Purpose: To compare two methods of postoperative dressing regimen: patching vs "instant vision" without patch.
Design: Prospective randomized clinical trial.
Methods: Sixty consecutive hospitalized, nonambulatory patients with cataract surgery under topical anesthesia on both eyes at different days were enrolled prospectively. In randomized order, one eye was patched for the first 24 hours postoperatively; the other eye was left open without patch to obtain "instant vision." Both eyes received the same anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drop therapy.
Results: Twenty-four hours postoperatively, no significant differences between patching and "instant vision" could be found for corrected and uncorrected visual acuity, corneal epithelial defects, conjunctival inflammation, anterior chamber flare, and intraocular pressure (P > .05). During the first 24 hours postoperatively, all tear film parameters were significantly worse in the "instant vision" eyes (P < .001), indicating a transient tear film instability. During the first four hours after cataract surgery, pain scores in the "instant vision" eyes were significantly higher than in the patched eyes (P < .001). Eight hours postoperatively and later, there were no significant differences in any pain scores (P > .05). After experiencing both methods, 27% of the patients subjectively rated the two methods as equivalent; 8% of the patients preferred "instant vision." Despite of the benefits of immediately improved orientation, 65% of the tested patients preferred patching to "instant vision" because of lower pain and foreign body sensations and psychologic arguments.
Conclusions: The clinical examinations showed that both methods were equally safe for postoperative therapy. However, further efforts have to be made to increase the patients' comfort with "instant vision" in the first hours after cataract surgery.