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Ask the Expert: After cataract surgery, what will I be able to do without glasses? (part one)

Answers by Mitchell Gossman, MD, an ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota, located in St. Cloud

After cataract surgery, what will I be able to do without glasses: Part 1.

You’ve been told you have cataracts and have decided to consider surgery. A good thing to bring to your appointment is an idea of what type of vision you want to have afterward. Of course, you want to see better, but an important question is, “what will I be able to see when my glasses aren’t on?”

The first thing to determine is, what can you do without glasses on now? These are the possibilities:

1. You can see just fine in the distance, and mostly need glasses to read. This means you are “presbyopic”.

2. You need glasses to see in the distance, but can remove your glasses and read up close without them. This means you are near-sighted.

3. You see poorly in the distance, and even worse up close without glasses. This means you’re likely far-sighted.

When surgery is done, you can create a situation where your vision is clear at a selected distance when your glasses are off. Hardly anyone chooses to be far-sighted since there’s no useful vision at any distance without glasses! These are the most important options:

1. You can choose to have good distance vision, understanding that you will need glasses to see up close. If you’re currently able to read without glasses, you must understand completely that you’ll no longer be able to read without glasses. Having better distance vision is a great thing to have, but you sacrifice the reading vision without glasses. You’ll still be able to read just fine, it’s just that you’ll have to wear reading glasses to do it.

2. You can choose to remain near-sighted after surgery. You’ll be able to read without glasses, but remember, you’ll still need glasses to see in the distance.

Most people choose the distance option, and plan on using glasses to read. However, a significant number of near-sighted people really value their reading without glasses. This may be because distance activities are less important to them as they get older, and they prize their ability to read in bed or the chair without glasses.

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, it’s completely up to you and your eye doctor to decide, but ultimately, it’s your decision.

The most important thing to remember is that if you choose the distance route, you’ll need to put on the glasses to read in bed!

What if you want to be able to see far and also read without glasses? That’s possible, and that’s the subject in Part 2 for the next issue.

Find out more

Dr. Mitchell Gossman is a comprehensive ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. The office is located at 628 Roosevelt Road, Suite 101, in St. Cloud. To make an appointment or to learn more, call 320-774-3789 or email

“Ask the Expert” is sponsored content (paid advertising) provided by Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. To learn how your business can promote its products and services like this, contact Sr. Perspective at 320-334-3344.

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