Parenting is one of life’s greatest challenges and blessings. Often, it takes becoming a parent to fully realize the sacrifice our parents made to raise us. Most of us would agree that nurturing, educating, training and molding children is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs there is. As our parent’s age, show your appreciation for all they have done for us by providing care and support when they need it; especially when it comes to healthcare. Accompany them to medical appointments and help them make informed decisions. Eyesight is often a condition that requires more treatment and care as our parents get older, and many parents will be faced with cataract surgery.
The thought of surgery on the eye makes some people anxious, but cataract surgery is a very common procedure. There is little or no discomfort with results of improved quality of life for patients after cataract surgery. Once your parent has been diagnosed with cataracts, there are some steps you can take to improve their safety, whether their cataracts are mild or severe enough to need surgery.
Not Ready for Cataract Surgery Yet: How to keep your parent safe.
- Add anti-glare coatings to eyeglasses for safer driving, especially at night.
- Get their corrective glasses and contacts updated whenever their prescription changes.Have regular eye exams.
- Use brighter lights for reading.
- Your parents may also need brighter overhead lights in their home, especially in bathrooms, the kitchen, and stairwells, to reduce their risk of falls.
- If brighter reading lights don’t give your parents enough of an assist on their own, using a magnifier for reading printed material is an option. You can also help your parents enlarge the fonts on their computer and smartphone screens; look in the Accessibility settings under “Vision.”
If cataracts are affecting your parents’ night vision, they need to reduce or stop driving after dark until their cataracts are removed. The combination of blurred vision and glare or halos around oncoming vehicle lights can make night driving too risky.
Attend a pre-surgery appointment with them, take notes on the pre and post-surgery instructions their doctor gives, so you can help your folks have the best possible experience. As a caregiver, take notes during the appointment. Listen to the questions your parent is asking and write down the doctor’s response.
Questions That You or Your Parents Should Ask When Considering Cataract Surgery
- Are there any medications they need to start taking before surgery; and if so, how long should they continue them after the procedure?
- How long should you expect the recovery to take?
- Once your parent is healed from the surgery, will they need new contacts or glasses?
- Should your parent stop taking any medications before the surgery? If so, when should they resume taking them?
- What are normal signs of recovery?
- What are signs that your mom or dad should call the doctor or go to the ER?
- When can your parent resume normal activity?
- Location—Your parent can choose to have cataract surgery at a hospital or an ambulatory surgery center (ASC). An ASC will often be a more cost-effective choice.
- Traditional or Laser-Assisted cataract surgery:
- Traditional cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore vision. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis and only requires a short recovery period.
- Laser cataract surgery is a fully customizable, precision care solution for restoring your clearest possible vision. This pre-planned outpatient procedure uses detailed computerized mapping of your eyes to achieve the highly accurate results.
- Type of lens—Your parent may have the option of different intraocular lenses (IOLs): traditional IOLs, toric IOLs and multifocal and accommodating IOLs.
- Cost—Each test, surgical procedure, and lens is priced differently, so ask questions about insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs before making final decisions. You may want to make some calls to your parents’ insurance company or Medicare to find out what is covered. Keep in mind that Medicare will only cover the cost of a standard conventional lens.
Be part of the decision-making process, it will help your parent feel secure in making the right choice. Sight is one of the most precious gifts that we have, so help your parents preserve their vision by calling our office to schedule a consultation with one of our cataract specialists.