Clarifying Misconceptions Around Cataracts — From Causes to Medicare Coverage

Clarifying Misconceptions Around Cataracts — From Causes to Medicare Coverage

If you or a family member are over the age of 65, there is a good chance you have a cataract. A cataract is characterized by a clouding and darkening of the eye lens, which blocks vision. Many seniors don’t notice a cataract as it develops it happens over a longer period, and most people tend to adjust to their progression. But when common lifestyle activities such as driving and favorite hobbies become increasingly more difficult to navigate, it may be time to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures in the country with 1.5 million performed annually, but misconceptions abound, including myths about Medicare coverage. Read on for the five most common misconceptions regarding cataracts.

Myth #1:  Only older adults get cataracts

People of all ages can have cataracts. Many conditions and lifestyle habits make cataracts more likely to develop such as diabetes, excessive exposure to sunlight, high blood pressure, prolonged use of certain medications, eye trauma and family history.

Myth #2: Cataracts are growths within the eye

Cataracts are not growths, but instead are changes in the eye’s natural lens. The lens is made mostly of water and protein that keeps it clear and allows light to pass through. If the lens is clear, the retina receives a sharp image. But as we age, cataracts can develop, making the image blurry, dull and yellow. This change may be most obvious at night or in bright daylight.

Myth #3: Cataracts impact both eyes equally

Cataracts start small and affect only a minor part of the lens at first. Most people have no idea that a cataract is present. Often, only one eye is involved in the beginning, but both eyes can be impacted over time. For convenience, many people opt to have cataract surgery performed on both eyes the same day.

Myth #4:  If you have cataracts, you need surgery right away

The best way to manage cataracts is to schedule regular eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist experienced in diagnosing and managing this common and sight-threatening eye condition. The doctor will provide all the information needed to help decide the best course of treatment.

Myth #5:  Medicare does not cover cataract surgery

While Medicare does not cover routine vision screening, it does cover cataract surgery for people over age 65. Varying surgical procedures, medical conditions, deductibles, co-pays and supplemental health insurance may impact final costs. To better determine cost and out-of-pocket expenses for cataract surgery, you will need information from your optometrist or ophthalmologist and Medicare provider. The Medicare website offers a procedure price lookup tool where a specific Medicare code provided by your doctor can be entered to gain a better understanding of costs.

Oasis Senior Advisors connects older adults, their caregivers and their families to aging resources and senior housing options. To learn more about Oasis advisor can assist you in your journey, contact us at (888) 455-5838. One call can offer many solutions for a senior in need.