Cataract Surgery and Insurance

A cataract is a painless, cloudy area in the lens of the eye. The lens is enclosed in a lining called the lens capsule. During cataract surgery in Rapid City, Dr. Wright separates the cataract from the lens capsule. In most cases, the lens is replaced with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). In most instances, with certain limitations, cataract surgery costs are covered under both private insurance plans and Medicare.

Private Insurance

Private insurance for cataract surgery is usually quite comprehensive but also quite variable. In most instances, private insurances cover a portion, if not all, of the Cataract Surgeon Fee, the Facility Fee, the cost of a Monofocal Lens Implant and the necessary follow up care after your Cataract Surgery. Private insurances vary in the deductible that they may require, the co-pay you might be responsible for and the percentage of each allowable expense that they might reimburse.

Medicare Insurance

Medicare for cataract surgery is also quite comprehensive. Medicare generally covers a portion of the Cataract Surgeon Fee, the Facility Fee, the cost of a Monofocal Lens Implant and the necessary follow up care after your cataract surgery. It is likely that you will be responsible for a co-pay or a deductible for the pre-surgery office examination, consultation and measurements for your cataract surgery. If you need a pre-surgery physical with your medical doctor, you may also be responsible for that physician’s co-pay as well. In addition, if you require anesthesia, while your insurance will cover the allowable anesthesia expense, you may be responsible for the anesthesia co-pay and/or deductible.

It is important to note that insurance may not cover the cost of advanced technology lens implants. The amount of coverage, deductibles and any co-pays are uniquely individual to each patient’s specific health insurance policy.

To find out if your insurance plan will cover the cost of cataract surgery in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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LASIK Eye Surgery Candidate

LASIK eye surgery can be very successful when performed on the right patient. LASIK can treat severe degrees of nearsightedness, moderate amounts of farsightedness and astigmatism, but LASIK is not right for everyone. While the goal of LASIK surgery is to reduce dependency on glasses or contact lenses, having LASIK cannot guarantee 20/20 vision. Fortunately, most cases are successful in improving visual acuity.

To be eligible for LASIK surgery, potential candidates must meet the following criteria:

Age: Candidates must be at least 18 years old.

General Health: LASIK eye surgery candidates must be in good general health and should not have certain health problems including uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune or collagen vascular disease, or take any medication or have any condition that compromises the immune response.

Eye Health: Candidates should be free of eye diseases including keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts, corneal disease and certain retinal and optic nerve diseases. LASIK surgery candidates should not have certain eye conditions including herpes simplex or herpes zoster.

Eye Problems: LASIK patients should make their eye doctor aware of certain eye problems including amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (muscle imbalance) or any recurrent, residual or active eye conditions that may influence healing. Other conditions that should be discussed with the doctor include keloid scarring with previous surgical healing, back problems and claustrophobia. Please make Dr. Wright aware of any mental health conditions because these may also affect your LASIK surgery or recovery.

Eye Injury: Patients should not have any eye infections or injury.

Nursing/Pregnancy: Candidates should not be nursing or pregnant when undergoing the LASIK procedure. Hormones may affect the stability of your prescription, so pregnant or nursing women are not eligible to pursue LASIK surgery until three menstrual cycles after nursing has been discontinued.

Dry Eye Condition: Patients should not continuously suffer from dry eyes.

Stable Vision: Candidates’ vision must be stable for at least one year prior to the procedure date.

Contacts: Prior to your LASIK surgery consultation and LASIK procedure, you must not wear contact lenses for a certain length of time. The precise length will be determined by Dr. Wright on an individual basis. This ensures corneal stability and accurate assessment of your prescription prior to the LASIK surgery procedure.

Corneal Thickness: The thickness of your cornea plays an important role in determining proper candidacy for LASIK. Due to the nature of the procedure, candidates must have a minimum corneal thickness of approximately 0.5 mm.

A patient’s candidacy for LASIK also depends on an evaluation of the patient’s eyes, expectations and lifestyle by an experienced optometrist or ophthalmologist. Consult Dr. Wright in Rapid City for a LASIK consultation to determine if you are a LASIK candidate. Discover more about LASIK by contacting Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to book your LASIK consultation today.

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What Are the Three Types of Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye due to protein buildup in the body which leads to reduced vision and loss of sight if left untreated. There are three primary types of cataracts: nuclear sclerotic, cortical and posterior subcapsular.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts

A nuclear cataract is the most common type of cataract, beginning with a gradual hardening and yellowing of the central zone of the lens also known as the nucleus. Over time, this hardening and yellowing will expand to the other layers of the lens.

As this type of cataract progresses, it changes the eye’s ability to focus and close-up vision (for reading or other types of close work) may temporarily improve. This symptom is referred to as second sight, but the vision improvement it produces is not permanent.

A nuclear sclerotic cataract progresses slowly and may take several years of gradual development before it begins to affect vision.

Cortical Cataracts

A cortical cataract forms in the shell layer of the lens known as the cortex and gradually extends its “spokes” from the outside of the lens to the center. These fissures can cause the light that enters the eye to scatter, creating problems with blurred vision, glare, contrast and depth perception. People with diabetes are at risk for developing cortical cataracts.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

Primarily affecting one’s reading and night vision, this type of cataract begins as a small opaque or cloudy area on the posterior (back surface) of the lens. It is called subcapsular because it forms beneath the lens capsule which is a small sac or membrane that encloses the lens and holds it in place.

Subcapsular cataracts can interfere with reading and create halo effects and glare around lights. People who use steroids or have diabetes, extreme nearsightedness, and/or retinitis pigmentosa may develop this type of cataract. Subcapsular cataracts can develop rapidly and symptoms can become noticeable within months.

If you are experiencing vision problems in Rapid City and suspect that you may have a cataract, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright.

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What Causes Cataracts?

A cataract is a common condition in which a normally clear eye lens becomes cloudy, causing blurry vision similar to looking through a foggy window. A cataract occurs when there is a buildup of proteins in the lens, creating protein clumps. These clumps, or deposits, prevent light from passing clearly through the lens, thus disrupting normal vision.

There are several reasons why a cataract may form, including:

Aging – The eyes mainly consist of water and protein. As we grow older, some of the protein may form chunks and cloud a certain area of the eyes lens. This phenomenon is called a cataract. It may grow over time and cause partial or complete vision loss. The good news is the condition is usually treatable through cataract surgery. The process involves removing the natural lens of the eyes then replacing it with an intraocular lens.

Traumatic Cataract – Another common cause of cataracts is trauma: blunt or penetrating ocular trauma, electric shock, chemical burns or ionizing radiation. A traumatic cataract can develop even years after these types of eye injuries first occurred.

Diabetes – People with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop cataracts. The aqueous humor provides nutrients to our eye’s lens, including oxygen and glucose. A person who suffers from diabetes will not have full control of their glucose levels which may result in high levels of sugar in the aqueous humor. This can lead to swelling, simultaneously affecting vision. Likewise, the lens inside the eye has an enzyme that converts glucose into sorbitol. This sugar alcohol can affect both cells and protein and may eventually result in cataracts.

Congenital Cataract – While cataracts are normally associated with the aging process, there are instances of cataracts in newborns. These congenital cataracts can develop for a number of different reasons including inherited tendencies, infection (such as measles or rubella), metabolic problems, diabetes, trauma, inflammation or drug reactions.

High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure (HBP) is known to cause elevated inflammation which may result in cataracts. Aside from cataracts, HBP may also lead to age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Smoking – Experts suggest that smokers have higher chances of forming cataracts than non-smokers. The toxins from cigarette smoke cause oxidation in cells, including those in the eye lens.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption – Studies have shown that high alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of cataracts. Heavy drinking induces microsomal enzyme cytochrome in the liver. Metabolism of this element produces free radicals which may lead to chunking together of proteins in the eye. This then leads to cataract formation or vision loss.

If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of cataracts, it is important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Cataracts are very treatable and cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the country.

Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright today.

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Reasons to Have LASIK

If you are struggling with vision problems because of a refractive error, LASIK surgery may be the right tool to improve your eyesight. By correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, LASIK can truly change your life.

Here are just a few reasons to have LASIK:

To Offer Convenience – One of the most positive reasons to have LASIK is the convenience of life without glasses and contact lenses. Imagine waking up in the morning and being able to read the clock without first searching for glasses or putting contacts in.

To Ease Discomfort – Glasses and contact lenses cause many people to experience regular discomfort and sometimes even pain. Contacts can dry out the eyes and cause irritation; ill-fitting glasses can cause pain on the bridge of the nose. LASIK reduces and often eliminates many of these discomforts so you can feel better in your daily life.

To Make Traveling Easier – With clearer vision you won’t have to worry about packing bulky bottles of contact solution or an extra pair of glasses. There’s no risk of forgetting, misplacing or breaking your visual aids when you are away from home.

To Further Your Career – People in certain careers, such as first responders or members of our military, require excellent vision and candidates that wear glasses or contact lenses may be turned away. By improving vision, LASIK can help people pursue their occupational dreams and enjoy professional success.

To Save Money in the Long Run – Although the one-time cost of laser vision correction is much higher than a box of contact lenses or a pair of eyeglasses, once you add up the amount of money you spend in just a few years on glasses, frames, contact lenses, solution and routine eye exams, you will realize that LASIK pays for itself over time. As an added benefit, you can use tax-free funds from a flexible spending account or health savings account to pay for all or part of the LASIK cost.

To learn more about the reasons to have LASIK or to find out if LASIK is right for your vision needs, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright.

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Early Signs of Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens that normally occurs due to advancing age. A young, healthy lens is clear and flexible which allows it to focus images onto the retina. But starting around the age of 40, the lens begins to yellow and harden.

Cataracts start small but gradually worsen. Their effects on a person’s vision become more noticeable and debilitating over time as they mature. Eventually, an untreated cataract can cause significant vision loss and even total blindness.

Early signs of cataracts include the following:

  • Blurry, dim or clouded vision (like looking out of a cloudy or streaked window)
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Glare from the sun or lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Colors that look dull or faded
  • Need for brighter light for reading or similar activities
  • Frequently changing glasses prescription

Cataracts do not cause pain, tearing, redness or floaters. At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to more noticeable symptoms.

At first stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, due to the advancements in cataract surgery, a patient may have a cataract lens removed before it reaches an advanced stage. Cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.

If you are experiencing any of the early signs of cataracts, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an appointment in Rapid City today.

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The Basics of LASIK

LASIK is a type of eye surgery that uses a laser to reshape your inner cornea to improve your vision by enabling light to properly focus on the retina. It’s an alternative to traditional eyeglasses and contact lenses and is the most commonly performed eye surgery to correct astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). To help you better understand this popular vision correction method, check out the basics of LASIK:

LASIK is an Innovative Form of Eye Surgery – It uses a laser to reshape the cornea. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis.

LASIK Doesn’t Guarantee Perfect Vision – Most patients have somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision. You should be able to see better than you did before the procedure, but your vision may not be perfect.

You Should Have Realistic Expectations – LASIK eliminates your need for glasses and contact lenses, which means that you save money in the long run. Yet, it doesn’t take care of all problems. You may still have to wear glasses or contacts in the future, especially as you age.

Not Everyone is Eligible for LASIK – While most people have successful surgeries, it may not be right for you. To determine if you’re a qualified candidate for LASIK in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine how healthy your eyes are and review your overall health.

The Cornea Heals Quickly – As a result, many people who have LASIK surgery notice dramatic improvements in their vision almost immediately.

LASIK is an Outpatient Procedure – This means there is no overnight stay in a hospital. The procedure generally takes 10 to 15 minutes for each eye.

To learn more about LASIK in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a visit with Dr. Wright.

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Finding a LASIK Surgeon

If you are considering a vision correction procedure such as LASIK, one of the most important decisions you will make is the choice of a surgeon. But what should you look for when choosing a LASIK surgeon? Here are several qualifications to consider when choosing a LASIK surgeon for your vision correction needs:

Board Certification: Is the surgeon certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology? Experience is vitally important and this form of certification suggests a certain higher level of expertise.

Referrals: Perhaps your optometrist refers you to a LASIK surgeon, or a friend or family member has had a positive experience with someone they recommend. These recommendations from trusted sources are as powerful as it gets.

Experience: Ideally, your LASIK surgeon should have performed at least several thousand successful procedures, but preferably tens of thousands of procedures. This type of experience signifies that they have acquired the techniques and knowledge necessary for safe, effective treatment.

Equipment: Technology is always evolving and improving. If this is important to you, make sure that the practice you choose invests in these new technologies. Leading edge technology improves the safety, predictability and precision of LASIK surgery. Don’t settle for a surgeon that offers outdated technology.

Of course there are other driving factors when it comes to choosing a LASIK surgeon (location, cost, availability), but don’t be so quick to discount some of the factors listed above. Just because one surgeon is conveniently located near your house or is offering the surgery at half the cost of another, perhaps more reputable option, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best choice for you.

The more time and consideration you take with selecting a LASIK surgeon, the happier you’re likely to be with the experience and outcome. To schedule a LASIK consultation with Dr. Wright in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center today by calling 605-718-5123 or visiting wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Understanding LASIK Risks

While LASIK surgery is extremely safe and incredibly effective, as with any surgical procedure, there is still some risk involved. The truth is, LASIK risks are rare and typically mild when they do occur. When LASIK risks do occur, the majority of side effects either go away on their own or are easily fixed through a follow-up procedure.

Potential LASIK surgery risks include:

Eye Infections – Like all surgical procedures, LASIK carries a small risk of infection. However, eye infections following LASIK are rare. If the procedure is performed using sterile lasers throughout, the surgeon can avoid any physical contact with the eye and thus minimize the chance of infection. Patients can also reduce the risk of infection by avoiding swimming pools and facial products for a short period of time following surgery.

Dry Eye – Because LASIK temporarily stops the eye from producing tears, patients may experience dry eyes during the first six months following surgery. This is a relatively common side effect of surgery and may be treated with eye drops. The symptoms include dry, itchy, red eyes. Dry eye can sometimes cause eye pain and the feeling of something in the eye.

LASIK Flap Complications – Problems associated with the flap created in the cornea during the LASIK procedure may affect between 0 and 4% of patients. The effects may be short or long term and, in some instances, a second procedure may be required to alleviate symptoms.

In addition to the LASIK risks outlined above, it is normal to experience some temporary side-effects following the procedure. Patients may experience blurred vision, glare and halos or starbursts around lights during the healing process after LASIK surgery. These symptoms are quite common in the first few weeks and they almost always improve over time as the eye heals.

Interested in learning more about potential LASIK risks? Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule your LASIK consultation in Rapid City today to start your journey to clear vision!

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Eye Exam for LASIK

Before you can safely undergo LASIK vision correction surgery, your eyes need to be examined by a qualified LASIK professional. This exam helps your doctor determine whether or not LASIK surgery is the right vision correction procedure for you.

During an eye exam for LASIK in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will analyze the current state of the patient’s vision, check for irregularities in the eye and evaluate the patient’s candidacy for LASIK surgery using several tests, including:

Corneal Topography Test – One of the first tests that are part of the LASIK eye exam is corneal topography which measures the shape of the corneas. Dr. Wright uses this test to “map” the cornea to gain a full understanding of the patient’s eye. This tool can identify any irregularities that may exclude a patient from undergoing LASIK. In addition, the data collected during this test will be used to guide the excimer laser used to reshape the cornea during the LASIK surgery.

Pachymetry Test – Like the corneal topography test, the pachymetry test is used to gather information about the cornea which will determine a patient’s eligibility for LASIK. This test specifically measures the thickness of the cornea. LASIK candidates will need a certain amount of corneal thickness to be reshaped during the procedure.

Tear Analysis – Dr. Wright will perform tear analysis, measuring tear production and quality during the pre-LASIK eye exam. In many cases, patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome – a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears – experience an increase in the condition as a side effect following LASIK surgery. By analyzing the tears before LASIK, the condition can be identified and treated prior to surgery to ensure quick, complication-free healing.

Medical History – During the eye exam for LASIK, it is important for patients to be candid about their medical history including past vision problems, current medications and diseases such as diabetes. Individuals who have previously suffered eye infections or trauma to the eye may require special accommodations in order for the LASIK procedure to be successful. During this evaluation, patients are encouraged to ask questions about their candidacy for LASIK surgery, as well as bring up any concerns they might have about the procedure.

If you’d like to schedule an eye exam for LASIK, contact Wright Vision Center today by calling 800-833-0234 or visiting wrightvisioncenter.com.

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