I am scheduled for cataract surgery on Monday (two days from now) and do not have a way to talk my surgeon until Monday morning. So, here is an attempt to get some more information before then.
I am 68, in very good health, at the beginning of "retirement" and need to be able to drive and read (a lot) and work at my computer. The cataract in the left eye is pretty bothersome, the right eye might need its cataract removed for years yet.
I have fairly severe myopia with astigmatism and the two eyes are quite different. I first began wearing glasses about age 12, and was unaware before then that I needed glasses. For many years, at least 20 years, I have been aware that optometrists were undercorrecting my left eye in glasses prescriptions because of the large difference in image size when the left eye (about -11 something) was (more?) fully corrected. The right eye glasses Rx is about -9 something (maybe -8.75). In the last 10 or 15 years, the term "lazy eye" has been used for the left eye. I can see to read without glasses with the right eye at about 5.5 - 6 inches from the eye, and about 3.5 inches from the left eye. The two images differ in size and in line breadth (darker and larger with the left eye.)
The surgeon's choice of IOL for the left eye is monofocal, and he expects only about 20/60 to 20/80 correction after implanation for the left eye. That seems like very little help to me, and will leave a large difference between the eyes with a contact lens for the right eye, and eventually a toric lense IOL for the right eye that will attempt 20/20 distance vision for that eye. Does the ability to read with the left eye mean that my optical cortex is capable of supporting a better correction than proposed?
Given that I can read (at all) with left eye, should I be able to get better correction than 20/60 to 20/80 (If so, how)? What might I expect for reading ability in the left eye after the proposed IOL?
And I was hoping to be able to resolve some of my issues with poor depth perception/uncertainty about how far things are from me (sidewalks, steps, knives, objects I am trying pick up, paper I am trying to cut, etc.) Seems like those won't get better and might even get worse? I'm considering delaying the surgery (at the last minute) to give myself some more time to explore the possible results of IOLs with contacts. How much would I learn from doing that?
Toric lens. The surgeon says I am a good candidate for a toric lens (both eyes), but he anticipates such a low amount of correction for the left eye that his final chart note says it would not help me in that eye. Glare has been a problem for me in the complex glasses I have worn for years, so I have always paid for premium anti-glare coatings, as well the thinnest plastic possible multi-focal lenses, and "adds" to help focus for reading and computer use.
To recap: 1. Could the correction for my left eye be better than the surgeon expects, and how? 2. Would a toric lens for the left eye likely help, or maybe even hinder? 3. Is experimentation with contact lenses worth delaying the surgery, or is there nothing more to be gained? 4. I'm thinking I may need both contacts and progressive or bifocal glasses even after IOLs and wondering if resolution between the two eyes will actually be better, or even more difficult than it is now. (One can always put on a pair of glasses and take them off, but contacts are much more fuss and need clean conditions for placement and removal, and cannot come out willy-nilly.)
I have tried the first attempt with a soft contact for the right eye (-8.25, I believe), intended to be for after surgery on the left eye. It was too strong and a second, with less correction (-7.5, toric) is on order and will not be available to try until after the surgery (unless I balk and delay the surgery.)