The benefit of second eye cataract surgery

Eye (Lond). 1998;12 ( Pt 6):983-9. doi: 10.1038/eye.1998.254.


Purpose/method: We prospectively assessed the binocular functions of 50 patients before and after second eye cataract surgery to determine whether limiting cataract surgery to the first eye was justified or not.

Results: After the first cataract operation 88% of operated eyes had a visual acuity of 6/12 or better but only 52% met the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) driving standard for visual acuity and field. Following second eye cataract surgery, visual acuity of the second eye was better than the first in 42% of patients. Moreover, 60% of patients had an improved binocular visual acuity after their second eye operation. Ocular dominance changed in 44% of cases. Stereo acuity improved from 32% after first eye surgery to 90% after second eye surgery. Binocular horizontal field of vision improved by 20 degrees or more in 54% of patients and binocular vertical field of vision improved in 36% after second eye surgery. The proportion of patients meeting the DVLA driving standard improved from 52% after first eye surgery to 86% after second eye surgery.

Conclusions: Surgery on the second eye for cataract improves binocular function and enables a greater proportion of patients to meet the DVLA driving standard by expanding their horizontal field.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driver Examination
  • Cataract Extraction / methods*
  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Depth Perception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vision, Binocular*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Fields