Yes, There May Be a Vision Imbalance After Cataract Surgery

By Eye Institute of Houston
November 15, 2020

Cataracts are not generally considered dangerous. However, this eye condition can severely impact vision. It is also very common, so is an aspect of health and wellness that adults should be aware of. According to research, half of the 75 to 85 population has cataracts. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the risk of getting cataracts, to slow their progression, and to treat the condition if it gets to a point at which it becomes difficult to perform normal daily activities. Here, we discuss why ophthalmologists perform cataract surgery in only one eye at a time, and what can happen in between procedures.

What are Cataracts?

The term cataract describes a change to the natural lens of the eye. The lens is a layer of tissue at the front of the eye through which light passes. Light goes through the lens and the cornea to land on the retina at the back of the eye. Each of these structures is crucial to good vision. The lens has proteins that enable it to work properly. Cataracts begin to develop when these protein particles start to clump together. Once this process begins, it does not stop. Over time, the accumulation of proteins widens, creating a cloudy film within the lens of the eye. The only way to restore clear vision is to replace the natural lens with an artificial structure called an intraocular lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the world.

Cataracts are not contagious. Having a clouded lens in one eye does not mean the other eye will inevitably develop cataracts. In the case that each eye has cataracts, an ophthalmologist will treat each eye individually with a short period in between the two procedures. This is a common practice that allows the treated eye to heal and stabilize before the second eye is treated. If two separate procedures are needed, patients are likely to experience blurry vision for a few days.

The vision imbalance that can occur in between cataract procedures has a name. It is referred to as anisometropia. This condition can cause double vision and imbalance and can also impede adequate depth perception. For this reason, patients may want to slow their lives down at least a little until the second eye has been treated. This not only aids in healing the first eye but can also reduce the consequences of vision imbalance, such as feeling “not quite right” or having an increased risk of accidental bumps and bruises.

Cataract procedures are usually scheduled just a few weeks apart. If vision imbalance lasts more than a few days, patients should contact their eye doctor for suggested remedies. Sometimes, wearing a patch over the untreated eye can help reduce the imbalance that has occurred. Once the second eye is treated, vision is expected to improve within about a week.

Are you looking for more information about cataracts and how to manage this condition? Contact the Eye Institute of Houston at (713) 668-7337.

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