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Why you do not need to be afraid of eye surgeries!

How is eye surgery carried out? Are the costs covered by the healthcare insurance company? Learn more about it here.
An eye in detail.

Valuable eyesight

Picture of a wound care on the eye.

Eye surgery

Picture of an eye examination.

Eye examination

Since the visual sense is extremely precious, patients are often hesitant towards eye surgery. However, thanks to modern medical possibilities, the clear majority of all eye surgeries are carried out without any complications. Qualified and experienced personnel provide for security as well.

The eye surgery procedure

There are different surgical procedures to treat eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment, keratoconus or malposition of the eyelid. What are the steps of surgical procedure on the eye?

Preparation:

Before the surgery itself, the patient is advised by a specialist for ophthalmology in an individual consultation. During this consultation, the patient and the specialist decide on either local anesthesia of the eye or general anesthesia. For most patients, local anesthesia is sufficient. In the event of general anesthesia, an anesthetist would be consulted next.

The surgery:

  • If during the surgery, a laser is used to correct defective vision, the LASIK or LASEK method is applied. During LASIK, a flap is created on the surface of the cornea and is folded to the side. The tissue below is then treated with the laser. During LASEK, only the uppermost layer of the cornea is removed. The surgeon chooses the appropriate procedure individually
  • The globally most common eye surgery is the insertion of an artificial lens in patients with cataract. This method is applied when the lens is clouded. The lens affected is reduced to small pieces using ultrasound and then suctioned off the eye. Afterwards, a suitable artificial lens is inserted.
  • At the end of a surgery, an eye bandage or compress is applied to protect the eye from external factors. The advantage of eye compresses is their soft, protective material whilst still allowing air to circulate. Often, the compresses are applied and fixed in front of the eye with a plaster. Self-adhesive eye compresses are lighter and can be custom-fitted, are comfortable to wear and protect the eye against foreign particles. The dressing material that fits the individual patient best should always be recommended by the medical staff.

Follow-up:

After the eye surgery, the patient is advised and looked after by healthcare professionals. Thanks to nowadays medical possibilities, the result is positive in the vast majority of cases. However, there is always a residual risk – as is for all medical interventions on the human body. In these rare cases, the patients will still be advised by the specialists for the best possible follow-up treatment or correction.

Coverage of costs by healthcare insurance companies

Whether and to what extent the eye surgery is covered by the healthcare insurance company varies depending on the individual case and the healthcare insurance company. Laser treatments on the eye which are carried out due to defective vision – myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism – are usually regarded as cosmetic surgeries and the costs are therefore not covered by statutory health insurance. Should the visual acuity be highly restricted, an exception might be made on a case-by-case basis. If medical necessity is confirmed, statutory health insurance covers some of the costs. However; there is no standardized regulation as to when exactly eye surgery is considered necessary. Persons affected should consult their healthcare insurance company to discuss their individual case. Private health insurances are based on contractual agreements. It is specified therein, to what extent the costs are covered. But, still, eye surgery due to cosmetic reasons is not covered.

Since laser treatment is deductible of tax as a ‘surgical procedure’, one’ own expenses can be reduced. But this method does only apply to a part of the expenses. It is therefore advisable to set up a financing plan in advance. In general, every patient should gather in-depth information and take their time to asset costs and benefits of eye surgery.