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Glasses After Cataract Surgery

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Cataract surgery involves replacing a lens, most often clouded by age, with a synthetic version. Worldwide, millions of people have cataracts. Surgery solves the problem, and many people see better than ever after the procedure.

During cataract surgery, you choose the lens replacement type. Most people choose a monofocal lens (for distance) and will need reading glasses for close work.

Some newer lens options may reduce the need for glasses. They may be a good option, depending on your lifestyle.

Will I Need Glasses After Cataract Surgery?

Researchers say 30% to 50% of people who had cataract surgery need glasses after cataract surgery. Whether you’ll be one of them is based on several factors. 

Cataracts can happen to everyone, but they’re most common among people who spend a lot of time in the sun. Eyes cloud slowly, resulting in vision that seems blurry or yellowed. Cataract surgery is the only solution, and it involves replacing the clouded lens with an intraocular lens (IOL)

If you had a pre-existing refractive error (like myopia), that can influence your need for glasses later. Other factors include the overall health of your eyes and your visual needs.

Advances in laser-assisted cataract surgery and IOLs can mean customized surgeries that reduce your reliance on glasses after the procedure.

Intraocular Lens Options

The type of artificial lens implanted into your eye can impact your need to continue wearing glasses. 

Monofocal IOLs, which are most commonly used in cataract surgery, are used to set your best uncorrected vision at a single focal point. This means people who get a monofocal IOL for distance vision will still need reading glasses for close activities, and vice versa.

There are other intraocular lens options. Here’s a look at how they all compare:

Intraocular Lens TypeDescriptionCorrection Focus
Monofocal IOLsMost commonly used in cataract surgery. Set uncorrected vision at a single focal point.Single focus – distance or near vision (not both)
MultifocalCorrects for distance, intermediate, and near vision.Multiple focuses – distance, intermediate, and near vision
ToricSpecifically corrects astigmatism blurriness.Astigmatism
AccommodativeCorrects various vision issues, including age-related farsightedness.Varied vision issues
Extended depth of focusCan treat various age-related vision issues.Varied vision issues
Light-adjustable lens (LAL)Allows you and your doctor to refine your vision after cataract surgery for a customized amount or distance.Customizable focus – distance or near vision

How Will I Know if I Need New Glasses After Cataract Surgery?

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Your doctor will examine your eyes carefully before surgery, and after that exam, you may have a good idea about whether you’ll still need glasses after cataract surgery

If you wore glasses before surgery, have underlying eye health issues (like glaucoma), or are experiencing age-related sight changes, you may need glasses after cataract surgery. That’s especially true if you don’t choose advanced lenses that can correct these problems. 

You may need glasses after surgery if you can’t see clearly when your eyes have healed. A standard visual acuity test can help you understand the prescription you need. But symptoms can include the following:

  • Blurry distant vision
  • Blurry close vision
  • Headaches due to eye strain

What Kind of Glasses Will I Need?

The type of glasses you’ll need will depend on your vision issues and the lens implanted during your cataract surgery. After a visual acuity test, you’ll know just what sort of correction is required. 

Even if you don’t need glasses to help you see clearly, you will need sunglasses after cataract surgery. Lenses can protect your eyes from UV damage.

If you don’t want to wear glasses after cataract surgery, talk with your NVISION Eye Center provider. Discuss procedures that can lower the risk of wearing glasses when the procedure is done.

Glasses After Cataract Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

How soon after cataract surgery should you get new glasses?

It depends. Some people heal quickly and get fitted for new glasses within weeks. Some people need longer for surgery-associated swelling to fade.

Can you wear your regular prescription glasses after cataract surgery?

Typically, the prescription you had before cataract surgery won’t be right after the procedure is complete. You’ll need a new prescription.

What if my two eyes have different prescriptions?

Your eye doctor can select lenses for the prescription you need. This shouldn’t be cause for concern.

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