Will you need glasses after cataract surgery?
What is cataract surgery?
A cataract occurs when the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy. It can be caused by ageing (most common), trauma, illness or is congenital (from birth). Cataract surgery, one of the most frequently performed surgeries in the world, is the only effective treatment of cataract.
Modern-day cataract surgery is done through a small 2 to 3mm incision on the cornea with the cloudy lens broken down into smaller pieces through phacoemulsification (using ultrasonic energy) before being removed from the eye. An intraocular lens (IOL) is then inserted into the eye to replace the natural lens.
What is normal after cataract surgery?
Mild blurring of vision is expected immediately after surgery, although most people reported clear vision in several hours or the next day. There may also be mild redness and tearing during the initial hours.
What is recovery like?
Most people can regain about 75% of the vision the very next day though the vision will fully stabilise at 3 months. Most can resume work 1 week after surgery. During this time, it is advised to rest the eyes and refrain from visually demanding activities such as prolonged use of electronic devices, reading and watching television. You also to avoid getting water into the eyes. Medicated eyedrops are to be used for at least 1 month to reduce post-op inflammation.
Do I need glasses after cataract surgery?
The need for glasses after cataract surgery depends on a few factors including:
- Type of intraocular lens implanted
- Your recovery
- Your visual needs (occupation and hobbies)
Type of intraocular lens implanted
There are different types of IOLs, but broadly, they can be categorised into monofocal and multifocal IOLs. The monofocal IOL allows one focusing distance with most people opting to see well for far distance, and to use reading glasses for near tasks. The multifocal IOL, allows 2 zones of good vision after surgery – far and near. It does not return the vision to when we were young, whereby the vision is good at all distances.
Your visual needs (occupation and hobbies)
The decision to go for the monofocal or multifocal IOL is dependent on one’s occupation, hobbies and expectations. People who work as pilot, taxi driver (who drives long hours at night) or in dimly lit environment, may be discouraged to opt for the multifocal IOL due to some of its characteristics:
- There must be sufficient lighting to be able to read
- You will see haloes around point sources of light at night. This does not make one blind at night. It does however change the night vision experience, which most people are able to get used to.