How to Choose the Right Cataract Surgeon
Did you know about 20.5 million US citizens, age 40 and older suffer from cataracts?
In fact, by age 80, more than 50% of all Americans will have a cataract. More than one million cataract surgeries are performed each year in the US alone. However, the good part is that these cataract surgeries are performed without complication in about 95% of cases. Careful eye surgeonís selection is essential to determine which doctor are ďspecialists in performing cataract surgeriesĒ.
The purpose of the following article is to help and facilitate you in making the right and wise decision of choosing the best suitable eye surgeon for your cataract removal.
What is cataract surgery?
By definition, cataract surgery is the surgical removal of the cloudy natural lens (cataract) that covers the eye. A cataract usually occurs as a natural consequence of ageing. Following the removal of the lens, you may choose to have an intraocular lens (IOL) implanted to help readjust the eyes' ability to focus.
You should remember that, to date, surgery is the only way to remove a cataract. The aim is to improve your vision.
How would you know if you need a cataract surgery?
The realization of whether you should go for a cataract surgery or not is based on one simple observation and, that is, if you feel that your blurred vision interferes with your day-to-day life, surgery can and should be offered. Your eye doctor may also recommend cataract surgery if he or she feels that the quality of your life has been reduced and your ability to perform daily routine activities (driving, reading or sports) has been affected or compromised. However, do remember that even if you don't have eyesight problems yet, your doctor may recommend cataract surgery for you to prevent any future eye related problems.
What points to consider while choosing the right eye surgeon?
Qualifications and board certification: You should prefer an eye surgeon that is fully competent, qualified and certified to perform cataract operations. A fully trained surgeon is a physician who, after medical school, has gone through years of training in an accredited residency program to learn the specialized skills of a surgeon. One good sign of a surgeonís competence is certification a national surgical board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties. All such board-certified surgeons have satisfactorily completed an approved residency training program and have passed a rigorous specialty examination specifically related with cataracts (or their field of expertise). Similarly, the letters F.A.C.S. (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon's name are a further indication of a physician's qualifications. Surgeons who become fellows of the college have passed a comprehensive evaluation of their education, training, and professional qualifications.
Doctorís recommendation: While your doctor cannot make your decision for you, but talking with your doctor can help you decide. You can also ask your primary eye doctor for a list of surgeons he or she recommends. The surgeons who perform cataract surgery are called ophthalmologists. Your eye doctor probably knows one or two surgeons in your area very well.
Friends / familyís referral: In addition to a surgeonís expertise, experience and manner, referrals often are helpful in choosing an eye surgeon. Ask trusted friends or contact a university with a medical school or hospital for names and references.
Post-surgical follow up: Be sure that the cataract surgeon you choose has 24-hour support with dedicated staff available after surgery. You need to be able to reach a professional if you experience post-surgical complications.
Surgical fees / costs involved: You should try to find the qualified surgeon who is offering cataract removal surgery for the best price. You might find that there is a difference of hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars between different surgeons. Remember that cheaper surgery does not mean it is worse, nor does more expensive surgery guarantee better results. However, sometimes, a cheaper surgeon might have less experience and give you a slightly greater risk of complications. But if you find two surgeons that you like, cost may be the deciding factor when choosing between them.
You should also ask the surgeon's office when payment is expected. Many surgeons require the total amount the day of your surgery and before the operation.
In short, cataract surgery is one of the safest and more common surgeries performed in the U.S. each year. The best part is that you do have your own freedom and flexibility when it comes to the selection of the most suitable eye surgeon or ophthalmologist for you. You should, however, consider the best recommended criteria for cataract surgeon selection which consists of skill, expertise, safety and costs involved.
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