Can Cataract Surgery Replace Glasses?

Whether you have been a lifelong glasses wearer or have developed the need for reading glasses due to presbyopia or solely because you have developed cataracts, you may wonder what your need for glasses will be after Cataract Surgery. Will you need to continue wearing your prescription glasses? Or could Cataract Surgery replace your need for glasses altogether?

We’re going to walk you through what Cataract Surgery really means for your vision.

Cataracts and Glasses

The development of cataracts is a completely normal part of the eye’s ageing process. This means that, eventually, we will all begin to notice the gradual clouding of our eyes’ natural lenses.

The process tends to start at around the age of 40 when the proteins in the lens begin to break down and clump together. Eventually, this clump forms a cloudy obstruction in the lens, affecting your vision.

The good news is, it can take years (sometimes decades) for this obstruction to become noticeable. Still, once a cataract begins to affect your vision, you may require external visual aids to perform certain activities such as reading. If you already wear glasses, you may find that you need to switch to a higher prescription in order to see as clearly as before.

While glasses and other visual aids can be useful in tackling the visual disturbance caused by cataracts, Cataract Surgery is the only effective solution for preventing significant vision loss.

How Does Cataract Surgery Improve Vision?

During Cataract Surgery, an ultrasound probe is applied to the cataract to break up the affected lens so that it can be removed from the lens capsule. In order for your eye to continue working as it should, an artificial lens then needs to be implanted to replace the natural one.

These lenses are called intraocular lenses or IOLs. This lens is inserted through a small incision (which is also used to remove the cataract). While the removal of the cataract gets rid of the obstruction in your vision, Cataract Surgery also offers the opportunity to further improve your vision. However, the options available to you will be limited when having NHS Cataract Surgery.

Intraocular Lenses and Visual Outcomes

When receiving treatment via the NHS, it is highly likely that monofocal IOLs will be used for your procedure. These lenses are fixed at one point of focus, giving you either clear distance vision or clear near vision. As a result, glasses will be required to correct the field of vision not corrected by the lenses.

Furthermore, if you already wore glasses prior to Cataract Surgery, you may find that your prescription changes following treatment, regardless of the type of lens used. The bottom line is that, even if you have never needed glasses before, you will need to use glasses after Cataract Surgery if you are fitted with monofocal IOLs.

What are the other options?

Of course, other options are available; however, these are usually only offered in private Cataract Surgery. These include:

Monovision Procedures

If a patient has cataracts in both eyes, monovision surgery may be considered. Monovision procedures involve removing the cataract-affected lens from both eyes (there is typically a waiting period between eyes) and fitting each eye with a different kind of monofocal lens: one lens for distance vision and one lens for near vision.

The brain learns to combine the different fields of vision from each eye to make for clear distance and near vision. This approach can reduce and even remove the need for glasses following Cataract Surgery.

In some cases, this treatment may be available on the NHS; however, it is usually only offered to patients who have previous experience with monovision. This may be the case if they have used monovision contact lenses or have had laser blended vision surgery for Presbyopia.

Multifocal Lens Implants

In contrast to monofocal lenses, multifocal IOLs can provide, near, distance, and intermediate vision correction. This often makes them preferable to monofocal IOLs or monovision procedures as they can completely eliminate the need for glasses. However, multifocal lenses are not available through NHS Cataract Surgery.

At London Vision Clinic, we can offer the full range of commercially available IOLs. This means we can ensure the perfect fit and a higher chance of achieving the very best visual outcomes – without glasses – following Cataract Surgery.

If you’d like to learn more about our range of intraocular lenses, get in touch with a friendly clinic coordinator – they’ll be happy to discuss your options. Alternatively, Book a Consultation today.