Cataract Surgery Patients Dislike 'Instant Vision'

Researchers find that most patients prefer to wear a patch for 24 hours after surgery

FRIDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- About two-thirds of elderly patients who undergo bilateral cataract surgery prefer postoperative patching to the current standard practice of "instant vision," according to a report published in the March issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Eva Stifter, M.D., of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, and colleagues studied 60 elderly, hospitalized non-ambulatory patients who underwent cataract surgery in both eyes on different days. In randomized order, 60 eyes were patched for 24 hours after surgery and 60 eyes were left open.

After 24 hours, the researchers found no differences between patched and open eyes for corrected and uncorrected visual acuity, corneal epithelial defects, conjunctival inflammation, anterior chamber flare and intraocular pressure. Although patients with open eyes reported higher pain scores for the first four hours after surgery, pain scores were the same for both methods after eight hours. Despite instant vision's major benefit -- immediately improved orientation -- only 8 percent of the patients preferred it to patching while 65 percent preferred patching. The remaining 27 percent rated the two methods as equivalent.

"The clinical examinations showed that both methods were equally safe for postoperative therapy," the authors conclude. "However, further efforts have to be made to increase the patients' comfort with 'instant vision' in the first hours after cataract surgery."

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