It can be tough for patients to wait for a new spectacle prescription after cataract surgery, especially those whose uncorrected near vision affects their quality of life. Luckily, new data suggests they only need to wait two weeks.

Researchers in Australia studied 86 post-op cataract surgery patients, starting on day one, to confirm just how long it takes for vision to stabilize after the procedure. They recorded the patients’ subjective refraction, automated refraction and central corneal thickness two, four and six weeks after uncomplicated unilateral cataract surgery that included monofocal intraocular lens implantation. At both follow-up visits, they also asked participants to complete a questionnaire that assessed the impact of uncorrected near vision on their daily activities.

The researchers found refraction, both subjective and automated, didn’t change significantly over the six-week study period, and neither did mean corneal thickness or mean uncorrected distance and near visual acuities. By the two-week follow-up, 59% of patients felt their uncorrected near vision was affecting their ability to perform daily tasks—the percentage jumped to 75% by the four-week follow-up.

“All measured visual and ocular parameters were stable from two weeks post-operatively,” the study concludes. “Patients need not wait longer than this for spectacle prescription following uncomplicated unilateral cataract surgery.”

McNamara P, Hutchinson I, Thornell E, et al. Refractive stability following uncomplicated cataract surgery. Clin Exp Optom. 2019;102(2):154-59.