Thought I would share a little bit about my experiences with one of the joys of senior living. Namely, my eyes. They have sure gotten a lot of attention lately. For starters, I have worn glasses for a long time, but not about my 40's. My husband and grandson, on the other hand, both have had glasses since they were very young. Bob's need wasn't really recognized until he was in school. Ian's need was picked up on an exam following an eye injury when he was maybe 3 or 4. Lots of eye business!
I did attempt to use contacts for a bit, but found them to really not suit me. Plus, as most any woman over 55 can tell you, tissues all over the body become more friable and contain less natural moisture as our aging progresses. My eye balls were too dry to work well with the contacts, and, in fact, I ended up with a scratched cornea from removing the lens. So I have been using glasses with trifocal lenses for quite a few years.
Last year, my eye doctor noted that my lids had become droopy enough to start interfering with my vision. Especially my peripheral vision. So I explored the possibility of having the rather simple procedure done that would correct the problem. I went ahead with the procedure, even though a good part of it was out-of-pocket. That's because the eyelids weren't deemed droopy enough! I could have waited for who knows how many years. Or I could have just had a portion of the surgery done that lifts the eyelashes but doesn't remove any of the excess skin. That didn't seem wise to me, because I would end up having the second surgery for the eyelid tissue, with all the expenses, at a later date anyway. Who comes up with these plans??!! I know it's not the docs, they just have to follow what all those insurers dictate. My private insurance, through my husband's employer, picked up a portion of the bill, but not as much as we had to pay out-of-pocket. My choice either pay for it now, or endure bad vision until it was "bad enough", or have 2 separate procedures.
The baggy eyelids seemed like mostly an annoyance, sometimes I would have to literally lift up my eyelids especially later in the day, in order to read or sew easier. What I didn't know, until my eye exam, was that my peripheral vision had become limited. That's the kind of vision that really helps out when driving. And, I drive a lot! To me, it seemed like a no-brainer to get the whole works done. I will also add that recovering from that little bit of surgery was not a walk in the park! On the contrary, the swelling and itching were very uncomfortable for days.
Then, in 2019, my Dr. picked up on cataracts that had developed a lot since my last exam. I had noticed that my vision, especially when driving at night, had changed. I couldn't read lighted signs very well, and headlights looked like starbursts. So, back I go to the surgical clinic. By now, I had graduated to Medicare with supplemental insurance. Once again, I was offered options. There were 3 options, as I remember it. First, I could have just a new replacement lens implanted, and still require glasses and the routine expenses of frames and prescription lenses. This is what my supplemental insurance would cover. Second choice was to implant a lens that would also correct my vision to a point where I wouldn't have to wear glasses all the time. "Readers" or "cheaters" would probably be needed. Third choice was a deluxe lens that would eliminate the need for glasses at all.
I decided to go the middle of the road, choosing the second option. But, again, that was not covered by my insurance. I guess they would rather have me continue to wear glasses all the time. But I really welcome the chance to have some vision without glasses for awhile. I am using some readers, but my distance vision is great without anything. And the night driving is back to normal. My supplemental insurance covered a lot of the procedure expense, but not those fancy lenses!
All in all, it has been a learning experience. Many exams, many doctors, many kind staff members at all levels, many eye drops, many insurance questions and many times forcing myself not to rub my eyes! I do like where I am at now, and I hope it stays this way for awhile! I don't have to schedule an eye appointment until next spring!
With all of this happening, and with our more frequent times away from home, we are left wondering how all this will work out when and if we are not at home and need this kind of attention. We do have some great caregivers here, and hope to stay with them. But just navigating the insurance is confusing!
This wouldn't be complete without telling you about my doctors. My primary eyecare is by Dr. Georgiann Jensen, OD at the Blaine Eye Clinic (Blaine, MN). My blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) was done by Dr. Jill Melicher at Minnesota Eye Consultants. My cataract surgery was done by Dr. Mark Hansen at Minnesota Eye Consultants. I am very lucky to have access to such good healthcare.
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!