Dry Eyes and Cataract Surgery

A recent study has shown that taking care of dry eye syndrome before cataract surgery provides patients not only with more comfortable eyes but also better vision after surgery[1].

When the normally clear lens within your eye becomes cloudy and opaque, it is called a cataract. At some point, a cataract will blur your vision enough that it will start to interfere with your daily activities. When this happens, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) who may recommend the surgical removal of the cataract. During cataract surgery, the old cloudy lens is removed and an intraocular lens implant is inserted in your eye to serve as a new lens. 

Since the incidence of dry eyes and cataracts both increase with age, it is no surprise that four out of five cataract patients may have moderate to severe dry eye[2], but many do not know it. When a person has dry eyes, the measurements taken prior to surgery that determine the strength of the intraocular lens implants can be highly variable and as a result, inaccurate. Treating and managing dry eye even for four to six weeks prior to a consultation with the ophthalmologist can lead to better quality measurements and better surgical outcomes. 

Since many people have dry eye syndrome without symptoms, be sure to discuss the possibility of dry eyes with your optometrist before you have cataract surgery. 

[1] Epitropoulos AT, Matossian C, Berdy GJ, et al. The effect of tear osmolarity on repeatability of keratometry for cataract surgery planning. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2015 Aug;41(8):1672-7
[2] Trattler WB. Prevalence of dry eye in surgical populations; ASCRS Eyeworld CME Supplement; October 2013

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