Cataract surgery decisions

Spun Silver

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11,805
So, I barely passed the vision test for my driver's license in my new state. Wake up call. I now have cataract surgery scheduled for late January. The doctor tells me I need to decide whether I want that eye corrected for closeup or long-distance vision. He says most people go for long-distance because "they like to see what's going on when they walk into a room." He says I'll need to wear a contact lens in the other eye to even things up as that eye won't be able to blend with the corrected eye. Apparently glasses won't work for reasons I didn't quite grasp.

I'm a bit torn. Do I go with the majority and correct for long distance? Or go with my gut and correct for closeup vision? There are so many things I depend on my (very near-sighted) *naked* eyes for now, from removing splinters and threading needles to reading and making jewelry. I'm rather anxious about depending only on corrected vision in both eyes as corrected vision has worked less and less well for me in recent years.

On the other hand, I need to drive too, and I gather cataract surgery is a bit different from other types of vision correction.

I'm just starting to research how it works but thought I'd consult with the all-knowing FS universe.
 

Vash01

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If you read a lot and do a lot of things close to you - like those you mentioned- it would make sense to keep you near sighted. If you drive a lot but not at a professional level (ex: taxi driver, which you are not :) ) perhaps you are better off just wearing glasses for driving. I know some people wear bifocals. I don’t remember what my mother chose when she had cataract surgery, but she used to read and write a lot, so I am guessing that she chose near sighted. May be your ophthalmologist has some recommendations since he/she knows your eyes well?

In most cases (not just this) I feel that going with your gut is usually right, but it is good that you are gathering information before deciding.
 
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FGRSK8

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I had cataract surgery a year ago. My lens not only corrrected to seeing long distances but also for my astigmatisms.

I do not need glasses to drive but I have a pair of readers for reading and close work.

Completely happy with the results....
 

Aceon6

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From what I learned doing my research, the odds of getting a good correction for distance are very high. Near vision, not so much. The reason is that they have to choose a lens for a specific distance. For example, they might correct you perfectly for computer distance, but it will fall short for reading, cooking, putting on makeup, etc.

I’d go with a tried and true distance lens and use readers as needed. FWIW, I have a near perfect distance correction in my left eye, but still use multi focal glasses.
 

Spun Silver

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Thanks for the input! It helps a lot. 👍 Some followup questions:

If I go with the tried and true long distance, will I be able to use my other naked eye for closeup work or will the corrected eye screw that up?

Do they make one eyed readers? Will I have to get prescription readers?
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
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This is something that had always terrified me. Are you going to get laser surgery? I did after I watched the video. I have to say, it corrected for the astigmatism, and my vision is so good, that I only need my glasses for reading small things.

Good luck.
 

Aceon6

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Thanks for the input! It helps a lot. 👍 Some followup questions:

If I go with the tried and true long distance, will I be able to use my other naked eye for closeup work or will the corrected eye screw that up?

Do they make one eyed readers? Will I have to get prescription readers?
I only had one eye done, but I already needed low power readers, so I didn’t have the option of trying to let my unoperated eye do more work. My ophthalmologist advised waiting 6 months before a final decision on glasses/contacts so I had the left lens of an old pair of glasses replaced with reader only while I waited. That cost about $40 if I remember correctly. At 6 months, I had a comprehensive exam and got a new script.
 

Spun Silver

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This is something that had always terrified me. Are you going to get laser surgery? I did after I watched the video. I have to say, it corrected for the astigmatism, and my vision is so good, that I only need my glasses for reading small things.

Good luck.
I forgot to ask how the surgery is done 😐 so I don't know if it's laser surgery. Probably. It's not Lasix though (getting rid of nearsightedness) - I have never had the nerve for that. I'm glad it turned out well for you! Do you use readers or prescription glasses for reading small print?

My surgery is cataract removal and replacement of the eye's lens. It's fairly commonplace and low-risk, but not no-risk, so I appreciate the good wishes. :)
 

Aceon6

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I forgot to ask how the surgery is done 😐 so I don't know if it's laser surgery. Probably. It's not Lasix though (getting rid of nearsightedness) - I have never had the nerve for that. I'm glad it turned out well for you! Do you use readers or prescription glasses for reading small print?

My surgery is cataract removal and replacement of the eye's lens. It's fairly commonplace and low-risk, but not no-risk, so I appreciate the good wishes. :)
The procedure is called phacoemulsification. There’s no laser involved in the typical procedure. Once the cataract is gone, they slide the lens in. You should be able to see clearly in 24 hours. You might see flashes of light while the brain gets used to the new lens. That feeling goes away fairly quickly.
 

JasperBoy

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Are you only having surgery on one eye? They usually do both, about 6 weeks apart.
I had both eyes done 10 years ago, corrected for distance and astigmatism. I used readers for close work but now have progressives as well. I am still delighted with the outcome.

This Fall my husband had both eyes done. He hates to have his eyes touched and also has macular degeneration. His surgery went perfectly and he had correction for distance. A month after his second eye was done he got new prescription glasses but uses readers for close work. Like me, he is very happy with the outcome.

Go for it! You won't believe the difference it will make to your life.
 

Spun Silver

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Thank you for the encouragement! Glad yours and your husband's both came out so well. Just one eye for me for now - I hope, but that decision is a few months away.
 

Spun Silver

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I had cataract surgery a year ago. My lens not only corrrected to seeing long distances but also for my astigmatisms.

I do not need glasses to drive but I have a pair of readers for reading and close work.

Completely happy with the results....

Sounds great. Thank you!
 

Japanfan

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I'm a bit torn. Do I go with the majority and correct for long distance? Or go with my gut and correct for closeup vision? There are so many things I depend on my (very near-sighted) *naked* eyes for now, from removing splinters and threading needles to reading and making jewelry. I'm rather anxious about depending only on corrected vision in both eyes as corrected vision has worked less and less well for me in recent years.

Spun Silver, I'd go with the type of vision that is most important to you.

And what about eye-glasses? You can get them for both reading and distance.

I guess people prefer to not wear eyeglasses these days? I've been wearing eye-glasses since I was five so I don't even think of it - in fact, I have always been cool with being bespectacled. I am cross-eyed in one eye and also far-sighted. In recent years, I've had to get a separate pair of glasses for reading and distance (i.e. driving).

I think I may need a new prescription because I couldn't clearly read the scores on the jumble-tron (or whatever it is called) at GFP.

One thing I've learned: prescriptions for the eyes are not always an exact science.
 

paskatefan

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Spun Silver, I had it done a year & a half ago. I went for restoring my distance vision (as the cataracts developed, I ended up needing distance glasses for about a year & a half), and am totally thrilled with the results. I no longer need the distance glasses for driving/watching TV, etc. I still have prescription readers (which I've had since I was 8 years old), and I keep extra reading glasses (the drugstore kind) in each room of the house & in my handbags, so I always have them when I need them. The procedure was painless - I didn't feel a thing! Go for the vision correction that suits your needs the most, and all the best to you!
 

Lizziebeth

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I have had monovision since 2000 when I had lasik. At first I could read with my left eye but alas, no longer. My right eye is for distance and I can see great for distance. What I really like is that I can garden, watch TV and drive without glasses. I can also see to do my makeup just fine without glasses. But I need reading glasses for my right eye.

I wear glasses with progressives a lot because I can't see anything close with my right eye. I have special computer glasses so I don't have to tip my head up all day trying to see through progressives. I will need cataract surgery someday and I plan to keep the monovision since I am used to it. But I would talk to the surgeon about what correction I would have for my left eye.

I have a really crazy prescription for my progressives - my two eyes RX are very different!
 

PDilemma

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Spun Silver, I'd go with the type of vision that is most important to you.

And what about eye-glasses? You can get them for both reading and distance.

I guess people prefer to not wear eyeglasses these days? I've been wearing eye-glasses since I was five so I don't even think of it - in fact, I have always been cool with being bespectacled. I am cross-eyed in one eye and also far-sighted. In recent years, I've had to get a separate pair of glasses for reading and distance (i.e. driving).

I think I may need a new prescription because I couldn't clearly read the scores on the jumble-tron (or whatever it is called) at GFP.

One thing I've learned: prescriptions for the eyes are not always an exact science.

Contacts provide better vision correction than glasses. They do not distort peripheral vision and eliminate the eye straining for the distance between the eye and the lens.

More importantly, for people with extreme myopia (defined as a glasses prescription of -8 or higher) or at risk for extreme myopia, contacts can slow or prevent vision decline. My vision was saved by being in contacts for the last 34 years rather than glasses. At the time I got contacts (age 12 back when most doctors did not prescribe them for kids under 16 or so), my prescription was changing by a diopter or more every 3-4 months. Contacts drastically slowed that change. I have the same hereditary retinal disease that has caused my mother to become legally blind. When when she was my current age, her worst eye was -18.5 in contacts. My worst eye is currently -9.5. Research was emerging back at the time I got contacts that suggested that contacts could slow or stop drastic changes. It worked for me.

I will NEVER criticize or question why people have contacts instead of glasses. And when people smugly say to me that they don't mind wearing glasses or they aren't vain or whatever BS they have, I will always tell them why I have contacts and that they SAVED MY VISION.
 

Peaches LaTour

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I will share my cataract surgery experience even though I am not sure it will help you.

Thirty years ago I had corrective eye surgery. I read with my left eye & see at a distance with my right eye. I don't wear glasses at all. Would this work for you after the cataract surgery?

My cataract surgery went great but I was shocked at how old I looked afterward! Cataract "blindness" approaches slowly so you don't realize how little you are actually seeing until the cataracts are gone.

Best wishes with your surgery!
 

pat c

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I am far sighted with an astigmatism. This is what my optometrist explained to me. Far sighted you can walk into a room and it will be a little fuzzy. Near sighted you don't even get out of bed w/o your glasses. ;)
 

Skate Talker

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I am far sighted with an astigmatism. This is what my optometrist explained to me. Far sighted you can walk into a room and it will be a little fuzzy. Near sighted you don't even get out of bed w/o your glasses. ;)

You got that right - I am severely short sighted. If I have to get up at night and don't put my glasses on I don't even bother to open my eyes because everything is just one big out of focus grey blur.
 

Spun Silver

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I will share my cataract surgery experience even though I am not sure it will help you.

Thirty years ago I had corrective eye surgery. I read with my left eye & see at a distance with my right eye. I don't wear glasses at all. Would this work for you after the cataract surgery?

My cataract surgery went great but I was shocked at how old I looked afterward! Cataract "blindness" approaches slowly so you don't realize how little you are actually seeing until the cataracts are gone.

Best wishes with your surgery!
Thanks for the good wishes and sharing your experience. I would be happy to use one eye (corrected) for distance and one eye (currently better eye... nearsighted) for closeup work *without* correction (currently correction only really helps for distance and medium-range vision), so I'm happy to hear you say that works for you.

What puzzles me is that my doctor (whom I've only met once as I recently moved to a new state) said the better eye (the one that's not having the surgery) would require contacts in order to be useful after the left eye's surgery. I'm not positive I communicated properly to him how I use it now, but I understood him to say that what happens to the left eye will screw up my present ability to do closeup work with the unoperated right eye. Something about the way the eyes will work together differently now. It's a little alarming, because currently prescription glasses or contacts make that eye worse for closeup work, so I do that stuff with my naked eye. Basically I am attached to being able to use at least one naked eye and I'm not sure I'll still be able to! I may have misunderstood, or maybe the surgery has changed a lot since yours was done...?

Readers are fine though. If they help I will do what @paskatefan does and put them all over the house. But the doctor didn't say anything about them. Aargh.
 

KatieC

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I'd just like to mention I got along for 50 years with eyes that were different. Right eye for reading, left for everything else. Never had any problems or headaches from my eyes. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
 

AxelAnnie

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Has anyone heard of or had experience with vision suppression? I had cataract laser surgery several months ago. What I am left with is this weird thing they think is vision suppression. Every now and then, my left eye looks over to 2:00 and my right is looking to 8:00. It is rather disconcerting. Makes me really dizzy and I generally have to find a floor and lay down.

And the dark.............oh man. Like getting up to go to the bathroom (well I have to turn the lights on) I see things that are not there and do not see things that are. Last night, I could see the right side of the door opening, but could not find the left. I knew it was there (duh) but my hand could not find it. Now,that scares me.
 

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