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Lens Replacement Theory: Part Five

Posted on Friday, June 7th, 2024

Dave!All this week I've been talking about the cataract surgeries I've had (if you missed it, you can start with Monday's entry here). My review of the process has been positively glowing, and I have never been so happy to have done something so simple which has improved my life so much. But there are down-sides...

THE COST: As I mentioned, my insurance wouldn't pay for any multifocal lens options (most don't). If I wanted multifocal (and I did) I would be paying for the lenses out of my own pocket (though they would co-pay the actual surgery costs after my deductible had been met). Only monofocal lenses were covered. At the clinic I went with, the lenses are $2,900 each, $5,800 for the pair. I'm telling you right now that it would be a bargain at twice the price. But it's a fuck-ton of money at the regular price, and that's going to be a barrier for a lot of people. It was almost a barrier for me. But ultimately I couldn't put a price on my vision, which is used every waking moment of every day, so I bit the bullet. First I paid $188.91 for the exam and consultation after insurance. Then I wiped out my Health Savings Account to the tune of $3,935.14 for the first lens and surgery after insurance. Then $3,542.15 went on my credit card for the second lens and surgery after insurance. That's $7,666.20 and counting (I don't have the amount for the follow-up exam, as that hasn't gone through insurance yet). Having to care for your health is a real bitch in this fucked-up country. Even if I went with monofocal lenses, I'd still would have had to come up with $1,800. Maybe people have better insurance than I do. Maybe MediCare will have paid for all of it if I waited. I dunno. All I do know is that I'm going to be approaching an $8,000 medical bill so I can see.
UPDATE: Boy was I off. Turns out that my grand total for everything (at least I hope this is the end!) is $9472.63. Yikes.

ABRASION: I hesitate to talk about this because I seriously don't want to dissuade anybody from getting cataract surgery if they need it. My second surgery was flawless. After four hours or so, I felt the anesthesia wearing off. They tape your top eyelid over your lower lid so your eye doesn't dry out. That stings a bit, but is seriously no big deal. Once I could feel my eye moving again, I took off the tape, put medicine drops in my eye and... milky vision! But by the end of the day I was already seeing. In the morning I woke up and had perfect vision. Wonderful. This is the typical experience. My first surgery, however, was not typical. When the anesthesia started wearing off I was in horrible pain. Like I had been stabbed in the eye. I took the tape off and my eye was stuck looking up and to the right. Very disconcerting. The pain eventually lessened, but I was not comfortable. The next morning everything was blurry. I couldn't see out of that eye at all. In the morning when I went to my post-surgery checkup, I was told that my eye had somehow gotten an abrasion and three layers of my eyeball were scraped off in front of my pupil. Of course I never felt it happen during surgery since the side of my face was deadened. I was told that the eye has rapid healing, and I would 3 or 4 days. It took 7 days. After that I've had days where my eye goes a bit blurry. As of right now, I am still suffering from "Recurrent Corneal Erosion" because the new cells forming to heal my eye sometimes get stuck to my eyelid at night as my cornea swells, but that's being treated and I should eventually be just fine. UPDATE: I was prescribed some gel of some kind which reduced the swelling of my eye at night so my cornea could have a break and fully heal. That's all it took! Now everything is back to normal and I'm seeing perfectly. Amazing!

FLOATERS: I've had loads of floaters for decades. It doesn't generally bother me... until it does sometimes. I was told that the presence of floaters wouldn't change from what I had been experiencing except they would likely be more in focus. I can't really say for sure if that's true or not. It feels like it could be true... but since absolutely everything is more clear now, it could just be more of the same. What I can say is that because my vision is more clear, any disruption to that clarity is very noticeable once I see it. Floaters. A smudge on sunglasses. Something in my eyelashes. I can't unsee it. I have to take care of it ASAP or go crazy. But short of replacing your eye fluid via surgery, you can't "take care" of floaters. I am guessing that eventually it won't drive me as crazy on those occasions that I notice them. In the meanwhile? It's worst when working on my computer and that's kinda problem. I have a hard enough time concentrating... especially when working.

THE STUPID! This last one is all on me. Reaching up to take off my glasses before hopping in the shower or going to bed. Coming very close to poking myself in the eye because I think I have contacts in. And here's the thing: you really, really don't want to be poking yourself in the eye for a week or two after surgery. It takes your eye a while to heal, and doing damage by rubbing or poking it is something you definitely don't want to do. I have no idea how seriously you can cause problems, but I honestly didn't want to find out. My constant worrying was ultimately enough to stop me from doing damage, but it's hard to fight against instincts you've built for decades.

And thus ends my accounting of my cataract surgeries. Hope it was as fun for you as it was for me.

Categories: DaveLife 2024Click To It: Permalink


  1. Thanks for sharing! I didn’t even know multifocal lenses were a thing! Very cool!

  2. martymankins says:

    I just read all 5 parts. Fascinating on so many levels. So far, my deteriorating eyes are solved by prescription reading glasses. I can still see far, but my night vision the last couple of years has been getting worse. Not rapidly but enough to where it gets super annoying. Add hard rain to the mix and then I start getting concerned. I am happy to hear your surgeries were a success.

  3. kapgar says:

    This was brutal, man. I mean, I’m glad you got it all done but reading about insurance and all their bullshitery bugs me to no end. Insurance needs to be torn down and started over from scratch.

    • Dave2 says:

      Or… instead of paying for insurance that’s useless… we could just pay it in taxes and get universal healthcare without the middleman sucking money out of the system.

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