Cataract Surgery has come a long way since Dr. Sidney Martin opened SightMD in Smithtown New York on Long Island in 1962. Back then, a cataract surgery patient would stay in the hospital for a week with sand bags on each side of their head so that they would not move and damage the cataract operation. Also, there were no intraocular implant lenses so patients would have to wear thick glasses following cataract surgery, restricting visual field and negatively impacting quality of life.
What is Modern Cataract Surgery?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. This happens to all of us as we age and is often caused by excessive UV light exposure, medications, inherited causes, and smoking. In the beginning stages, a cataract causes glare with oncoming headlights while driving at night, glare with sunlight and blurred vision. When the symptoms of cataract become severe enough to diminish a patient’s quality of life, cataract surgery is considered. Our board certified cataract surgeons always let the patient decide when cataract surgery is right for them because patients have different individual needs.
In our outpatient eye surgery center, patients are able to stay in their own clothes. Our patients receive IV sedation for comfort from our board certified anesthesiologist and eye drops to numb the ocular surface. Patients are lying down and see the bright light of the microscope. The cataract is removed through a microscopic incision using high speed computer controlled ultrasound called phacoemulsification.
The cataract is replaced by an intraocular lens implant made of soft plastic that restores vision. Cataract surgery usually takes only a few minutes, is painless, and patients return home the very same day. There are no needles around the eyes, no stitches, and no eye patch in most cases. SightMD is known for state-of-the-art cataract surgery and that is why we are a Crystalens® National Center of Excellence.
What Does Cataract Surgery Cost?
In most cases, cataract surgery is covered by insurance. Medicare and most insurance companies deem cataract surgery medically necessary and therefore cover the procedure. There are deductibles and co-pays in some plans, but patients are always relieved to find out that our cataract surgeons, the anesthesiologist, and the eye surgery center are all covered.
When a cataract is removed, there is a choice in intraocular implants. The standard intraocular lens is covered by insurance and medicare. The standard implant will allow a patient without astigmatism to see well in the distance, but reading glasses are necessary for near tasks. These lens implants are excellent and have been successful for years.
If a patient wants less dependence on glasses, there are premium or lifestyle implants that are designed to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses at far and near. Accommodating and Multifocal implants like Crystalens®, ReSTOR®, and TECNIS® Toric Multifocal allow a patient to see far and near and in many cases, there is complete glasses independence. There is also the AcrySof® Toric implant that corrects astigmatism and allows patients with astigmatism to see more clearly without glasses. These premium or lifestyle intraocular implants are not covered by insurance or Medicare and require a financial commitment from the patient. We also provide zero percent financing for two years if desired.