

4) Do you have astigmatism? If so, ask your doctor about AK (astigmatic keratotomy) to be done in conjunction with the removal and implant. I had this done, otherwise I would have required glasses all the time, just for the astigmatism. That cost a few hunded per eye, I forgot exactly how much, and I think the insurance covered most of it...regardless, well worth the cost for me.

Hope this helps, good luck!!!

R
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:36 AM   #12
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I have brown eyes, and always try to have on sunglasses when I'm outside. I have noticed that the sunlight does seem more difficult for me to tolerate without them. I tried the drugstore "readers" for a while before I got the multi-focal contact lenses. Having to reach for the glasses for close work really drove me nuts. I am a teacher and have to do close work and read/do paperwork a lot. I do a lot of work on the computer.....Do you think that has anything to do with my getting cataracts? I would really prefer to work out something so that I will not have to wear glasses after the cataract surgery if at all possible. I don't believe that I have astigmatism. You mentioned working on crafts.... It is getting more difficult for me to see how to thread a needle.....even to sew on a button.

Thanks so much for your comments....... I will certainly have to talk to my doctor to see what my options are.....
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:22 AM   #13
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My Dad had cataract surgery, both eyes, about 15 years ago. Tremendous improvement, and his sight is still much improved. As others have said, very treatable these days and undoubtedly more so today than when my Dad went through it. It's a nuisance, but not something to be upset about. Imagine if you had something that was NOT treatable? 'Growing older isn't for sissies.'
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:39 AM   #14
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When I had my surgery they were just starting with the newer multifocal lenses and since I had worn mutifocal contacts and did not like them I went for monovision (one eye for distance and one eye for close ) . I could not be happier . I have no problems with them at all . I do occasionally wear drugstore cheaters if I'll be reading for a long time otherwise completely glasses free . The surgery and lenses were completely covered by insurance .
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanannjen View Post
I am 52 and was told two years ago that I had cataracts - last year I had a better doctor who explained that it was just the beginnings - no need to worry, but I will need surgery at some point well in the future. I'm not sure why they felt it so necessary to tell me- but they each made a point of it.
Just curious: would you have preferred that they not tell you, only to develop vision problems later, and learning that the cataracts had been present for many years (but they didn't think you "needed to know")?

But, yes, I would wait until my vision diminished to the point of interfering with daily activities. If nothing else, the technology will have progressed that much more.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:16 AM   #16
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As others have mentioned, no need to rush into anything. My eye doctor said I would know when the right time was......like when it interfered w/ your lifestyle..........if you risked failing your periodic driver's license vision exam and had to take the bus; or if you couldn't read unlit overhead freeway signs at night because you couldn't see them from far away (when the car lights illuminated them ) or when you were close when you potentially could read them but couldn't(because the car lights didn't shine up that high) and as a result took the wrong exit or missed the right exit.

One thing you might ask the surgeon when the time is near.... I also had very bad near-sightedness (long eyeballs) and she recommended doing the procedure under general anesthesia to minimize the risk. Not sure that's still a recommended procedure but you might ask. Also makes it easier if you're the chicken- type like me.

The surgeon asked if I wanted to tune for near vision w/o glasses or far vision. This was when the multi-focal lens was unproven or maybe even unborn. Since I was then working and most of time was close work, I opted for near
and was happy w/ decision. The multi-focal has come a long ways since then, I think, so even if you have to pay a bit , it might be worth it. Don't have any personal experience w/ the one of each type fixed focus (near/far) .

You may be pleasantly surprised by the results. After the operation, I re-discovered that those red stop signs at street are not really round, but they have corners and angles. My walks around the neighborhood kept getting longer because I had to stop and admire the intricate details of flowers that I didn't remember seeing before. When we visited my daughter in NH and drove those rural roads, I was the first one in the car to be able to read those distant road signs.

I still have to wear glasses for distant vision but they are nothing like the very thick lenses I used to have. I am impressed w/ how good printers are these days....I take great delight in making small print smaller and still being able to read it w/o glasses when others can't .

It may be a blessing in disguise for you too. Good luck.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:37 AM   #17
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jhammock, I was diagnosed several years ago with, if memory serves, a score or rating of 1/2 on a scale of 1 to 4. I was about your age. I believe surgery comes in at 4. There's been no sign of progression since. So you might be a long way from having to do anything.

Actually I wouldn't mind if mine progressed to the point of surgery -- like many other posters, almost every experience I've heard of has been extremely positive.

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Old 07-07-2009, 09:28 AM   #18
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I have not had cataract surgery, but from what I have read and from the people I've talked to who have had it done, I've come to conclusion that the complications from a cataract operation seem to be less frequent and less severe than those from having LASIK done (halos, starbursts, severe dry eyes, etc.) I would be much less apprehensive about having a cataract operation than having LASIK. Also, it could end up being a "blessing in disguise" with no more need for expensive glasses, or contact lenses with the associated worry about infections, the cost of the chemicals, etc.
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:53 AM   #19
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Go look up 'clear lens replacement'...

This was suggested to me since I can not get laser surgery... I thought it was the insertable contacts which could be reversed if there were problems... then I found out that what it really was was cateract surgery to fix your prescription problem... I opted out...

BUT, while reading I did find out that cateract surgery was the #1 surgery in America... and I think Rich is being conservative with the 95%... I think it is even better than that... (but I could be wrong)...

I would think about paying the extra for the non-fixed lenses... my mother wears glasses since she has the fixed lenses... and they are just for up close stuff...
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mews View Post
My oldest brother had cataracts removed - one eye at a time.

He said it was great - immediate improvement in his vision!

Good luck!

ta,
mew
Same here. I had one side done almost 10 years ago (I'm a T2 diabetic) in my early 60's.

Still waiting for the other side to be "ripe" for replacement.

Even with the one eye done, my vision was so much improved that I left the eyeglasses behind for the first time in 30+ years.

The surgury was easy (at least compared to my lingual hernia operation, many years ago ). At least the "after affects" were very minor, in comparison....

Scary? Sure. But I'm sure a lot of us have been through much worse...
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