Early Cataract Surgery To Help My Reading Vision? Now I’m listening.
- Posted on: Feb 20 2018
If you’re 45 and really struggling in that romantic, dimly-lit restaurant to see how much your favorite bottle of wine costs, this is for you.
If we told you that you could fix your vision NOW and that you may not need cataract surgery when you get older, would you be blown away?
We hear it almost every day…”so if I have the surgery now, I don’t have to have it later?”
In Review of Ophthalmology, an interesting article titled: Cataract Patients: Younger Every Year delves into why cataract surgery which was once considered a surgery for “elderly patients” is now being performed sooner and younger, many times in patients who haven’t even reached retirement age.
Dr. Stephen Slade at our office, along with 3 other highly experienced cataract surgeons, explains why the stakes have changed, what this means for their practices, and what is going on in the world of cataract surgery options.
“There are many reasons for the shift toward younger cataract patients,” says Stephen Slade, MD, FACS, who practices at Slade & Baker Vision Center in Houston. “One is that the surgery has changed. When I started training 25 years ago, people would be in the hospital for two or three days to have a cataract removed; they couldn’t move around and it would take a while to get their vision back. So, they were told to postpone the surgery until the cataracts got really bad. Today, the surgery has gotten much easier; there are far fewer complications and much less fear, and the technology has improved dramatically. The surgery has become much more of a procedure and less of an operation.”
The surgeons in this article all touch on the topic that they are all now dealing with cataract surgery as a refractive procedure, and they all collectively believe it will continue to improve.
Dr. Slade points out that the shift has been accompanied by a change in the definition of lens “dysfunction.”
“Essentially, you have cataract surgery because the lens stops working,” he says. “In the past, ‘stops working’ was defined as ‘the lens gets cloudy.’ But in reality, a healthy lens also focuses the light for both distance and near, and the lens stops doing that around the age of 40.”
All in all, these surgeons are also all dealing with a different generation.
Now, younger patients are used to paying out-of-pocket for health-care related expenses. The older patients are not used to spending their disposable income for “lifestyle advantages” through their medical procedures.
How is Cataract Surgery like Botox? Or Viagra?
Dr. Slade points out an interesting take on how baby boomers are changing the market. “Baby boomers are not their parents,” notes Dr. Slade. “The previous generation was more complacent—they expected less. I’m a baby boomer myself, so I can say this: There’s nobody as whiny as a baby boomer. One little thing wrong and baby boomers want to have it fixed. And they’re used to having it fixed—whether the ‘fix’ is Botox or Restylane or Viagra or wrinkle cream, or having a hip or knee replaced. Baby boomers are actively looking for solutions, where the previous generation was passively hoping for solutions.”
“People who are in the next generation older typically accept that with age comes loss of opportunity, loss of function,” observes Dr. Masket. “The baby boomers don’t adhere to that philosophy. So, when they sense they have any type of limitation in their vision, they want it fixed. And the fact that we can now come closer to meeting those expectations than we could in the past supports their desire to get this problem addressed earlier.”
“Another difference is in their level of knowledge about the surgery,” adds Dr. Slade. “People go on the Internet now and learn more about cataract surgery in 20 minutes than most first-year ophthalmology residents learned in six months 20 years ago. And, the surgery is now able to address problems like high myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and even presbyopia. The improvements in cataract surgery fit very well with the baby boomers’ desire to get things fixed as soon as they become an issue.”
To read the full article, click here. If you are struggling with your vision at any age, we urge you to call us at 713-626-5544 and come see Dr. Slade or Dr. Walton at our office. Particularly if you are starting to struggle with your near or reading vision and you want to hear your options, you may be very pleasantly surprised with what you hear!