Premium Cataract Surgery Philadelphia Surgeon – James S. Lewis, MD
Serving Northeast Philadelphia, Phoenixville, Ambler, Abington, Elkins Park, Fort Washington, Glenside and Conshohocken
Our mission is to provide all of our patients with the most advanced pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative technology, services, and results. We recognize that not all patients have the same visual needs, goals or expectations. Choose your strategy and get the most from this life-enriching procedure.
What Are My Options?
- Option 1: Wear Glasses for Distance, Intermediate, and Near
If you are satisfied wearing bifocals or trifocals after cataract surgery read no further.
- Option 2: Choose Premium Cataract Surgery
Contemplate excellent distance, intermediate, and near vision without glasses or contact lenses. Understand the advances in technology that transform conventional cataract surgery into an elective enhancement of visual performance. Consider this singular opportunity to upgrade your quality of life and rejuvenate your eyes.
With over 4.2 million cataract surgeries performed in the US annually Medicare and the other health insurance companies have intentionally limited your treatment options. They will not pay for the correction of astigmatism, ametropia or presbyopia. Astigmatism distorts image focus, ametropia reduces image clarity, and presbyopia blurs intermediate and near objects.
Consequently, standard post-operative cataract patients should expect to depend on bifocals or trifocals to maximize distance, intermediate and near vision.
Even if you had perfect distance vision, perfect near vision, or successful monovision prior to cataract formation you can not expect this to persist after standard cataract surgery.
Fortunately, advances in lens technology and laser corneal sculpting effectively address these limitations. Medicare and the other health insurers recommend patients seeking more from their cataract procedure pay the supplemental costs. Premium Cataract Surgery was developed for patients seeking customized refractive results and enhanced vision
Cataract surgery remains one of the safest and most rewarding experiences for both doctor and patient. This painless outpatient procedure is performed under topical anesthesia with sedation administered by a board certified Anesthesiologist. Intraocular instillation of antibiotics and steroids eliminates the need for pre-op topical medications, minimizes infection risk, and reduces the frequency, quantity, and cost of post-op drops. Surgery requires only minutes and vision returns swiftly. Our complication rate is less than 0.5% which is well below the national average.
Our practice will continue to provide the very best surgical results to all patients regardless of their financial status.
Premium Cataract Surgery
Standard cataract surgery replaces the aging crystalline lens with a single focus implant which lacks astigmatism control and presbyopia management. For those seeking more, consider the options.
We insert an intraocular implant at the conclusion of every cataract procedure. Implants replace the cloudy lens (cataract) which is removed during the surgery. Before the operation patients must chose between a standard and a premium implant. To help with this decision, we will present your medically appropriate options and provide specific recommendations based on your ophthalmic status and visual preferences.
A Premium implant is never covered by health insurance and incurs “out of pocket” costs above and beyond your insurance-specific deductible and co-payments. Financing is available and these expenses qualify for reimbursement through health savings accounts and similar programs. Premium implants are used in between 20 and 70% of cataract surgeries in the US.
These implants, known as spherical monofocals, are included in the cost of cataract surgery. In virtually all cases you should expect to wear glasses for reading, driving, and computer work to achieve the clearest vision. To prevent misunderstandings, please review the following special cases.
- If you select a standard implant and you never needed glasses prior to cataract surgery you should expect to use bifocals or trifocals.
- If you select a standard implant and you are a monovision patient, either naturally or through contact lenses, you should expect to wear bifocals or trifocals.
- If you select a standard implant and you are a LASIK patient and were not dependent on glasses or contact lenses, you too should expect to wear bifocals or trifocals.
Patients who have selected a standard implant can eventually achieve some degree of independence from glasses if they elect post cataract surgery LASIK or contact lenses. Naturally, this will incur additional costs.
Most patients with pre-existing astigmatism or latent astigmatism (>50% of our patients) will benefit from a TORIC implant. TORIC implants make vision clear at a single focal-point. Patients can choose to be less dependent on glasses at distance, intermediate, or near. TORIC implants cost $1750 per eye.
Some patients want minimal dependence on glasses at all distances. These patients benefit from the PanOptix implant. This second generation multifocal is ideal for patients who are highly motivated to significantly reduce their dependence on glasses. Canadian, Australian, South American, Asian and European surgeons have had access to PanOptix for years and they have embraced the technology. Our experience has been excellent with extraordinary patient satisfaction. PanOptix is also effective in patients with astigmatism. The cost of the PanOptix is $3500 per eye.
Light Adjustable Lens
Patient who want uncompromised distance visual clarity without glasses will benefit from the the Light Adjustable Lens (LAL). Our practice is the first in Pennsylvania and one of only 40 across the country entrusted with this breakthrough technology. This implant, years in development, is “fine-tuned” in the office soon after cataract surgery. Patients with previous eye surgery like LASIK or RK and those interested in monovision are also ideal candidates. The introductory cost of this technology is $3500 per eye.
Premium implants are not appropriate for all patients. We will describe your options and provide our recommendation after a detailed consultation and a battery of diagnostic tests.
Point – Counterpoint
- Why aren’t premium implants covered?
Because insurance companies consider it a luxury and not a basic health need. They don’t cover LASIK, conventional contact lenses, or LipiFLow, an FDA-approved treatment for dry eye. Commercial insurance companies are first and foremost a for-profit corporation. Every dollar they don’t spend on you is a dollar they can keep for themselves. Government funded insurance like Medicare is aggressively limiting spending in Ophthalmic surgery to provide general health coverage to a wide swath of patients.
- I’ve always worn glasses…..I don’t need anything fancy.
Improvement in glasses-free visual function improves quality of life.
- I like wearing glasses.
You can still wear glasses. Upgraded IOLs provide greater safety by making you functional without glasses. Furthermore, visual quality improves when the refractive correction is internal (implant) rather than external (glasses).
- I can’t afford it.
Financing is available. Also, the cost of glasses and contact lenses over the decades ahead can be substantial.
- My friend doesn’t wear glasses and she didn’t choose a “premium” lens.
Most patients adjust to their clinical results. Patients with PanOptix or a Toric outperform those without these advanced implants.
- I don’t want problems with glare.
Previous generation multifocal lenses had issues in a small subset of patients. PanOptix is not plagued by debilitating dysphotopsia (glare and haloes) like these earlier designs. Our practice has become a strong proponent of this new implant.