Glasses play an important role in managing your vision if you have cataracts — both before and after surgery. We understand that you might have a few questions, so here’s all you need to know about wearing glasses at each stage of your cataract journey.

Wearing glasses before cataract surgery

Can glasses help with cataracts?

In the early stages of cataract formation, you may get along well enough with using prescription glasses to maintain your eyesight. Often your optometrist will recommend that you have more regular eye tests to ensure that your lens prescription remains up-to-date, and your vision is as clear as possible.

However, as your cataracts develop, as is normal over time, you could reach a point where new glasses won’t be enough to correct your cloudy vision, and other problems associated. You may begin to find it difficult to read and perform other activities or have trouble seeing clearly while driving. At this point, your optometrist will not be able to prescribe increasingly powerful glasses and instead may discuss referring you to an ophthalmologist or eye doctor for cataract surgery.

Wearing glasses after cataract surgery

Glasses can play an important part in your recovery following cataract surgery recovery as your eye behind to heal and adjust to the new lens that has been fitted.

How long should you wear dark glasses after cataract surgery?

After your surgery, your doctor may recommend that you wear dark sunglasses to help your eyes to heal and adjust to their new lens that has been inserted into the eye as part of the surgery. You’ll notice that your eyes are particularly sensitive to light during this period, so it’s important to wear a good quality pair of dark sunglasses (even on cloudy days) to block out bright light and minimise glare. You may need to wear these sunglasses throughout the healing process (3-8 weeks), and afterwards whenever your eyes feel particularly sensitive. 

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Do you still need to wear glasses after cataract surgery?

In general, most people experience a significant improvement in their vision following cataract surgery. Whether or not you will still need to wear glasses after surgery can depend on a number of factors, including: the type of lens you have fitted during surgery (whether it’s monofocal or multifocal), your prescription beforehand, your overall eye health, and whether you have an astigmatism. For most people, they will still need to wear glasses for specific activities like reading, regardless of these factors.

Can you wear your old glasses after cataract surgery?

As your vision should improve after surgery, it’s most likely that your old prescription glasses will no longer work for your eyes. That’s why it’s so important to book an eye test with your optician post-surgery so that you can get a new pair of glasses with an updated prescription.

How long should you wait to get new glasses after cataract surgery?

It’s a good idea to wait until six to eight weeks  after your cataract surgery before getting a new pair of glasses — your surgeon will advise you on this. By this point your eyes should be recovered enough, so your optician will be able to make an accurate assessment of your vision, and whether you might still need glasses.

Do you wear contact lenses instead of glasses?

Read our guide on whether you can wear contact lenses after cataract surgery here.

Which glasses are best for after cataracts surgery?

If it happens that you do need to wear glasses after your surgery, there are a number of options for you, depending on your specific needs.

For instance, if you have a monofocal lens fitted during your surgery (which is the case in most NHS procedures), then it might be that you still find it difficult for your eyes to adjust at different distances. In this case, your optician might recommend varifocal lenses to help improve your vision far away, as well as up-close.

Whichever style of frames you decide on for your new glasses, we recommend also getting lenses with a sun tint and UV treatment or polarising lenses to keep your sensitive eyes protected against UV damage. If your eyes are particularly sensitive, you might find that a pair of prescription sunglasses or even reactions lenses may suit you best. Reactions lenses darken or lighten automatically in different lighting conditions — saving you the trouble of switching between glasses for different environments. Your optician will be able to give you more information on the best glasses for you post-surgery.

Looking for more information on cataracts glasses? Head over to the cataracts hub to learn more about the condition. Need a little inspiration? Visit our #LoveGlasses blog for more useful tips on choosing glasses.

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