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Cataract Surgery - Risks / Visual Observing Benefits?

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#1 Jim Waters

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:11 PM

My eye doctor suggested cataract surgery in the near future.  From an observing / night vision standpoint what are the risks and did it really help with visual observing?

 

Thanks


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#2 fcathell

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:59 PM

I have a friend that had cataract surgery and he can't believe what a difference it made.  Everything is brighter, more vivid colors, etc, and I think he said the astigmatism he had went away. He's had nothing bad to say about it. I have not heard similar tales about lasik (SP?) surgery, however, when it comes to visual astronomy. I will be very interested to see the progression of this topic.

 

Frank


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#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 01:02 AM

Hi, Jim! Well, the surgery is certainly considered to be routine and reliable. I got both eyes done and also follow-up PRK to fine-tune the wavefront in both eyes. Blues became unbelievably vibrant and even able to see the near-UV (which looks, no kidding... deep deep Violet!) I had pretty much forgotten what those colors even look like! The PRK brought both eyes to 20/12.5 acuity. That was around five years ago and it's holding well. I can see spiral galaxies way way brighter... even the little ones.

 

The lens implants entirely destroy what little focus accommodation you may have left. So you will need reading glasses. I opted for (demanded) "true astronomical infinity" correction. If you don't prescribe that (your doctor must understand the wording, what it means, and agree to do exactly that); if not, he will focus short of that... possible as close as Snellen 6 meters = 1/6 diopter myopic... which seems to be their standard, for casual geezers(?)

 

Anyway, I'm massively pleased; It's improved observing a lot.    Tom


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#4 ngc7319_20

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:21 AM

Search around the Forums... there have been many posts...

 

https://www.cloudyni...gery/?p=9572821


Edited by ngc7319_20, 07 September 2019 - 02:23 AM.


#5 Mike_Feldman

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:45 AM

When oncoming headlights light up your cataracts, you become a danger to your passengers, other traffic and yourself.

 

I've had both eyes done 2 years apart ... nothing but improvement.



#6 jimr2

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:48 AM

Hi Jim,

 

As I said in a similar inquiry here on CN by someone else a few weeks ago, I too had cataract surgery in both eyes one year ago now. And as I told that person then, I am quite happy with the outcome, even tho there are a couple minor issues or problems that I guess I'll have to live with for the "duration". Basically what the over two folks here have said, colors and brightness of everything is much enhanced compared to what you're now seeing thru your yellowed, hazy natural lenses. You'll notice the difference if you have just one eye done--which I recommend--at a time. And what Tomdey said regarding the type of lenses you have put in is very important too. Like him, I had the lenses put in that are the optimum for distance vision. Where I had my surgery done here in Reno, NV area, most cataract surgeons offer 3 different types of lenses: 1) those that are optimized for close-up vision; 2) those that are optimized for distance vision, and 3) those that are for both near and far vision focus, which sounded great to me at first, but as my surgeon explained, it's not possible (yet) to design lenses that can come to focus on near objects, as well as distant objects, so they are really not very good at doing either from what I gathered from him and the info. he handed out to me. I think these types of lenses are referred to as "accommodating" lenses, but again, they apparently are not all that accommodating, so I'd stay away from those if I were you.

 

So I had the lenses optimized for distant vision inserted in my surgeries, and am generally pleased with the outcome. I do have to use "reading" glasses for reading, computer work, etc., but having worn glasses since I was 13 for near-sightedness anyhow, that's not a problem for me. Reading glasses are cheap--you can get the cheap kind sold at drug stores, etc., that come in different diopters to suit your needs. Anyhow, after the surgeries, my vision in both eyes is now 20/20--the first time that's been like that since before I was 13, so am happy with that. The one or two issues I have however with my surgeries is that I do see a short stubby "X" or cross centered on distant bright objects, like stars, distant street lights, etc., at night. However, the X is oriented slightly differently in each eye, so when I look at a star for example with just one eye at a time, I can see the X's in each eye, but if I look at a star with both eyes, the differences in orientation of the X's seem to pretty much cancel out, so the star, or whatever, looks almost, but not quite, pinpoint. My surgeon said that this happens to some people in the surgery, and for some it eventually goes away, but for me it looks like it's going to stick with me. The other issue I have now is that I frequently "see" bright flashes of light--they look like short lightning bolts, or meteors, flashing vertically in the corners of my eyes when I'm in the dark, when I turn my head quickly from side to side. Again, this is another kind of "artifact" that the surgery sometimes causes for some reason in some people. But again, have learned to live with that, and that's actually a plus for me as an amateur astronomer, especially when I'm out at night during meteor showers, as I now "see" a lot more meteors than I used to--ha ha! Seriously tho, these two issues are fairly minor to me anyhow, and again on the whole, I am glad I had the surgery done, although there really was no choice in the matter--it was either that or continue to have my vision become blurrier and blurrier, more yellowed, etc., and having to get a new prescription for my near-sightedness glasses every 4-5 months or so.

 

Anyhow, hope this helps some Jim. Just make sure you discuss the various types of lenses available with your doctor, and that he understands what you need for astronomy. Good luck!

 

-jim-


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#7 Stardust Dave

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 09:21 AM

"When oncoming headlights light up your cataracts, you become a danger to your passengers, other traffic and yourself."   

 

Is that what I can expect as the cataract develops?

About what amount of time to get to that point from when cataract first noticed?   



#8 Mike_Feldman

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 02:47 PM

"When oncoming headlights light up your cataracts, you become a danger to your passengers, other traffic and yourself."   

 

Is that what I can expect as the cataract develops?

About what amount of time to get to that point from when cataract first noticed?   

My first eye to cloud up went fast ... developed over 6 months, and even with one eye clear, bright lights from the side got me into a "I didn't see you at all" accident at dusk.  The other eye took longer ... more like 18 months before I was asking for a new lens.


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#9 Jim Waters

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 03:35 PM

Thanks for the inputs everybody...!



#10 Stardust Dave

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 03:45 PM

"My first eye to cloud up went fast ... developed over 6 months, and even with one eye clear, bright lights from the side got me into a "I didn't see you at all" accident at dusk.  The other eye took longer ... more like 18 months before I was asking for a new lens."

 

Thanks Mike for that info ...



#11 Pinbout

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 03:45 PM

Solar observing is much better with calcium-k scopes 


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#12 donstim

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 12:34 AM

An interesting read - http://www.jerryolti...Astronomers.htm



#13 Jim Waters

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:24 AM

Thanks for posting the above link.



#14 EddieRich

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 11:34 AM

My right eye appeared as though I was eating a glazed donut and rubbed my fingers all over my eye. Just a cloud of smudge.

It caused low contrast text (like gray on black) to blur to the point where I couldn't read menus, maps, documents etc.,

and bright lights (like stars and headlights) would just light up my entire eye. Reading glasses helped, but binocular astronomy was pointless.

 

I just had the surgery last week and I don't even need reading glasses anymore.

The view through my binoculars is amazing now, details are finally visible and bright stars don't cause problems anymore.

 

In short, if you have cataracts and you can get them removed, do it.

As your doctor will tell you, there is always a risk, but the procedure is quick and painless.

I wore an eye patch for one day, but my vision is back to what it was 5 years ago.



#15 Binojunky

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 02:12 PM

The other option available is the full head transplant, I,m going for this option myself, the added benefit is the fact that you lose about 15lbs of useless fat and blubber. On a more serious note, cataracts are starting to bother me, my right eye is the worst though I have been told my vision is still 20/25, how bad  do these things have to get before replacement is the option? Dave.



#16 theropod

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 10:39 AM

Had both eyes done about 5 years ago. First the left eye and then the right about 9 months later. I can see distant object more clearly than when I was 18 (almost 66 now). Yes, I still have to use readers, but only for very fine work. Mine were the rapidly progressing type and from the time I first noticed and issue, when the sun came out after an ice storm and the whole world turned into diffraction spikes and lens flares, until my first lens replacement was less than 6 months.

 

I remember looking at the moon a couple nights before my surgery, and it was as if it were behind frosted glass, like a shower door. Now I can pick out all sorts of DSO’s under good seeing with just those plastic lenses. Don’t even hesitate, or hold any doubt. Get those organic lenses replaced and don’t look back (yes, pun intended).



#17 Rich_W

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Posted 13 October 2019 - 07:40 PM

I had both eyes done in summer 2018, optimized for distance. Definite noticeable and very pleasing improvement in vision both day and night. I also found that being able to use binoculars without eyeglasses was like a revelation, and binocular observing has been like a whole new dimension of the hobby for me since the surgery.
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#18 Travellingbears

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 10:59 AM

By age 62 my right eye (dominant/viewing eye) developed ‘fuzziness’ so visual ‘clarity‘ thru scope was compromised. I had ‘single vision lens’ surgery in mid-August (‘distance’ tuned to around 20/30 to leave some intermediate range focus). I think not having potential for some ‘focus accommodation range’ took some adjustment. Will need to fill prescription for progressive lenses glasses to achieve ‘reading’ distance with right eye (synch distance so comparable to left eye). For example I can hold iPad at 12-15 inches and it’s ‘in-focus’ on left but would need to ‘push-out’ to 24 inches for right eye (so ‘unbalanced’ for stereoscopic vision). Left eye has not undergone surgery since still around 20/100 uncorrected and cataract not over central pupil.

 

My plans with my TSA120 for Nov-Dec have changed from ‘waiting for good nights for imaging’ (pulled off NiteCrawler and reinstalled Tak focuser) to hopefully using the scope whenever possible to look thru an eyepiece.

 

Dave



#19 HowardSkies

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 06:01 PM

Hi Jim,

 

Here is a post I started a few years back:

 

https://www.cloudyni...d-post-surgery/

 

Howard



#20 Morseman

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 04:00 PM

I’ve been intensely researching cataract surgery (more specifically, types of intraocular lenses to implant) in the last several days since I made appointments to have the surgery in January.  I’ve tried to focus on articles and papers by/aimed at ophthalmology professionals.  Lots of things I still do not fully understand, but one thing I have learned is that the standard Snellen eye chart test (20/20, 20/40, etc) is only a test of visual acuity (VA) and VA is only one component in judging quality of vision.  Other components include glare, color, and contrast sensitivity.  In other words, just because you score 20/20 on the Snellen and are told “you see just fine,” this does not mean that you have “perfect vision” or the quality of vision that I’m willing to accept as a beginner amateur astronomer.

 

One very interesting article I found (I’ve lost the link) was written by a cataract surgeon who had the surgery himself.  He had scored 20//20 on the Snellen test as he had done for years, but he noticed he was starting to need a lot more light when he operated and had to take more time performing routine surgical procedures, due to vision issues.  Surgery on his own eyes was successful and he was back in the operating room within days, once again performing at his pre-cataract high level.

 

I had pretty well decided against multifocal lenses or monovision (one eye close and one for distance), instead looking at monofocal toric lenses both selected for astronomical infinity. I have been using progressive multifocal glasses for many years, and didn’t think it would bother me to have to use glasses for reading.

 

However, upon careful consideration, I realize that observing time is only a small fraction of my activities in daily life.  Now, although I need glasses for e.g., watching TV or finding my keys, I can function pretty well without glasses just walking around the house in normal lighting, reading my luminous watch when I wake up at night, and tapping this out on the computer.  I’m not sure how I would feel giving this up, even though I very much want to be able to look up at the night sky with my naked eyes and see pinpoints of light instead of blurred smears.

 

I’ll have to see how I feel about it over the next several weeks.



#21 Travellingbears

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:36 AM

I had commented on my recent cataract surgery back in August. Back in 2006 when I had Lasix at age 50 to correct my severe nearsightedness I didn’t seek a ‘standard’ 20/20 (or better) in both eyes. This was based on lifestyle where I did a lot of 12”-18” distance activity (computer work) and didn’t like idea of being 100% dependent on ‘readers’. I opted for target of 20/30 in right (dominant) eye and 20/80 in left. This choice allowed intermediate & ’reasonable’ distance vision in right eye and my left eye could accommodate most ‘reading’ distance (computer/iPad etc) activity. I was ‘content’ without wearing prescription glasses for 10+ years. On rare occasion I would put on pair of ‘off the shelf’ readers for magnification of lettering. It was only in last 2-years before surgery (due to progressive development of cataract in right eye) that I began to routinely wear ‘distance’ glasses for driving (improving the 20/80 vision in left eye since right went fuzzy). I’m at 20/30 range on right eye after cataract surgery, and may opt for 20/80 again on left to keep an uncorrected ‘reading’ distance eye. Right now about 90% of time I spend with my ‘old’ distance (single vision) glasses tilted up on my head rather than down on my nose. When I get around to filling the progressive lens prescription issued after recent surgery then I’ll have a more ‘24/7’ lens setup where near vision accommodation will be better. 
 

Dave



#22 Morseman

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 05:38 PM

Thanks for the insight, Dave.  Your experience may help in my decision on post-surgery goals.  In any case, I'm really looking forward to getting rid of my astigmatism.

 

--Bob--



#23 Travellingbears

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 06:12 PM

Bob

 

My 2006 lasix had addressed aspects of my pre-existing astigmatism so I had not been struggling at tasks (without glasses) due to remaining astigmatism for years. In cataract IOL (intra-ocular lens) type selection I was primarily dealing with ‘straight’ power issues vs need for toric lens in my recent surgery. I was very blunt and asked my doc what solution ‘would not **** me off or annoy me’. He said that I was not a candidate for multi-focal lens since I had highly elongated eye (and doc felt that ‘lens capsule’ support might be issue). I listened to him since he also did my lasix in 2006 and I got results that worked well then. To correct minor remaining eye surface issues the doctor did tweaks with laser (quick 1-min) prior starting with cataract IOL procedure. I chose the laser at added $1500 out of pocket copay since allowed this fine-tuning. 
 

Dave




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