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Thread: Avoiding Cataract Surgery and Getting New Eyeglasses

  1. #1
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    Avoiding Cataract Surgery and Getting New Eyeglasses

    I went in to get new glasses 15 months ago. I was told by an eye doctor (not a surgeon) that my vision couldn't be helped with new glasses and she stopped the exam half way through. They sell glasses there, but I was told not to bother getting new glasses as it would be a waste of money. I went back in and insisted on getting a copy of my prescription and got it. As I left I wondered if it was accurate since the exam stopped half way with the DR saying " you'll need surgery to drive" and "new glasses won't help" I got a pair of glasses made to the prescription online for $30 and they did improve my vision slightly.

    Over the last year I did lots of research and talked to lots of friends about cataract surgery. Most friends that had the surgery are happy, but 2 had serious problems. I want to wait as long as I can to have surgery after hearing all their stories.
    I did lots of vision tests with friends reading street signs. One thing I found is I could see as good or better than most people with my current glasses.

    Recently I was in for an exam at an eye surgeon and got great news. Even though I qualify for cataract surgery my cataract is not worse and I can put off surgery.
    The great news is my current glasses will allow me to pass my upcoming driver's license renewal. Better yet they can get me to 20/20 vision with new lenses!

    Just wanting to encourage anyone here to get a second opinion if you've been told you "need" cataract surgery. New glasses may still help.
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  2. #2
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    My eye doctor (and eye surgeon) both have been "watching" my cataract progression for the last 20 years and both recommend to not get in a hurry but wait until it's really needed. Some progress very slowly, some faster. My Lovely Bride had to get the surgery long ago. I'm still fine both without glasses most of the time and with glasses for driving at night. (I have astigmatism and the wider pupil causes significant loss of acuity in low light.)

    Like many potentially serious medical issues, it may be best to get a second opinion.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Joiner View Post
    I went in to get new glasses 15 months ago. I was told by an eye doctor (not a surgeon) that my vision couldn't be helped with new glasses and she stopped the exam half way through. They sell glasses there, but I was told not to bother getting new glasses as it would be a waste of money. I went back in and insisted on getting a copy of my prescription and got it. As I left I wondered if it was accurate since the exam stopped half way with the DR saying " you'll need surgery to drive" and "new glasses won't help" I got a pair of glasses made to the prescription online for $30 and they did improve my vision slightly.

    Over the last year I did lots of research and talked to lots of friends about cataract surgery. Most friends that had the surgery are happy, but 2 had serious problems. I want to wait as long as I can to have surgery after hearing all their stories.
    I did lots of vision tests with friends reading street signs. One thing I found is I could see as good or better than most people with my current glasses.

    Recently I was in for an exam at an eye surgeon and got great news. Even though I qualify for cataract surgery my cataract is not worse and I can put off surgery.
    The great news is my current glasses will allow me to pass my upcoming driver's license renewal. Better yet they can get me to 20/20 vision with new lenses!

    Just wanting to encourage anyone here to get a second opinion if you've been told you "need" cataract surgery. New glasses may still help.

  3. #3
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    I'm in the other camp -- the docs say my cataracts aren't bad enough to to justify surgery yet I clean my glasses 20 times a day in an effort to get rid of the smudge that isn't there. The cloudy spot drives me batwings. I keep hoping it will progress to the point where I can have something done about it.

  4. #4
    I've had cataract surgery in the past year and it's nothing short of a miracle. Now, instead of using powerful trifocals, for most things I don't need glasses. I just ordered a light prescription reading glass for very fine print or low light situations but where there is good light I don't need glasses even for fine print.

    I just passed my driver's test with no glasses. I'm 82.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

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  5. #5
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    Everyone's situation is different and none of us can tell you what is the best solution for you. But we can suggest you get a second opinion from a qualified eye doctor relative to the current state of any cataracts you may have. "Where" they are can make a big difference, for example, on whether or not surgery is indicated sooner rather than later. Rate of growth projection and direction also matter. And AFAIK, the majority of folks who do have surgery these days have a successful experience and also much better vision afterward...often right up to 20/20. It's pretty darn routine now. My father had that experience and was able to stop even using glasses for quite awhile post-surgery and even then only for reading. I have some indication of cataracts coming into play in the future and like John, it's just being monitored at the present time. I would not hesitate about the surgery if it is indicated at some point. (I also did LASIK years ago and am glad I did, even with being marginal due to dry eye)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    As others have stated it's a personal thing. If your cataract situation is causing you a loss in the quality of your life, then you should get a second opinion to get a current evaluation and an honest explanation of what you should expect in terms of vision correction: possible downsides, possible follow-up surgery, secondary cataracts, what lenses are available, i.e. singular or multi-focal, the need for reading glasses, and the need for daily maintenance. There is much to consider that an opthalmologist can provide.

    Overall, cataract surgery is a very helpful solution for vision impairment. For many of us we need to help correct the effects of older age.
    Thoughts entering one's mind need not exit one's mouth!
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  7. #7
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    If you want opinions on eye surgery, spend some time at your local gun club. Eyesight is pretty fundamental to marksmanship. 75% of the members will be over 65 and either contemplating eye surgery or already had it. I'm in the "contemplating" group and have talked to a lot of the others. Nearly everyone who had some kind of eye surgery was happy. The few exceptions involved misunderstandings about the process or what to expect from the results.

  8. #8
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    A lot of folks at work that are getting older, of which I have become one, have been getting the cataract surgery. Apparently they now correct your vision during the process and as it done during the surgery for cataracts, it is 100% covered by insurance. If you want corrective eye surgery alone, it isn't covered by our plan.
    It's funny that guys that have worn glasses their entire lives are now not wearing them at all, and they're just happy as can be. The change in their demeanor is amazing.
    Get the surgery when you are comfortable with having it done, and get the best Doc' available, even if you have to fly somewhere, and take a "vacation" with it.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  9. #9
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    I wear prescription ski goggles, so I have many conversations with people on the ski lift who used to need them but don't after cataract surgery. They all love it and say it restores their eyesight to what they had 30 years ago. My doctor says I am 5 years away, and I can't wait.

    Now... it is possible that the people with bad results don't ski; but based on those I have spoken to, it is wonderful.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Rutherford View Post
    If you want opinions on eye surgery, spend some time at your local gun club. Eyesight is pretty fundamental to marksmanship. 75% of the members will be over 65 and either contemplating eye surgery or already had it. I'm in the "contemplating" group and have talked to a lot of the others. Nearly everyone who had some kind of eye surgery was happy. The few exceptions involved misunderstandings about the process or what to expect from the results.
    At summer camps I was always the best shot by a considerable margin; while the other boys were getting 15/50, I was consistently getting 47/50. I attributed it to my 20/10 vision.
    Fast forward 35 years when I went to Boy Scout camp with my son. I wore bifocals and couldn't focus on either the sights or the target. Took my 5 shots and couldn't believe I missed the target with all 5. Retrieved the target and found that I didn't see any hits because they were all in the black. I had the highest score of the thousands of targets that week.
    So, I am not sure just how important eyesight is to shooting; as long as you know where the target is.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    ...I also did LASIK years ago and am glad I did...
    I had LASIK eye surgery decades ago and wished I had not. It took care of my nearsightedness, but required that I use reading glasses, and most of my work is up close! Over time my vision has changed to where I can read pretty well without the reading glasses, but now my distance vision is becoming less sharp. I'm 75-years old.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the replies. It's a very personal decision.
    I've worn glasses for 57 years since I was 10. I tried contacts when I was 30 and couldn't get use to them. I was a pro woodworker and the dust made contacts a bad choice. Then I dropped the vanity part and saw eyeglasses as a blessing. After all my eyeglasses had saved me from an eye injury a couple times. Now retired and my "all ways on" glasses protect me in the hobbies and sports I enjoy. Being able to see without eyeglasses isn't a benefit to me. So surgery is not as attractive to me.
    I need to do more research, but deciding on permanently implanted lenses is not what I'm ready for. It's hard enough to get eyeglasses that work for all my needs. My main complaint is "dry eye" and my DR says surgery may not help that. My research and friends who've had surgery indicate if you have"dry eye"before it usually stays and can get worse.

    My friend is an optician who qualifies for cataract surgery as well. We're of the same mindset, wait till you can't drive for surgery. We're going to try eyeglass lenses other than our current polycarbonate, probably cr-39 for better optical qualities. I currently have bifocals bumped up for arms length focus and computer use. I tried and returned progressive lenses 10 years ago. I hear the HD progressive are better, so I'll test them. In the last year my vision has blurred from 4' to 10' away. Hard to read labels over a store countertop.

    I'm grateful my exam revealed I could be corrected to 20/20 with new glasses.
    Last edited by Andrew Joiner; 02-03-2019 at 7:23 PM.
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    I had LASIK eye surgery decades ago and wished I had not. It took care of my nearsightedness, but required that I use reading glasses, and most of my work is up close! Over time my vision has changed to where I can read pretty well without the reading glasses, but now my distance vision is becoming less sharp. I'm 75-years old.
    I can very much relate, although I have no regrets at all. I was such a slave to my glasses that I couldn't even see the clock on my nightstand. On the day of my LASIK surgery (17 January 2003, 09:30) I went through the procedure and thought it took way too short of a time than I was expecting because the clock showed only ten minutes or so had passed since they started. Then...I realized that the clock was about 20 feet away on the wall. Yes, I have had to use reading glasses starting about 5-6 years after that and I also have the natural aging thing with my distance vision, but I remain happy that I generally have very good eyesight for my 62 years. I did get some clear and sunglasses for in the car for long trip driving a couple of years ago just to sharpen things up and they were inexpensive at Costco, but the next set will be either progressive or bi-focal with no correction at the bottom so I don't loose the clarity of the dashboard screens since my uncorrected vision is spot-on for that distance.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    It's a personal decision so only you can decide. I wore glasses from age 12 to about 8 years ago (I turn 70 in March) when I had cataract surgery and had multi focal interocular lenses installed. I was very short sighted with slight astigmatism. In fact my new lenses were the strongest available at the time (don't know if stronger lenses are available now. My surgeon is world class with over 20 years experience. I too tried contact lenses when I was younger with limited success, great for sports not so good for indoors in dry winter conditions. I could sky all day and not feel the lenses at all but 10 minutes in the bar afterwards and I had to pull them. Glasses were always a pain, sliding down my nose when I sweated, fogging up when I came in from the cold, no good when swimming especially snorkeling.
    So for me it was definitely the right decision, only regret was that I couldn't have it done when I was 12.

  15. #15
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    A question for those that had cataract surgery:
    Did you have dry eye before surgery? Do you have it now? If you had it before surgery is it worse?
    Thanks
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

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