For many years I asked my retina specialists (and there have been many) about the removal of cataracts. For the most part they all said, “The risk isn’t worth the reward.” Then finally, my current physician, Dr, Michael Tolentino, agreed it was time. He said his perspective changed from that of caution and concern that the surgery could exacerbate the underlying macular degeneration. He was beginning to see that patients who opted to have the cataract removal procedure were getting very good results in terms of clearer and brighter sight.
Dr. Tolentino recommended Dr. Melissa Iglasius, who he said was very competent and experienced in cataract surgery. I interviewed the surgeon, and she gained my complete confidence. Dr. Iglasius said definitively, “Standard surgery is sufficient, no need for laser or crystal lenses.” There would be no additional out of pocket expense.
I had both eyes done, within the last four weeks and the results are truly amazing. Bear in mind that my visual acuity was 20/400 in the left eye and 20/200 in the right. Before the surgery I could not see the letters on a ZoomText large print computer keyboard. I can now see the letters clearly. At this point I can also make out items in the fridge, that I could not see before. The clarity in my peripheral vision is noticeably improved. I still have macular disease, but the increase in light is a big step up. The eye drops are to be continued in the right eye for 16 days, so there is potential to regain more clarity.
When asked, at the support group meetings I run, about the removal of cataracts with AMD, my reply was always, “Discuss it with your retina specialist.” The fact remains, a careful review of the possible risks and rewards of any medical treatment, should be addressed with your physician. Today, based on my experience, I would also be inclined to encourage others to explore the options with an open mind.
Cataract surgery is over in 15 minutes, recovery from anesthesia, depending on which one you chose, is relatively short. It is well advised to adhere to the follow up instructions including a regimen of drops, no bending over, no rubbing the eye, and using anti-bacterial cleanser. In my case, the reward was certainly worth the risk. Thanks to Dr. Iglasius.