Refractive stability following uncomplicated cataract surgery



Publication Details

McNamara, P., Hutchinson, I., Thornell, E., Batterham, M., Iloski, V. & Agarwal, S. (2019). Refractive stability following uncomplicated cataract surgery. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 102 (2), 154-159.


Background: Quality of life may be negatively impacted following cataract surgery if glasses prescription is delayed. This study aims to confirm the refractive stabilisation time in an Australian population to form the basis for suggesting an appropriate timeframe for spectacle prescription.

Methods: Participants (51 female and 35 male) were recruited one day after uncomplicated unilateral cataract surgery using a monofocal intraocular lens. Subjective refraction, automated refraction and central corneal thickness were measured at two, four and six weeks post-operatively. A short questionnaire assessing the impact of uncorrected near vision on daily activities was collected at two and four weeks.

Results: There was no significant change in the mean automated or subjective spherical equivalent refraction (peq < 0.001), mean corneal thickness (peq < 0.001), mean uncorrected distance visual acuity (peq < 0.001) or mean uncorrected near visual acuity (peq < 0.001) over the six-week study period. At week two, 59 per cent of patients stated that their uncorrected near vision affected their ability to perform daily tasks 'somewhat' or 'a lot', increasing to 75 per cent by week four.

Conclusion: Uncorrected near vision affected quality of life for most participants. All measured visual and ocular parameters were stable from two weeks post-operatively. Patients need not wait longer than this for spectacle prescription following uncomplicated unilateral cataract surgery.

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