Your Vision After Cataract Surgery
Will You Need to Wear Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses?
Following cataract surgery, a number of options are available to provide you with clear vision. Advanced lens implants may reduce your dependence upon eyeglasses and contact lenses, or you may prefer eyewear. Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma Testing and Treatment are another option for those suffering from vision problems.
To explain, during cataract surgery, your eye doctor will concentrate on two specific issues:
- Resolving cloudy vision caused by cataracts
- Vision problems caused by the lens power and shape of your eye
Private insurance plans and Medicare typically cover the expense of cataract surgery, along with a single-focus intraocular lens implant – in which a clear lens replaces your opaque lens. However, as your eye doctor performs this surgery, you can also opt to have an additional procedure to improve your vision focus. This can eliminate or reduce your need for eyewear.
Ultimately, you and your eye doctor will decide together upon the most appropriate choice for your personal needs. To make the right decision, it is important to be informed how each option will affect your vision. Here are a few case examples to give you a clearer picture of the possibilities:
A true bookworm, Mia is always reading when she is not working in data entry. She has healthy eyes with mild astigmatism and dislikes wearing eyeglasses. She was just diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes. After cataract surgery, Mia would be very pleased to reduce her dependence upon eyeglasses.
A perfect choice for Mia would be multifocal contact lenses, which enable near and far focus without any cumbersome eyeglasses.
Another option would be a procedure described as a “corneal relaxing incision”. During her cataract surgery, Mia’s eye doctor would make an additional incision in the cornea to reshape it.
Ethan is an avid outdoorsman who has mild astigmatism in both eyes and wears eyeglasses for sharp vision. Recently, he was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes. He is not bothered by wearing glasses for reading or close tasks, yet he would love to bike, swim and jog without his prescription glasses.
An ideal vision correction for Ethan would be an intraocular lens implant that resolves astigmatism. Called a toric lens, this implant can focus his distance vision and thereby reduce the need for eyeglasses when engaging in outdoor physical activities. Most likely, he will still need reading glasses to see fine print and the computer screen, as a toric lens does not help with both near and distant vision.
Matthew was never a fan of reading glasses. Therefore, for over 15 years, he has worn monovision contact lenses successfully to provide distance for presbyopia. Monovision lenses correct one eye for distance and one eye for near vision. After his cataract surgery, he would like to continue wearing monovision contacts. However, this is not his only option.
Multifocal lenses can be implanted in both of Matthew’s eyes, thereby giving a sharp focus for both near and distance in both eyes. Alternatively, his eye doctor can implant one lens for distance and one for near – following the monovision method. The best candidates for this option are generally patients who are accustomed to wearing monovision lenses, such as Matthew. The final choice is a personal one, based on his preferences.
Jerry has worn eyeglasses since he was a young child, and he is the proud owner of many stylish frames. In addition to providing clear eyesight, Jerry’s eyeglasses function as his trademark fashion accessory.
After cataract surgery, he is a good candidate for basic single focus lens implants. These implants will improve Jerry’s visual acuity without eyeglasses, yet he will still need eyewear to focus well on both distance and near tasks. This option is a great match for his personal preferences.
The type of vision correction you choose after your cataract surgery depends on your ocular condition, individual lifestyle preferences and the professional recommendation of your eye doctor. Quality vision is the objective of every cataract procedure, and there is more than one way to reach this goal!
“I wish I would have done it sooner, I am seeing things I haven’t seen in years. After the first eye was done I couldn’t wait for the other eye to be done.”
Is Cataract Surgery Right for Me?
Let’s start with the good news. Having cataracts does not mean that you need to have surgery right away, or ever – for that matter. If you do elect to have the surgery, the cataracts can be safely removed. Well over 90% of those who have had cataract surgery regain very good vision (in the range between 20/20 and 20/40 vision) and return to the quality of life and the healthy vision they had before the onset of cataracts.
What are Cataracts?
Cataracts is a common eye disease that comes on gradually and results in the clouding of the eye’s lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. You may experience common symptoms such as an increase in glare, seeing halos around lights and an overall decreased level of vision.
How do I know if I have Cataracts?
The first step is to see your optometrist and undergo a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, your eye doctor will ask you a lot of questions and perform a series of diagnostic tests. The advanced technology used during the exam includes the use of a slit lamp microscope, a high-intensity light source that shines a thin sheet of light onto the eye.
If I have Cataracts….what next?
After consultation with your eye doctor, and depending on the degree to which cataracts affect your vision, you may elect to:
- Forego surgery and take advantage of a wide variety of alternative optical aids such as new glasses, bifocals, magnification lenses anti-glare sunglasses or other visual aids.
- Monitor cataracts until or if your vision deteriorates to the extent that it affects your everyday life (i.e., driving, watching TV, or during sports).
- Undergo cataracts surgery after being fully informed by your optometrist of the benefits, risks and potential complications. Did you know that cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the U.S. today, with more than 3 million such surgeries performed every year? The surgery is performed by an eye surgeon, and is done on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. In the surgery, your clouded lens is replaced with new, clear, synthetic lens.
If you are over 60, or if you experience any of the symptoms raised above, request an appointment with Dr George Johnson today.
What Happens After Cataract Surgery?
Co-Management of Cataract Surgery
After you cataract surgery is completed by an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), your local optometrist will provide follow-up care. This post-surgery care starts the day after the surgery and usually lasts for a period between one and three months. The second examination will usually be one week later.
Your optometrist will monitor the patient, addressing any complications arising out of the surgery, and consult with the surgeon as needed. Your medications will also be monitored.
After approximately three to four weeks, when most of the healing has taken place, the optometrist will check the patient’s eye health, and also examine their vision to see if a distance prescription is needed. After cataract surgery, patients may experience discomfort or dryness, and your optometrist may apply artificial tears to increase moisture in the eye.
Overall, over 90% of cataract operations are successful in restoring everyday normal vision, with a low complication rate.
Tips to Reduce Recovery Time After Cataract Surgery
In most cases, patients will return to normal everyday life after Cataract Surgery. However, it does not happen right away, and there will be an adjustment period (usually varying from a few days to a month), as the brain learns to adjust to the new synthetic lens that has replaced the old one.
Here are some things you can do to minimize the recovery time:
- Avoid itching or rubbing your eye to address the mild discomfort you will likely feel in the first few days after surgery.
- Your eye doctor may ask you to wear an eye patch for several days after surgery. Doing this will both protect your eye and speed up the recovery time.
- Most patients will require glasses with an interim prescription for the first one to three months.
- Avoid heavy lifting or bending over, so as not to put extra pressure on the eye.
- Avoid swimming during the first week.
- The type of vision correction you choose after your cataract surgery depends upon your ocular condition, individual lifestyle preferences and the professional recommendation of your eye doctor. Quality vision is the objective of every cataract procedure, and there is more than one way to reach this goal!
Advanced Eye Care Center
Phoenix, AZ 85053
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