Can Cataract Surgery Improve Night Vision?

The formation of cataracts can have a significant impact on your quality of vision, eventually leading to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated. But in the early stages of their development, one of the first symptoms of cataracts is a loss of contrast sensitivity. Over time, this and other symptoms can affect night vision, making it increasingly difficult to perform tasks in low light conditions.

So, if this is the case, will Cataract Surgery improve your night vision?

How Do Cataracts Affect Night Vision?

Cataracts are cloudy obstructions that form in the lens of the eye as proteins begin to break down and clump together. This is a natural part of the eye’s ageing process, but while completely normal, these formations can cause significant impairment to vision.

Cataracts block light from entering the eye and cause vision to become less sharp, colours to seem duller and increase night glare. This can cause effects such as halos and starbursts around light sources and make it increasingly difficult to define objects. As this symptom worsens, performing tasks in low light can become increasingly bothersome and driving at night can be more difficult and even dangerous.

For this reason, the timely removal of cataracts is often extremely important. This is achieved through a simple routine procedure called Cataract Surgery.

The Only Solution to Cataracts

Cataract Surgery is a routine minor procedure that involves removing the cataract-affected lens through a small incision in the eye’s surface. Through this incision, a new artificial lens – known as an intraocular lens (IOL) – is then inserted.

These lenses come in a range of refractive powers and in some cases can be used to correct refractive errors such as long-sightedness, short-sightedness, and even astigmatism. However, the NHS is only able to offer monovision IOLs while private clinics and hospitals offer the full range of commercially available premium IOLs.

The replacement of the clouded lens with a clear artificial one significantly restores vision to the affected eye. Many patients unsurprisingly report an immediate improvement in their vision; however, it is common to experience some blurriness and other effects in the weeks following the procedure.

How Much Will Night Vision Improve?

Removing the cataract from the eye usually offers an instant and dramatic improvement to all aspects of the patient’s vision – including night vision. As a result, patients are soon able to return to activities that they had become unable to do before their procedure, such as driving.

In fact, a recent study that assessed patients’ vision using a driving simulator found that near misses and crashes dropped by as much as 48% after Cataract Surgery. But what about night glare and its effects on driving at night?

As mentioned previously, impairment to night vision is often one of the first noticeable symptoms of cataracts. Following surgery, it may take some time to recognise the full improvement in this aspect of vision due to the healing process of the eye.

It is normal for patients to experience night glare for a few weeks to a few months following their procedure as their eye heals. However, post-operative night glare is usually not as dramatic as that caused by cataracts and will soon subside.

If refractive errors remain after Cataract Surgery, it is also possible to further sharpen night vision with prescription glasses. Opting for anti-reflective coating in your glasses lenses can also limit glare when driving at night.

Have more questions about Cataract Surgery? Take a look at our Cataract Surgery category to get the answers you need.

If you would like to learn more about Cataract Surgery at London Vision Clinic, get in touch or Book a Consultation today.