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Old 25.06.2019, 02:55
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My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

My wife (early 40s healthy and very sporty) started seeing blurred on waking up last week. We first thought that it was tired eyes or oily glands. Over next few hours and days it got better.

Today we decided to go to Fielmann to get it checked in case she needed glasses. The guy there could not improve her sharpness after trying for a while and said that we need to visit eye doctor as the cause is biological and not glasses related.

We frantically called few eye doctors and managed to get straight away an appointment with an eye doctor near Paradepaltz. The eye doctor and her assistant were very nice, professional and took care of us. Result of the thorough examination was that my wife has cataract in both eyes We were shocked! From no issues to this in a week!

She needs to operate and replace the lens in both eyes, starting with the left one. My wife is really scared and I am million times more scared but trying my best to act strong for her.

The eye doctor said she will pass my wife's case to an Ophthalmologist/Ophthalmic Surgeon in Stauffacherstrasse that she highly recommends and says is one of the best, she said that he will contact us directly to set up everything.


Our world has been shaken as a result of all this. I am now concentrating on getting the best treatment and surgeon for my wife.

I have some questions...

1) Even though the eye doctor we visited today was very competent how can I be sure that the surgeon she recommended is good?

2) The operation will happen in his clinic. Is it not advisable to have it in a hospital?

3) The eye surgeon she recommended according to LinkedIn he worked at Unispital for 13 years and his own practise for last 12 years. He does not even have a website, should I worry?

4) Apparently she has 80% vision in both eyes currently and the surgeon is booked until end of August. Eye doc said it is not a problem to wait that long. How can I be sure? Shall we get second opinion? If yes where?

5) We have basic insurance with Sanitas, anything I need to be aware of?

My wife cried enough today as she is scared of going blind and is finally in deep sleep. It's almost 3am and I just cannot sleep. I keep waking up all panicked for her. Any advice regarding our situation? It is just all too much to take!


P.S- I wish I had this and not her
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Old 25.06.2019, 07:04
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

It may all sound daunting but this is not a massive procedure and usually done in a few hours.


My husband had his done in his 40's too, at a doctors clininc and got the train home after the procedure. They usually do one eye at a time as the eye is covered for a period of time.


I was very scared too before I had an eye operation but the thought of it was much much worse than the actual op.


I hope this helps a little.
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Old 25.06.2019, 07:32
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

Thanks Oldhand.

Were did you guys operate? I don't want to post name of the doc that was reccomended to us here but how can I be sure he is good?

I can PM the name if anyone is smarter than me. Or can I post the name here?
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Old 25.06.2019, 07:48
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

I had mine done in January (right eye) and February (left eye). It was done locally as it happens. It's quite a common operation and most people of my age have had it done. For me the surprising thing was just how white the walls of the doctor's practice were, I had even thought beforehand 'this place needs doing up'!
I can drive again without glasses although reading is somehow a little more difficult. It all went well, we were about 10 people done on that day, the eye is covered for 24 hours and then there is a series of eyedrops for 10 or so days and now in sunshine I just have to wear sunglasses.
Good job I didn't have to foot the bill - in all it came to just under CHF 9000.
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:05
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Thaks Busby I assume you are much older than in 40s? Where did you get it done?



Does the bill not get covered by normal basic insurance?

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I can drive again without glasses although reading is somehow a little more difficult.

Does that mean you can read with glasses or can't read anymore at all?

This is my only outlet currently as i don't want to worry my wife apart from staying positive.

What I don't understand is that how come her vision is normal currently or same as before all this issue started one week ago?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 25.06.2019 at 20:56. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:13
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

I certainly understand your apprehension; many of us feel a bit of panic when contemplating operating on our eyes.

But as Oldhand and Busby said, in most cases it really is a routine operation.

I would recommend getting a second opinion, both to assess the condition of the eyes and most importantly for your own comfort.

I can certainly recommend my ophthalmologist , who is excellent. But he might be too far for you, in Pfäffikon SZ. His practice is quite busy, so unless it were an emergency there could be a wait for an appointment.

(Although it feels this way to you, 'normal' cataracts are generally not an emergency. Sudden development, as in over days, does merit timely attention, though. Whoever you see for a second opinion, do make sure to stress the timing of the development in your wife's vision problems. In the case of sudden development, ask about potential underlying causes.)

If you are willing to travel and/or possibly wait, my doctor is:

Dr Joseph Frei
http://augenarzt-praxis.ch

Alternatively, the Augenklinik at Triemlispital might be a good resource. MY doctor once sent me there for additional tests. It's a big clinic, they have the bells and whistles.

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/triemli...genklinik.html

You need to feel comfortable with the doctor you choose. Ask him/her about his or her experience, about potential outcomes, ask all the questions you wish. Any doctor who is abrupt or seems to be pushing you farther than your comfort zone is perhaps not the doctor for you.

One thing you should be aware of:

Basic insurance covers implantation of a normal lens, not the variable vision or other new lens types. You should read up on the various lenses available, discuss which is best for your wife, and whether or not the lens you think is needed is covered. IIRC, from my research some years ago if you choose something that is not covered by the KK theses lenses run in the ca 1500-2000 range.

Also, think about what you want the implanted lens to do to correct vision - correct for near, or far? (Some people even do one eye each...) It's an individual choice, to be discussed with the doctor.

In my case - bog standard age related cataracts - my doctor has advised me to wait as long as I can before having the operation. That might not be the case with your wife, but it is always prudent when considering any surgery to ask about timing, especially "What happens if I wait, do I have any options?" That should be asked of your primary doctor, and of the doctor who is giving a second opinion.

Some insurance providers offer a second opinion service, where the KK sends you to an independent doctor for review of proposed treatment. When I go through my KK's Zweite Meinung program they pick up the cost of that consultation. Check to see if yours offers something similar.

Lastly, do read up on the recovery period, and make sure someone is able to help your wife do the things she might be restricted from doing in the days after the operation.


ETA:

If you have trouble getting an appointment for a second opinion, talk to your Hausarzt. Obviously not for the opinion, but your GP can often help you get an appointment with a specialist in a more timely fashion than you are able to do on your own.

Wishing your wife all the very best.

Last edited by meloncollie; 25.06.2019 at 08:36.
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:27
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

Cataracts are really very common and very easily fixed. It's a very very very common operation. Do you understand what a cataract actually is ? It's a clouding of the lens, which is like a small disc that covers the front of the eye. The cataract surgery is to take out this disc and replace it with an artificial one which does the same job and becomes part of the structure of the eye. There may be other techniques. I don't know...



As for her noticing the blurriness, it may be that something else cause the blurriness and the cataracts were there a long time. It may be that it hit a point where suddenly she became aware of her vision being poor.



Cataracts can be caused by aging or injury, or by a genetic disorder. Some people are born with them. They can also be caused by diabetes. they 'creep up slowly' until finally the person realises their vision is affected. Quite likely she has been having symptoms but maybe the brighter light in the summer has made her aware of the 'cloudy/blurry' vision.



Oh, and long-term use of steroid medication can also cause cataracts. And smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse. Does she smoke ? Another factor is whether she was exposed to a lot of sunshine in her eyes as a child - did she grow up in a very sunny place ? Does she already wear glasses ?



The basic 'good' news is that it's really very simply treated. Sounds nasty but they do it as walk-in, walk-out... they take out the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial lens. They can also take out the lens and just give glasses. And they will do one eye at a time so you can see from the other until it heals.



And yes, it's such a simple procedure, some eye doctors will do ten of them (or many many more in 'cataract clinics' in poor countries') - and it's life-changing for people who have never had their vision corrected...



Please don't stress. And fear of going blind does not help anyone. It's perfectly possible to manage life with low/poor vision. They do one eye at a time so you can manage with one eye until the other heals... it's lower risk than laser eye surgery..
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:34
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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Does that mean you can read with glasses or can't read anymore at all?

My eye-doctor prescribed glasses for reading to balance out the slight differences each eye now has. I'm writing this without glasses - something I couldn't have done before (for many years) - but I'm sitting well back from the screen to get everything in focus.


The bill gets covered by normal basic insurance (except for the glasses) providing you choose the normal basic lens. 'Special Editions' are at your own cost but as I'm eighty I chose the simple version - anything else would be pointless for me.


The doctor concerned is the only one in Kloten, has a good name and was recommended to me by my usual eye-doctor in Bülach who doesn't operate.
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:43
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Oh, and long-term use of steroid medication can also cause cataracts. And smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse. Does she smoke ? Another factor is whether she was exposed to a lot of sunshine in her eyes as a child - did she grow up in a very sunny place ? Does she already wear glasses ?

She spent lot of time on the sunny beach as a child. No she does not smoke or even drink. She is very healthy and into healthy fitness. Yes it runs in her family, mum grandad etc


No she does not wear glasses. Last few years it has been weird as one glasses place would say she needs another would say opposite...etc...etc.



Looking back I noticed that her mobile phone she always kept lower brightness than mine. Atleast for last one year if not more.



Until the operation should I make her wear UV protective glasses or something while working in front of PC? Outside she wears shades mostly as I always forced her.

Thanks Swisspea for the detailed reply. Virtual thank you to you and everyone else.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 25.06.2019 at 20:59. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:53
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

Had both done last Spring. They compel all patients to be escorted home after the operation. At literally the last moment my ride cancelled. So I enjoyed my post-op Coffee, put on my jacket and headed out the door saying goodby to everyone. Walked around the corner, jumped on the bus and then train and bus to my home.

For the second eye I didn’t even schedule a ride.

The biggest downside for me was looking like a pirate for the rest of the day. Aaarrrhhhgggghhh, me hearties !!!
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:56
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

you're welcome. It's a shock but please don't be too worried. It's a very common condition. And it sounds like it runs in her family (genetic cause) so that's good to know.



Cataracts can happen at any age. It's not an 'old age' thing... although they are more common in older people...
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Old 25.06.2019, 08:59
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Thanks meloncollie for the detailed reply. Yes I have been reading up on the lenses and it is very confusing to decide which to choose! I am not rich but I will take whichever lens we think is the best option


Yes I will be helping my wife, luckily I work from home office.



Quote:
You need to feel comfortable with the doctor you choose. Ask him/her about his or her experience, about potential outcomes, ask all the questions you wish. Any doctor who is abrupt or seems to be pushing you farther than your comfort zone is perhaps not the doctor for you.

One thing you should be aware of:

Basic insurance covers implantation of a normal lens, not the variable vision or other new lens types. You should read up on the various lenses available, discuss which is best for your wife, and whether or not the lens you think is needed is covered. IIRC, from my research some years ago if you choose something that is not covered by the KK theses lenses run in the ca 1500-2000 range.

Also, think about what you want the implanted lens to do to correct vision - correct for near, or far? (Some people even do one eye each...) It's an individual choice, to be discussed with the doctor.

In my case - bog standard age related cataracts - my doctor has advised me to wait as long as I can before having the operation. That might not be the case with your wife, but it is always prudent when considering any surgery to ask about timing, especially "What happens if I wait, do I have any options?" That should be asked of your primary doctor, and of the doctor who is giving a second opinion.

Some insurance providers offer a second opinion service, where the KK sends you to an independent doctor for review of proposed treatment. When I go through my KK's Zweite Meinung program they pick up the cost of that consultation. Check to see if yours offers something similar.

Lastly, do read up on the recovery period, and make sure someone is able to help your wife do the things she might be restricted from doing in the days after the operation.
Is it woth buying some sort of UV or blu light cancelling cheap glasses until the operation so she limits the damage while working in front of PC?

Another question, she is very active person. From Yoga to weight trainign etc. Doc said 1-2 weeks after the operation she can start doing everything again. We will wait 3 weeks just to be safe.

What I forgot to ask was is there any reason she should stop already until the operation?

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Had both done last Spring. They compel all patients to be escorted home after the operation. At literally the last moment my ride cancelled. So I enjoyed my post-op Coffee, put on my jacket and headed out the door saying goodby to everyone. Walked around the corner, jumped on the bus and then train and bus to my home.

For the second eye I didn’t even schedule a ride.

The biggest downside for me was looking like a pirate for the rest of the day. Aaarrrhhhgggghhh, me hearties !!!
Bowlie that made me smile. I needed it :-)

Last edited by 3Wishes; 25.06.2019 at 21:01. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 25.06.2019, 09:59
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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3) The eye surgeon she recommended according to LinkedIn he worked at Unispital for 13 years and his own practise for last 12 years. He does not even have a website, should I worry?
Oh my...

Only about 20% of doctors with own practise have a website. And most probably their inhouse PCs run Windows XP.
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Old 25.06.2019, 10:15
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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Oh my...

Only about 20% of doctors with own practise have a website. And most probably their inhouse PCs run Windows XP.
Cmon, be easy on him, he sounds like such a nice hubby.

OP - don't dispair, it is a routine thing. Got diagnosed at 34, and still ok now. Will take care of it when life permits. Try to explain to your wife that it is common and correctible. Now go for a drink.
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Old 25.06.2019, 10:33
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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Is it woth buying some sort of UV or blu light cancelling cheap glasses until the operation so she limits the damage while working in front of PC?
I don't think it will make much difference regarding the progression of the cataract but may make her more comfortable. I wouldn't make it an emergency. She may try some of them out at an optician to see if it makes a difference comfort-wise - but with the operation soon may be worth waiting and evaluating the situation afterwards

One of my close relatives has a stable mild cataract developed long time ago in her 20s which has not required an operation so far. She does like to use blue light glasses in front of the PC screen and feels it makes a difference. She also doesn't quite feel comfortable driving in the dark with street lights/headlights causing her disturbing glare, but there's no glasses that can help there
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Another question, she is very active person. From Yoga to weight trainign etc. Doc said 1-2 weeks after the operation she can start doing everything again. We will wait 3 weeks just to be safe.
You'll have to see how she does after the operation, 1-2 weeks is a guideline but everyone's recovery is different. It's better to avoid strenuous effort (lifting weights) for a while to ensure the lenses settle in - but yoga may be fine. The doctor should be the one to give you the green light - there are check-ups after the operation when this can be discussed

Quote:
What I forgot to ask was is there any reason she should stop already until the operation?
As always, ask the doctor, but I wouldn't think it makes any difference if she stops physical exercise. I'd think if she continues (without over-doing it) that will keep her body fit for the operation

But really most importantly, talk to and trust your doctor about all these questions. Also talk to your GP, to check if there are no other underlying causes (e.g. diabetes)
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Old 25.06.2019, 10:39
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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Cmon, be easy on him, he sounds like such a nice hubby.
He was being nice to the OP who sounds like a lovely caring husband.
He was just saying ( in a humorous way) that most doctors here don’t actually have a website which is obviously not what the OP is used to. Things almost certainly work differently in Switzerland from what the OP is used to.

To the OP

It’s very easy to go into panic mode when confronted with a diagnosis that was not expected. Just be there to support your wife and try to remain as calm as possible for her ( visibly at least).
As everyone else has said cataract surgery is commonplace and is generally quick and easy.
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Old 25.06.2019, 10:45
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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He was being nice to the OP..
Of course, BM.
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Old 25.06.2019, 10:50
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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I don't think it will make much difference regarding the progression of the cataract but may make her more comfortable. I wouldn't make it an emergency. She may try some of them out at an optician to see if it makes a difference comfort-wise - but with the operation soon may be worth waiting and evaluating the situation afterwards

One of my close relatives has a stable mild cataract developed long time ago in her 20s which has not required an operation so far. She does like to use blue light glasses in front of the PC screen and feels it makes a difference. She also doesn't quite feel comfortable driving in the dark with street lights/headlights causing her disturbing glare, but there's no glasses that can help there
You'll have to see how she does after the operation, 1-2 weeks is a guideline but everyone's recovery is different. It's better to avoid strenuous effort (lifting weights) for a while to ensure the lenses settle in - but yoga may be fine. The doctor should be the one to give you the green light - there are check-ups after the operation when this can be discussed

As always, ask the doctor, but I wouldn't think it makes any difference if she stops physical exercise. I'd think if she continues (without over-doing it) that will keep her body fit for the operation

But really most importantly, talk to and trust your doctor about all these questions. Also talk to your GP, to check if there are no other underlying causes (e.g. diabetes)
I totally agree with the fitness question, anything related to eyes - I always had recommendations to watch out with physical activity. Good point. I even had two sets of textbooks by the system, one at home and one at school. It makes a difference, especially with lifting weights.

Another thing to consider, when you start looking around, you find many ophtalmo offices who perform this operation, it is that routine. So, there's choice. My opthtalmologue wants me to go to a special clinic since there are more issues they will simultaneously work on. But overall, OP has a choice.
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Old 25.06.2019, 10:54
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

cateracts are something we will all have to deal with assuming we live long enough.

the procedure is routine and so nothing to worry about.

there are many different ways to do the procedure. it might be worth finding out how they do it: traditional incision? use of folding lens requiring smaller incision? laser incision? do they map the eye before and/or during the operation?

also with the lens that is put inside. whether you try to put in an advanced lens to also do eyesight correction. if so, then the surgeon experience is critical as outcomes are not so great with this with many patients still require glasses afterwards if the calculation or placement is not accurate.

in the US it is common to prep many many patients at once and the surgeon processes them factory style with assistants wheeling in patients one after the other.

with delicate manipulation required, a good and experienced surgeon is obviously a plus.

unfortunately, i have no recommendations to make, but in your position i would look at the procedure they perform, years of experience and most importantly number of patients they have treated.
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Old 25.06.2019, 11:05
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Re: My wife has cataract, I need help :-(

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I totally agree with the fitness question, anything related to eyes - I always had recommendations to watch out with physical activity. Good point. I even had two sets of textbooks by the system, one at home and one at school. It makes a difference, especially with lifting weights.

You mean after the operation? Once the doc give OK then she can return to full fitness activity, I mean once everythign is settled?
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