Cataract Surgery, Part 2

There is another type of surgery called refractive lens exchange. It’s the same as cataract surgery, but it’s performed before the lens is cloudy.

Joel Hunter, MD
Joel Hunter, MD
Refractive Surgeon, Hunter Vision Updated 05/19/17 11:09 AM

Welcome back for the continuation of Cataract Surgery, Part 1. I promise this is headed somewhere good.

There is another type of surgery called clear lens exchange (or refractive lensectomy or natural lens replacement or refractive lens exchange) that is the exact same procedure as cataract surgery, except it’s performed before the lens is cloudy and obstructing the vision. The reason people do this is so that they can be free of glasses and contacts even if they are (a) not a good LASIK candidate (b) very close to developing cataracts over the next few years. The other difference between this refractive lens exchange and cataract surgery is pretty significant. Insurance covers cataract surgery. It does not cover the elective clear lens surgery.

We did this clear lens exchange at Hunter Vision for a few months when we opened. We never accepted insurance so it was the only lens surgery that we could do. All of the patients did wonderfully and are happy, but I gave it up to focus on just LASIK because some simple math made it pretty clear that as long as we weren’t accepting insurance we could help a lot more people with LASIK than we could with clear lens exchange.

At some point over the last few years, I got tired of sending people with cataracts away to other doctors because we don’t accept insurance. “Why am I doing this?” I thought. The original plan was to stay away from the headache that is health insurance (mainly because I didn’t want people to have a bad experience because of an unpleasant insurance company we couldn’t control), but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we could figure it out. We have learned over the years that making people super happy is much more about loving them and working with them, rather than avoiding problems altogether. As Josh and I talked over all this, a momentous decision became a lot easier to make.

Hunter Vision is going to start accepting insurance.

We realize that sentence means that there is going to be a lot more work on our side (did you know there are whole departments in doctors’ offices that just deal with filling out insurance paperwork? My lands, it is really something), but we also realize that there is going to be a lot of joy for a lot of people on the other side of that work. I went from annoyed with having to relearn insurance coding, to completely freed and elated over a couple of days, because I realize how great it is going to be to help people with cataracts see again.

Long story, slightly shorter, we’re going to start accepting insurance at Hunter Vision because we want to help the people with cataracts that we can’t help right now. And we figured, “If we can love people the way Jesus would as they walk through an insurance-free process like LASIK, then how much more of a chance will there be to show care for folks as we become an insurance provider?” My guess is, the room for improvement in people’s experience with insurance and their providers is oftentimes pretty great. We’re really looking forward to providing care for those folks.

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