Friday, April 19, 2024

Can Your Vision Change Years After Cataract Surgery

Vision Imbalance After Cataract Surgery

Vision After Cataract Surgery / What’s Next? – Eye Doctor Explains

Did you know that, if an individual needs cataract surgery in both eyes, the procedure is typically scheduled on two separate days? Ophthalmologists perform cataract surgery days or weeks apart so that a patients eyes have time to stabilize after each procedure. It is common for individuals to experience blurred vision immediately after cataract surgery, but this typically subsides within a few days.

Once the eye has healed but before the second procedure has taken place, patients may experience vision imbalance, also known as anisometropia. This is the result of one eye having been operated on and the other still having cataracts. Anisometropia can cause imbalance, double vision, and difficulty with depth perception.

Whether or not you are experiencing vision imbalance after cataract surgery, it is best to take it easy the first few days after your procedure. Allowing your eyes to rest may reduce the amount of vision imbalance you experience, and it will make your overall recovery much smoother. If you are still experiencing vision imbalance after a few days post-surgery, try seeing if any of your glasses provide relief. Alternatively, you could purchase a cheap pair of reading glasses from the drugstore. While a pair of these glasses arent likely to eliminate the imbalance altogether, they may lessen your symptoms. Furthermore, individuals who wear contacts may see if wearing a contact in the eye that wasnt operated on helps.

My First Thoughts After Surgery

Because of the medication I had been given, I don’t remember being in the recovery area for the obligatory 10 to 15 minutes. But my memory vividly restarts at the point where I was sitting in the chair in the discharge area.

From the discharge area, I could see the holding and recovery areas. Through my right eye, these areas were definitely bright. With my left eye closed, I could see everyone walking around and I easily could recognize them.

Distant images were still blurry. Unfortunately, I decided to look down at my identification wrist band and noticed that the “Charles Slonim” name was crystal clear.

“Oh @$#%& ,” I thought. “Now I’m myopic ! I have the wrong implant power. Someone made a mistake!”

I was agitated. I did not want to be myopic after cataract surgery. I had been emmetropic my entire life. I wondered whether I should say something now, or just wait. I was a doctor myself, after all, and I had to get this straightened out.

Would I need another procedure? I hoped not.

I tried to recall everything I could about clear corneal cataract surgery, the type of procedure I had undergone. I reminded myself that corneal edema or swelling typically induces a myopic shift until it resolves.

I decided I would wait to say anything, although on the way home I continued to fret about the possibility of a less than optimum visual outcome. But on the positive side, and while I was busy second-guessing my surgeon, I did notice the color contrasts in the distance were amazing.

Will My Vision Be 20/20 After My Cataract Surgery

Getting better eyesight after years of needing glasses or contacts, followed by years of struggling with the cloudy vision the cataract caused, is the remarkable fringe benefit of modern cataract surgery.

However, achieving perfect 20/20 vision after cataract surgery is not a guarantee. Some patients may still need corrective eyewear to see clearly after their procedure. That said, your eye surgeon can provide options that can result in the crisp vision you deserve after cataract surgery.

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With So Many Different Kinds Of Iols Which One Is Best For Me

Your cataract surgeon is in the best position to make this decision. The patients input regarding preference for near or distance focus is important. However, there are many other factors to consider. These include individual risk factors and the health of the other structures inside the eye.

All of the IOL materials and designs that have been FDA approved have passed a rigorous and long-term test of optical quality, efficacy, and safety. Current IOL manufacturing is of the highest possible standard with strict quality control. The overall results are excellent with all of the IOLs currently in use in North America today. The intraocular lens is one of the most important technological advances to ever evolve not only from ophthalmology, but also from all of medicine. Cataract patients are the winners!

Treating Cloudy Vision After Cataract Surgery

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Treatment for a secondary cataract is quick and painless.3 It is done in a procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy, and it is typically covered by insurance, including Medicare.5

At Gulfcoast Eye Care, Dr. Michael Manning uses a laser beam to make a small opening in the membrane that has the opaque film, in order to let light through. The procedure usually takes less than five minutes. You may see an improvement in your vision right away, or it may take a few days.2,3 The most common short-term side effect after this treatment includes noticing more floaters in ones vision.

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Getting Out Of Glasses With Cataract Surgery

Many people go into cataract surgery requiring glasses and come out of it being able to see without correction!

For many, cataract surgery sharpens up the ability to see off in the distance. But reading glasses will still be required to see up close. The distance vision becomes exceptionally sharp if astigmatism is also corrected at the time of cataract surgery with lasers or with special premium toric lenses .

However there are two ways cataract surgery can be used to get out of glasses for mostly everything .

  • Monovision . With this technique, one eye is corrected during cataract surgery to sharpen up the distance vision. This eye by itself wont be able to see up close, so the other eye is corrected for computer and reading vision. Between both eyes, the full range of vision is covered. Typically it may take a month or more to fully adjust to monovision.
  • Premium or lifestyle artificial lenses such as trifocal lenses. Instead of having the eyes perform separate tasks, a special lens is used which allows for each eye to see the full range of vision. These particular lenses work best for healthy eyes and do come with some night-time vision symptoms to adjust to over time.

These two methods both have their pros and their cons. Ultimately the preferred approach is tailored to each persons visual needs and demands. A discussion with your cataract surgeon will determine the optimal way to correct your vision the best after cataract surgery.

What Are The Side Effects Of Cataract Operation

The most common side effect is clearer vision. Since cataracts block light, when they are removed the eye will detect more light and could feel more sensitive. There may be reduced pressure in the eye, as well. You may notice more floaters and there could be a dark crescent shape in the peripheral view, but the crescent shape usually goes away on its own in a few months.

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Limitations Of The Artificial Lens

The natural lens inside the eye is responsible for approximately one third of the prescription of your eye. After this lens is removed, it must be replaced with an artificial lens to continue to fulfill this role.

Artificial lens used in cataract surgery image by Frank C. Müller, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are 3 main types of artificial lenses used during cataract surgery

  • Standard or basic lenses
  • Toric or astigmatism correcting lenses
  • Premium, lifestyle or multifocal lenses

Standard lenses are only capable of correcting vision at one focus. Typically after cataract surgery, a power of this lens is selected to optimize distance vision. What this means is that this lens will ONLY focus for distance vision. Your vision will be blurry when trying to read up close. Reading glasses will correct this up close vision. Also check out What Is The Best Reading Glasses Prescription After Cataract Surgery?

In addition standard lenses will NOT correct astigmatism. Any astigmatism you have remaining after cataract surgery will blur vision. Prescription glasses will correct this remaining astigmatism to sharpen up vision.

Toric lenses are an upgrade from standard lenses. These lenses function like standard lenses EXEPT they can correct astigmatism. Thus, when these lenses are optimized for distance vision, you will have sharp distance vision but you will still need reading glasses to see up close.

What Happens To The Eye When You Have Cataracts

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Cataracts may be a natural part of the aging process, but that doesnt make them any easier to live with. When you have a cataract, it means that the natural lens of the eye has clouded over.

This happens because proteins in the eye start to break down and eventually clump together. As these proteins clump together, they make it harder and harder to see.

This is why you experience vision problems like blurry vision, double vision, glare, light sensitivity, and loss of contrast. At first, you might not notice that you have a cataract since they can take years to fully develop. Cataract removal is only recommended once your cataract starts to impact your way of life.

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When Will My Vision Clear After Cataract Surgery

I would say that the most common questions asked after cataract surgery are:

  • What causes blurred vision after cataract surgery?
  • What can I expect after cataract surgery?
  • How long does it take for vision to clear after cataract surgery?

In this blog post, Ill try to answer these and other related questions as best I can.

Blurred vision after cataract surgery or blurry vision after cataract surgery are to be expected for at least the first day or two. Typically, your vision gets better for several weeks due to a number of factors. The factors affecting visual recovery after cataract surgery to name a few are:

  • Your age: generally a healthy 60-year-old will recover more quickly than a healthy 95-year-old.
  • Density of your cataract: a very soft mild cataract is easier to remove than a very dense cataract that has gone neglected for many years. Therefore, the swelling of your cornea
  • General health: someone with diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, poor nutrition, alcoholism will all have a more difficult time with cataract surgery.

What Causes A Cataract

The lens of your eye is mostly water and proteins. As proteins break down over time, they hang around in your eye. These lingering proteins can make your lens cloudy, so its hard to see clearly. This is a typical though unpleasant part of aging.

Some things can speed up the formation of cataracts, such as:

  • Eye surgery or eye injuries.
  • Radiation treatment to your upper body.
  • Spending a lot of time in the sun without eye protection, like sunglasses.

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Discomfort/feeling That Something Is In The Eye

Many people complain that they feel like there is sand in the eye or that the eye feels scratchy after surgery. This is a normal sensation caused by the small incision in your eye, and it should heal within a week or so. If you have dry eye, the discomfort may last longerup to three months. Some cataract patients require a stitch or suture in the eye during surgery. This shouldnt bother you, but occasionally the suture needs to be removed after surgery.

What If My Vision Gets Cloudy After Surgery


Sometimes after cataract surgery, you may find that things start to look cloudy again. It happens because a lens capsule — the part of your eye that holds your new artificial lens in place — begins to thicken up.

You may hear your doctor call this by its medical name: posterior capsule opacification. The problem may not show up right away. You may notice it months or years later.

Your doctor may suggest a procedure called a YAG laser to fix it. This surgery takes a few minutes and is painless. A surgeon uses a laser to open up the thickening around the lens capsule and let more light get through your artificial lens. That will clear up your cloudy vision.

Show Sources

American Academy of Ophthalmology: “When Is the Right Time to Have Cataract Surgery?” “Cataract Surgery,” “What Is Macular Degeneration?” “How Soon Can YAG Be Done After Cataract Surgery?”

Mayo Clinic: “Cataract Surgery: What You Can Expect.”

Digital Journal of Ophthalmology: “The Risks and Benefits of Cataract Surgery.”

American Foundation for the Blind/VisionAware: “Our Readers Want To Know: When Should I Have Cataract Surgery?” “What are the Risks of Cataract Surgery?”

National Eye Institute: “Facts About Cataract.”

American Optometric Association: “Cataract Surgery.”

Vision Australia: “Cataracts.”

British Medical Journal: “Cataracts: Should I Have Surgery?”

Royal National Institute of Blind People: “Posterior capsule opacification — why laser treatment is sometimes needed following cataract surgery.”

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What Are Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the eyes natural lens. Its not unlike looking through a pair of clear eyeglasses that have fogged over or accumulated a lot of dirt and oil on the surface. Cataracts, in other words, obscure your vision.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Difficulty seeing at night or needing more light to read
  • Seeing colors as dull or having a yellow tint

There are three types of cataracts: posterior subcapsular, nuclear sclerotic, and cortical. Each has a different set of causes and affects different parts of the eyes lens.

Each type also affects visionand reduction in visionin different ways, some more gradual than others. However, when it comes time to replace the lens, in all cases, the entire lens is removed.

What Does It Mean

Cataracts in most cases happen as part of the aging process, commonly in people aged above 55 years old. Its usually a clouding of the clear lens of the eye. In case you develop a cataract, light may not be able to directly pass through the eye lens to the retina. Depending on the location and the size of the cataract, it can interfere with your normal vision resulting in a blurred vision. Cataracts in most cases develop in both eyes however, one eye might have a worse vision than the other.

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Does The Multifocal Iol Take The Place Of Eyeglasses

The multifocal IOL is a special situation with its own pros and cons. Although a number of these patients do not seem to need spectacles, the majority will use still wear spectacles part time particularly for reading. Some still require spectacles most of the time. However, compared to patients with conventional monofocal IOLs, those with multifocal IOLs usually perform significantly better at near without glasses .

How Soon Will My Vision Improve After Surgery

What Happens To Your Vision After Cataract Surgery?

You may have some blurriness for a few days after cataract removal. But you should notice improved vision within the first several weeks. Nine out of 10 people see better after cataract removal.

You still may need to wear glasses or contacts after cataract surgery. Your prescription may change, so be prepared to buy a new pair of eyeglasses or contacts. If youve had laser vision repair , you may need to repeat it or wear glasses or contacts after cataract removal.

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Why Do Some People Need Glasses After Cataract Surgery

Posted on July 20, 2016

Years ago if you had cataract surgery, the natural cloudy lens was removed and there was nothing to replace it. People had to wear very thick eyeglasses or special contact lenses to be able to see clearly after cataract surgery. Now, we have a replacement for the eyes natural lenses called intraocular lenses . There are several types of lens implants available to help reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses.

Can Cataracts Be Prevented

Developing cataracts is a typical part of aging. You can take a few steps to protect your eye health and slow the process:

  • Wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim to keep sun out of your eyes.
  • Get regular eye care. Have your eyes dilated once every two years after age 60. Surgery may be easier if you get treated sooner.

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How Long Does It Take For Your Vision To Clear Up After Cataract Surgery

Many patients who go into cataract surgery for the first time are nervous. Among other anxieties, they wonder how long does it take for their vision to clear up after cataract surgery.

Yes, someones vision will seem very clear following the surgery. This is because its so much better once the clouded natural lens of the eye has been replaced by a clear synthetic lens. The best vision probably wont show up for a while, though.

This article will discuss what cataract surgery accomplishes for most patients and how long complete vision restoration takes.

What Is Vision Like Before Cataract Surgery

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Cataracts cause more than blurry vision. There is actually a wide variety of symptoms caused by cataracts:

  • Glare and / or difficulty driving at night
  • Poor ability to see contrast, such as in a dark or dimly lit environment
  • Change in perception of colors
  • Change in the glasses prescription of the eye

Of course, the most common symptom that people have is blurry vision. Cataracts are a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. As this lens gets cloudy, light has a harder time passing through. Because we use light to see things, this cloudiness makes things more blurry. Details become much harder to make out.

This cloudiness also impairs are ability to see things in low light environments. Cataracts block light and individuals with cataracts often find they need to shine more light on objects to see them.

Blurriness from cataracts image by Dan Morris on Unsplash / modified from original

But blurry vision isnt the only symptom people notice. There are types of cataracts that cause a very high amount of scatter of light especially when lights are shining in the eye. This causes lots of difficulty with glare and this makes it more difficult to see at night. Subsequently, driving at night is often the first activity which is given up once cataracts start to develop.

Glare at night image by Ludwig Sebastian Micheler, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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