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Thank you everyone for your comments; they're helpful and I appreciate them all. Everyone feel free to weigh in.

But you may also want to ask about the quality of your health insurance coverage.

My husband is an employee of the state of South Carolina--it is what it is. If we could qualify for individual insurance (big IF), I expect it would be unaffordable at age 63; i.e., paying out of pocket for cataracts would be cheaper!

I believe vkg mentioned doing one eye--that was my plan when I walked out of the doctor's office. I scheduled it for my husband's Christmas break--I prefer to have him accompany me, and the doc only does these surgeries on a bad day of the week for DH's teaching schedule. I have cataracts in the other eye as well, but not as bad a type or as extensive an area.

Another financial factor: should I postpone to 2013 when DH is retiring and our income will be less? Doing both means the possibility of having enough medical expenses to actually have a tax deduction (we have few mortgage, no children at home or education expenses, no self-employment). I have to repeat the pre-surgery eye exam anyway as my eyes are dry and they need to be well moisturized for several days for best accuracy.

What if I postpone the surgery and have a car accident. Could I be found negligent for not fixing a cataract? And if fixing a cataract is so necessary, why isn't it properly covered by health insurance?! Well, according to the opthalmologist's office, the removal of the cataract IS covered, but most of the cost is the semi-fancy lens replacement.

Someone suggested the poly-distance lens, but apparently I'm not a good candidate for it based on my test results, even though my vision is bad at all distances. I don;t hate wearing glasses, so not an issue for me (I just hate the expense of buying glasses!).

=alstro, becoming more of a tightwad as retirement looms...will it work as well in real life as on paper? stay tuned!
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