/ Climbing after cataract surgery

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Ben Farley - on 12 Jun 2017
I have recently discovered that I have cataracts in both eyes and will be having them removed soon. I'm not especially elderly (just turned 43) and am a little unsure about my options.

Obviously I shall be losing the lenses in both eyes and they will be replaced by some form of implant, but there seems to be quite a range of opinion on which implants are best. Currently my sight is very good and I don't wear glasses, but it seems that I need to decide whether to have implants that are fixed to focus at long distance, or implants that are fixed at a close up focus. The optician explained that most people choose a long distance focus and then wear glasses for anything close up (e.g. reading) but it seems that some people with a longer distance focus lens really struggle to see anything under six foot away without glasses. I spend so much time outdoors running and climbing and I'd really rather not wear glasses for general use, but I need to be able to see crappy little footholds and stuff too.

So, has anyone on here got experience of climbing after cataract surgery? If so, how have you found it? What lenses did you choose, can you see awful footholds without glasses? Many thanks.
Dave Musgrove - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to Ben Farley:

I've had both mine done with long distance lenses. I do wear glasses for very close work and reading but I've not noticed any problem with climbing, even in poor light.
Ben Farley - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to Dave Musgrove:

Thank you, that's reassuring. I'm probably just stressing a bit, but I guess its just because of the imminent sudden change in my eyesight. I'm used to not wearing glasses or having any difficulty with seeing stuff whilst climbing and running and simply worried about any change. Thanks again.
Jon Stewart - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to Ben Farley:
Very young for cataracts. If currently your sight is very good, why are you having the cataracts done?

If you have both done and go for any option other than a straight forward distance lens in each eye, then you're entering a game of compromise, trading off a bit of clarity of your distance vision for a bit of convenience of not having to specs on for something closer.

There is possibly a good argument for having one distance lens implant in the dominant eye, and the non-dominant eye left with a prescription of say -0.50 to -0.75. This wouldn't have too much affect on your distance vision but could give better vision around the distance of 1-2m which could be useful in the outdoors.

Much the simplest option where you know what you'll get is the simple distance lens implants in both eyes. You still have the option of trying many different types of contact lenses to get a good compromise for specific activities (putting lens in one eye just for climbing might do the trick - but the point is with contacts you can try loads of options without having any of them left permanently inside your eyeball).

My personal opinion is to think very very carefully before having kind of multifocal lens implant*.

Hope that's reasonably helpful, happy to explain more.

Jon (optom)

*(edit) not offered by NHS as far as I know, so maybe not in the equation?
Post edited at 22:17
Ben Farley - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Thank you for taking the time Jon, thats very useful information. I shall continue to find out more about the options. Your comments about multifocal lenses echo what I have read elsewhere, thank you for the honesty.
What I meant about my eyesight being very good is that I can see well both far and close up and don't have any issues with actual focusing. One eye is starting to go cloudy on one side and I really struggle with bright light which is very disorientating outside. Sunny days are very hard work, contrast is difficult but if indoors I have no problems at all. I simply went for an eyetest and was instantly booked in for surgery. Hadn't even considered not getting them removed immediately.
Post edited at 07:38
strudles - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to Ben Farley:

Hi Ben,

I've also recently been diagnosed with an early developing cataract in my right eye and I'm 38 :-/

I've also recently gone long sighted in the same eye so that I need reading glasses

I guess i might also need an op in a few years depending on how it develops, a bit worrying for my climbing !

Currently due to my poor right eye I can't really focus on anything closer than 20cms but it's not impacted climbing at all.

Would be good to know what you decide and how it works out !

Ben Farley - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to strudles:

I reckon I wil go for the long sight lenses, seems sensible. My cataracts are developing pretty rapidly, with noticable change over the course of a few weeks and I'm finding it really hard to see well in sunlight with my left, so hopefully the first operation will be soonish.
yorkshireman - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to Ben Farley:
I had a cataract removed in the left eye about 14 months ago and I hadn't long turned 40 so interesting to see this is affecting many others at a young-ish age.

I had a long-distance lens but was never given the option (I had the surgery done in France, not sure if there's different theory etc on it here) but given the choice I would much rather not need glasses when running, climbing, biking skiing etc so would have taken it anyway. I work all day in front of a computer and don't find wearing glasses in this setting a big deal (I can skimp by without since the unaffected eye is almost perfect but its much more tiring).

The biggest problem I found was not being allowed to do any sport for 3-4 weeks afterwards for risk of rupturing the stitches etc. Since I run 6 times a week on top of anything else I was climbing the walls (metaphorically only unfortunately).

I had to have general anaestetic because apparently the cateract was exceptionally thick (I couldn't see anything but light patches through my left eye at the end) but I can reassure you that the recovery is exceptionally straightforward assuming you follow doctor's orders. I had the dressing off the next day and apart from taking it easy was pretty much back to normal in 2 days (I took the excuse to not work for a few days though )

> So, has anyone on here got experience of climbing after cataract surgery? If so, how have you found it? What lenses did you choose, can you see awful footholds without glasses? Many thanks.

The lack of clarity isn't really at that level. I can read the words on this screen without glasses through the cataract lens if I sit back about 60cm from the screen. Its not great but for the level of detail you need for outdoor activities I think you'll be fine.

Best of luck!
Post edited at 13:29
Ben Farley - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to yorkshireman:

Whoah, no sport for 3-4 weeks? Really? That is going to make me think long and hard about when I get these done. A single day off is hard enough to deal with.

Other than that curve ball, thanks for the really reassuring and helpful response. What you have said makes me feel a lot better.

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