• How long should one wait for the brain to adjust to new vision after cataract surgery?


    Question:

    It’s been five weeks since my cataract surgery in both eyes. I am still struggling to feel visually balanced between both eyes. I’m told I am 20/20 in left dominant eye and 20/25 in right eye. I suspect that I will need a final prescription, as no doubt my astigmatism, although minor, is still in play.

    I failed the glare test (vision decreases in bright light conditions) in both eyes as well. As I am under 60, the doctor is suggesting that the capsular opacification (or secondary cataract, when the outer membrane that holds the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy) is actually occurring faster causing the glare. So YAG (a later procedure to treat the secondary cataract) is in my future.

    Does this all sound normal? Regarding neural adaption (brain adjusting to new vision)—how long should one sit in visual limbo waiting for the brain to catch up?


    Answer:

    It is not uncommon for a patient to experience new visual sensations and perceptions immediately after cataract surgery in both eyes. Generally speaking, vision of 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the fellow eye is a very good result. Opacification of the posterior capsule so early after the cataract surgery is quite uncommon by not rare. I am not able to evaluate the density of the opacification, but I believe that, if your ophthalmologist is recommending treatment, you should go ahead with this simple procedure.

    The timetable for neural adaptation is not something that is the same for everyone. I would assume that by three to six months you will have reached maximum neural adaptation. Your problems seem to dishearten you and I think you should discuss them more fully with your ophthalmologist.


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