Question: I am 50 years old and had cataract surgery and lens implants in both eyes-the first eye in mid-November and the second eye in mid-December. I was very nearsighted before the cataracts were removed and wore gas permeable contact lenses and glasses on top to read. My cataract operation was done so that I have a slight Monovision with my left eye slightly near sighted to be more for close up, but I still have to wear readers, and the right eye is set for distance. I can see okay but my eyes constantly feel tired and ache and feel scratchy like they used to when I wore contacts and needed to take them out and put my glasses on to give my eyes a rest. Is this typical and does it go away? I am using steroid eye drops and artificial tear drops which don't seem to make any difference. Why do my eyes feel like this if I can see okay?
Answer: While it is impossible to know exactly what you are experiencing without an examination, there are some possible reasons that may be considered.
The symptoms that you describe of eye fatigue, aching and especially scratchiness are typically associated with problems of the surface of the eye and/or the tear film itself or both. Dry eyes after Cataract Surgery is a relatively common finding itself. Further, long term wear of rigid gas permeable contact lenses does temporarily cause some changes to the eye surface and its ability to retain a stable tear film. Additionally some of the drops that you are using may also have preservatives that could cause instability of the tear film and dry eye symptoms such as you describe.
Last, you age and any associated hormonal changes might further increase the chances that you have a dry eye and poor tear film. Any one of these factors alone or in combination might lead to the dry eye symptoms that you complain of. It might seem that the artificial tears should help, but this may or not be the case depending on the cause and whether those artificial tears have preservatives. Your best course of action is to fully discuss your symptoms with your Cataract Surgeon and ask for help in alleviating them. If they are in fact due to problems with the ocular surface an/or tear film itself there are a number of treatment options that might be recommended above and beyond artificial tear drops that could be prescribed by your Cataract Surgeon to help you with your symptoms.
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 www.aboutcataractsurgery.com 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 www.aboutcataractsurgery.com 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.