Friday, September 23, 2011

Shadows and Lights after Cataract Surgery

Question: I have a question about seeing shadows and flashing lights after my cataract surgery. Six months ago my vision starting being blurry in my left eye. I am 43 years old and have diabetes. I went to see the doctor and after several months of evaluating my eye, they decided I had an oil drop cataract. Ten days ago they did the cataract surgery which was uneventful. The day after the surgery I started noticing a shadow on the outside corner of my eye. I also noticed that when I was in any area with overhead lighting I would have a flashing sensation on the left outside corner of my eye. It is sort of like a ceiling fan rotating with a light source behind it. I had my post-op follow-up three days ago and the doctor says it will go away. Now, I am ten days out of surgery, my eye sight has not improved at all and I have added these two new problems. I called the doctor and he saw me again today, but says I should continue to give it time. I am very frustrated with this answer. The surgery seems to have been totally unsuccessful and now I have these other problems. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

Answer: Assuming that the health of your Retina is normal and has not been compromised by the diabetes, what you are describing as shadows and a flashing sensation from overhead lights may very well simply be your visual adaptation to some of the optical effects of having a Lens Implant. There are a number of visual symptoms called "dysphotopsia" that are experienced by some Cataract patients whereby they sense odd light reflections, shadows and in some cases a temporary darkening of their vision as they adapt to the new optical and visual system that results from a Lens Implant after Cataract Surgery. In the vast majority of patients who do experience this-although it can be terribly annoying-it is temporary and passes over some time. That time can be as short as a couple of weeks or for some patients can extend for a few months-but patients do adapt to it. In the very rare instance of patients not adapting to the optical effect, it is sometimes recommended to have a lens implant exchange with a different style and shape of lens implant. Your best course of action is to follow the advice of your Cataract Surgeon.

Important Note: The information presented on the About Cataract Surgery Blog or provided in response to a request for information in the Ask Cataract Surgeons section on is not intended to diagnose or treat eye problems, eye conditions or eye diseases including appropriateness of treatment, risks, complications or side effects as related to Cataracts, Cataract Surgery of Lens Implants. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask Cataract Surgeons section of is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.

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