Will I need to wear eyeglasses after cataract surgery?

This is one of the most common questions asked by cataract patients. It’s hard to deny that needing reading glasses can be an inconvenience.

The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no, as a number of factors are at play in whether or not patients will still need to wear prescription glasses after cataract surgery, including the type of intraocular lens (IOL) used to replace the natural, clouded lens. While all IOLs restore vision for the patient, not all IOLs restore vision to the same degree.

The standard type of IOL used in cataract surgery is the monofocal IOL, which restores vision at a single fixed distance, either close up (near vision) or far away (distance vision). Most patients decide to have the IOL restore vision at far distance, in which case they will need to wear reading glasses to see clearly up close.

Because standard IOLs require patients to continue using glasses for either their near or distance vision, many people are now choosing from a variety of premium IOLs that are available, which can greatly reduce and possibly even eliminate the need for eyeglasses after cataract surgery.

These premium IOLs include multifocal IOLs, which restore clear vision at multiple distances (near and far) following cataract surgery. Other options include toric IOLs and accommodating IOLs. Toric IOLs are appropriate for cataract patients with pre-existing astigmatism while accommodating IOLs are an advanced option that allows the eye to focus clearly at multiple distances. In July 2018, Dr. Allen W. Zieker was the first cataract surgeon to implant the Bausch + Lomb enVista® toric MX60T intraocular lens.

The fourth type of premium IOL was approved by the FDA 2 years ago and is called the TECNIS® Symfony Intraocular Lens (IOL). The Symfony lens is the first extended range of vision IOL to correct presbyopia (far-sightedness) and improve vision in people with cataracts, as well as improving far, intermediate, and near vision, with the decreased need for glasses or contact lens after cataract surgery.

While no IOL or surgical technique can guarantee that you won’t need to wear glasses after cataract surgery, the premium IOLs available today have allowed a great many people to never need their glasses again after cataract surgery and countless others who require only the occasional assistance of glasses.

If you are considering cataract surgery, Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region encourages you to schedule a cataract surgery consultation with one of our board-certified cataract surgeons. Our physicians will thoroughly evaluate your eyes and the symptoms of your condition as well as talk with you about your work, hobbies, and other activities before recommending an IOL that will be right for you—fitting your lifestyle and giving you your best personal vision, which could be without eyeglasses!