How Vision Therapy Can Improve Your Vision After Cataract Surgery
Most people don't experience perfect vision immediately after cataract surgery. Although a person's eyesight soon improves in many cases, some people still struggle with vision issues weeks or months after surgery. If you're feeling a little discouraged about your progress after cataract surgery, vision therapy may help resolve your vision problems.
Why It Can Be Difficult to See Well After Cataract Surgery
Most people have cataracts for years before their eye doctors recommend surgery. During those years, the brain gradually gets used to viewing the world through cloudy lenses. After your lenses are replaced with crystal clear lens implants, your brain must completely change the way it processes and interprets the information it receives from the eyes. Although your eyes may be perfectly capable of seeing clearly, it takes your brain some time to catch up.
In the meantime, you may struggle with:
- Halos Around Lights
- Double Vision
- Blurry Vision
- Poor Night Vision
- Problems with Depth Perception or Contrast Sensitivity
Your vision struggles may be worse if you've been living with an undetected, undiagnosed vision disorder for years. Strabismus, also called crossed eyes, is one of several conditions that could complicate your recovery.
The disorder, commonly called "crossed eyes" affects five to 15 million Americans, according to a StatPearls article. You could have strabismus even though your eyes look fine, as even slight misalignments can affect vision.
If you have strabismus, you may have been unconsciously using strategies to see better, like tilting your head when reading. After cataract surgery, the combination of the eye disorder and the new demands on the brain could combine to cause vision issues, even though you didn't notice a problem before.
How Vision Therapy Can Help
Vision therapy retrains the brain and helps it process the information it receives more accurately and efficiently. The therapy is performed in the office of a vision therapist, an optometrist who has received special training in vision therapy tools and techniques.
Let's say you're struggling with diplopia, or double vision, after cataract surgery. You may see two of everything or notice a ghost image. Ghost images are faint images that appear just behind the primary image. Seeing double isn't just annoying. Your vision problem can cause dizziness and headaches and make it difficult to drive, read, or watch TV. Double vision can also affect your sense of balance and increase your risk for a serious fall.
You may be experiencing double vision because your eyes are struggling to work together or are sending slightly different information to the brain. During vision therapy, your vision therapist may suggest prism lenses, a type of eyeglass lens that changes the way light bends when it enters your eyes. Prism lenses keep images perfectly aligned, ensuring that both eyes send similar information to the brain.
You may also work on eye teaming by calling out the colors you see as a small ball on swings in front of you. You'll also participate in other hands-on (or eyes-on) activities during therapy. Your therapy plan might involve light therapy in addition to playing video or virtual reality games that make fine-tuning your vision fun. For example, you might improve your night vision by playing a video game that involves finding stars in the night sky.
No matter what type of vision problem you have after cataract surgery, your vision therapist can design a treatment plan to help enhance your eyesight.
Are you struggling with vision problems after cataract surgery? Contact our office to schedule an exam and consultation with the vision therapist.
NCBI: StatPearls: Strabismus, 11/13/2023
American Academy of Ophthalmology: Cataract Surgery Recovery: Exercising, Driving and Other Activities, 8/18/2022
WebMD: What to Expect from Cataract Surgery, 9/1/2023
American Academy of Ophthalmology: 10 Cataract Surgery Side Effects, And How to Cope, 5/3/2023