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GUEST COLUMN: My “Cadillac” cataract surgery

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Uttam Bansal

If you are considering having cataract surgery you should consider all the risks and options before undergoing the procedure, as I myself have discovered.

I began wearing glasses at the age of seventeen to correct myopia, or nearsightedness. As I grew older I also developed farsightedness and other conditions of the eye.

All these conditions were fully corrected with eyeglasses, but then came the cataracts.

My natural lenses had become cloudy and glasses couldn’t correct my deteriorating vision. At that point, surgery became the only effective option, and I had mine done last September.

Cataract surgery replaces the hardened and clouded natural eye lens with a flexible artificial lens. Specific features are available in the implanted lens, depending on the recommendation of your doctor and your own personal preferences.

After basic cataract surgery most patients get clear vision in a couple days.

OHIP covers the cost of a basic lens and standard procedure. For an additional cost, though, you can opt for special lenses that improve night driving.

You could stop there and continue wearing glasses for eye conditions beyond the cataracts, or you can go for further options, as I did.

My “Cadillac” cataract surgery included additional lens features to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness, and Lasik surgery of cornea to correct astigmatism.

These cost considerably more money, and the recovery time increased with each additional procedure.

Many patients enjoy long-term benefits from these additional procedures, and eventually no longer need glasses for most tasks. But one in four patients have blurred vision after cataract surgery. In most cases it can be corrected with quick, microscopic laser surgery.

Six months after my surgery, I still have blurriness in both eyes. The Lasik procedure also accentuated a pre-existing problem that I had with ‘dry eye.’

Lubricating drops do help, but I have also ordered eyeglasses to help in the future. I have learned the blurriness could take more than a year to disappear completely.

When considering major surgery, trust your doctor’s suggestions but do your own research, discuss it with experienced friends and weigh your options, evaluate all the risk factors and decide a path forward with your doctor.

Identify your risk factors and understand that they could impact the potential benefits. Review the Consent Forms carefully. Clarify your slightest doubts with the doctor.

No procedure is perfect. No human is infallible. Read the fine print. Do your due diligence, make an informed decision, and avoid bemoaning after the fact.

Uttam Bansal, 65, is a semi-retired Professional Engineer who has lived in Sarnia for nearly 20 years.




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