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Author Topic: Cataract Surgery, Lens Replacement, UV Coating or Not?  (Read 581 times)

Michael Erlewine

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Cataract Surgery, Lens Replacement, UV Coating or Not?
« on: May 13, 2021, 06:43:07 pm »

It has been suggested that I have cataract surgery and receive artificial lenses in my eyes. They also offer these lenses with or without UV protection/coating or whatever. I worry that how I see color will be affected by the UC coating.

Any of you have this procedure and have an opinion about UV coatings or not having that?

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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Cataract Surgery, Lens Replacement, UV Coating or Not?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2021, 02:35:09 am »

I had the surgery to both eyes 7 years ago at age 53. Quite young but living at 1600m for decades compounded with a lifestyle strongly oriented to outdoor activities was the cause.

The operation was simple and effective. Actually two procedure two weeks apart. One eye at a time. A decision was made to make the left eye lens for distance and the right eye for closer work. It means I can in an emergency get by without glasses although life is clearer with them. I told the surgeon I am a photographer and he seemed to take extra care to set me up with a solution that would enable me to continue working effectively and efficiently. He literally triple checked everything to the point of doing a quick test and confirmation on what would be done within minutes of the anaesthetist going to work on me. I felt very comfortable about the whole thing.

I have had no issues and have no complaints. It is what it is.

I was not offered UV coatings on the lenses. Perhaps it was not available then or perhaps it was not available locally so I have nothing to offer in that regard.

Whatever you decide I wish you all good with your decision and the outcome. May you be well.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 08:41:27 am by Martin Kristiansen »
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    • Mike Broomfield
Re: Cataract Surgery, Lens Replacement, UV Coating or Not?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2021, 06:26:49 am »

Same as Martin, had both eyes done, one distance and one for reading, though I opted for computer distance which is a little further but is about where I read books in any case.  Mine were done recently so I'm waiting for my glasses (this or next week) but have been able to read, work on the computer, drive (day and night) and mountain bike in the woods with no prescription glasses.

I was also not offered UV lenses so I can't comment on that, but you will see a dramatic change in colour temp as cataracts take on a yellow tint which is eliminated when the new lens goes in after the cataract is removed.  I asked my doc about it and she described how the eye changes and that with the new lens it's essentially going back to where it was when you were younger.   As I had a cataract in both eyes I could see the difference with one eye vs the other until I had the 2nd done (2 months apart).  The brain is a marvelous thing though and I don't "see" any change now, except the extra clarity and contrast I'd been missing for the last 5 years or so.

Chris Kern

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Re: Cataract Surgery, Lens Replacement, UV Coating or Not?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2021, 04:42:26 pm »

I would echo the comments of the two previous posters.  I recently had cataract surgery, and also opted for "modified monovision" — an implant for distance in my dominant eye and one that left me slightly nearsighted (but still able to pass the vision test to renew my driver's license in the state where I live) in my non-dominant eye.

Some acclimatization typically is necessary to get your brain to sort out the two slightly different refractions.  After the surgery on the dominant eye, my cataract surgeon fitted me with a contact lens in the non-dominant one that mimicked the refraction she intended to use for that eye.  I used the three weeks between the two surgeries to verify that this was a workable solution for me.

My wife, who was born with monovision and whose presbyopia isn't as advanced as mine, doesn't need to wear glasses for either distance or reading.  However, the surgeon told me the delta necessary for that would almost certainly be too great for me to adapt to, so we settled on a metric of being able to drive without glasses and still be able to make out the controls on the dashboard of a car.

It has worked out even better than I expected.  I have pushed back both monitors on my desktop computer a few inches and I can process photographs without putting on my inexpensive, non-prescription reading glasses.  I can even read small type on a laptop without glasses as long as I'm willing to put up with a little blurriness; I'm typing this post now on a laptop that is sitting on my knees.

And—this turns out to be very important—I can see the physical controls and menus on my cameras without pulling the reading glasses out of my pocket.  (Thanks to Craig Lamson for his comments alerting me to this issue, which he sent me in a couple of private messages on this site prior to my surgeries.)

Neither my regular ophthalmologist nor the cataract surgeon offered me the option of blue-filtering intraocular lenses, but there is what appears to be a fairly thorough review of the literature on the subject here.  It's my understanding that all current intraocular implants filter ultraviolet to some extent.


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Re: Cataract Surgery, Lens Replacement, UV Coating or Not?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2021, 12:36:22 pm »


I am an ophthalmologist, and fellow photographer. Let me point out, to my knowledge, all current lens implants do screen out UV light- a good thing. This filtering does not involve any color shift whatsoever. There is however one manufacturer (Alcon) of a widely used lens implant that offers the option of a yellow tint to their lens, essentially a blue blocker, based on the theory that blue light may be harmful to the retina. Personally, I am not a fan of the yellow filter; I prefer that patients experience the most vivid colors possible, and the evidence for the benefits of yellow filtering is debatable.
My recommendation is to go for the best aspheric optic, with no tint to the lens; a clear lens. All lens manufacturers make these types of lenses; top brands are made by Johnson & Johnson, Bausch & Lomb, and Alcon.
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