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trouble reading after cataract surgery
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trouble reading after cataract surgery

I had cataract surgery 2 weeks ago on my right eye.  When I tried to read the newpaper after the surgery, I could not read it as I used to..  I'm an avid reader.  I've been reading all my life without glasses.  I wear glasses for seeing the distance (highway traffic signs), when driving, especially at night. This condition still persist todate.
Here are my questions:
a) Should I have asked the doctor to ensure my ability to read without glasses before the operation?  
b) I very much like to be able to continue reading without glasses, should I ask for a repeat operation on the same eye and get a new lens intended for reading? (I don't mind continuing to use glasses for seeing distances, when driving), or are there remedial actions that can be taken to restore the ability to read without glasses.
Tags: cataract
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You should have made it clear to your doctor before surgery that reading without glasses was more important to you than driving without glasses.  It is too late for your current eye, the risk of complications with an implant exchange simply does not make the procedure sensible in my opinion.

You could consider monovision implants where your other eye is set to reading distance.  The problem is that not everyone can tolerate monovision and usually we do not make patients monovision with cataract surgery unless they have shown that it works for them by wearing monovision contact lenses first.  However in your case if your unoperated eye is nearsighted, just go around without any glasses for a few weeks and see if that works.  Drive with the operated eye and read with the unoperated eye.  If your brain can adapt to it, you can consider monovision implants.

You can read on this forum about various "high tech" implants whereby each eye is supposed to see both far away and up close.  The vote is mixed on the effect of these implants and generally they are not suitable for people with high visual expectations, such as stable, clear near vision for hours of reading.
Your surgeon should have discussed your options with you before surgery rather than just assuming that you'd want to have your eye corrected for distance vision.  I suggest that you make an appointment with your surgeon to discuss your options at this point.

About 75% of the people who try monovision (distance vision in one eye and near vision in the other) can adjust to it.  Going without glasses will only give you a sense of what monovision is like if you are mildly nearsighted.  If you are moderately nearsighted, going without glasses will probably just drive you crazy, and I don't suggest that you try it.  (The difference in refractive error between your eyes would be too much for anyone to adjust to.)

Most people have no problem at all adjusting to mini-monovision (i.e., distance vision in one eye and intermediate vision in the other).  You would only need glasses for prolonged reading or seeing small print.  This might be a good choice for you.  Based on the information you posted, I suspect that you will be unhappy with both eyes set for distance vision.  
Thanks Dr. Brown and JodieJ for your comments.  Appreciate it.
What do you think of having Lasik surgery (laser vision correction) for the operated eye to restore reading (instead of corrective lens in glasses for the operated eye) ? Is this a viable option?  Are there risks in this?
Also, what are the potential risks of implant exchange for the operated eye? Isn't it just a matter of taking out the old, putting in the new?  What could go wrong?  Could it lead to blindness?
You're asking about hyperopic LASIK--I'm not really sure how well it works.  I've read that an IOL exchange carries about the same risks as cataract surgery when performed by an experienced surgeon.  Best to do it early, so discuss this with your surgeon now.  If Dr. Brown does not see your new questions, then try re-posting them as a new thread.
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John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
Discover Vision Centers of Kansas City
Kansas City, MO
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