Dizziness, but not falls rate, improves after routine cataract surgery: the role of refractive and spectacle changes

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2016 Mar;36(2):183-90. doi: 10.1111/opo.12243. Epub 2015 Nov 9.


Purpose: To determine whether dizziness and falls rates change due to routine cataract surgery and to determine the influence of spectacle type and refractive factors.

Methods: Self-reported dizziness and falls were determined in 287 patients (mean age of 76.5 ± 6.3 years, 55% females) before and after routine cataract surgery for the first (81, 28%), second (109, 38%) and both eyes (97, 34%). Dizziness was determined using the short-form of the Dizziness Handicap Inventory. Six-month falls rates were determined using self-reported retrospective data.

Results: The number of patients with dizziness reduced significantly after cataract surgery (52% vs 38%; χ(2) = 19.14(,) p < 0.001), but the reduction in the number of patients who fell in the 6-months post surgery was not significant (23% vs 20%; χ(2) = 0.87, p = 0.35). Dizziness improved after first eye surgery (49% vs 33%, p = 0.01) and surgery on both eyes (58% vs 35%, p < 0.001), but not after second eye surgery (52% vs 45%, p = 0.68). Multivariate logistic regression analyses found significant links between post-operative falls and change in spectacle type (increased risk if switched into multifocal spectacles). Post-operative dizziness was associated with changes in best eye visual acuity and changes in oblique astigmatic correction.

Conclusions: Dizziness is significantly reduced by first (or both) eye cataract surgery and this is linked with improvements in best eye visual acuity, although changes in oblique astigmatic correction increased dizziness. The lack of improvement in falls rate may be associated with switching into multifocal spectacle wear after surgery.

Keywords: astigmatism; cataract surgery; dizziness; falls; multifocals; refractive correction.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cataract / complications*
  • Cataract Extraction* / statistics & numerical data
  • Dizziness / epidemiology*
  • Dizziness / etiology
  • Eyeglasses*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Refractive Errors / complications
  • Refractive Errors / etiology
  • Refractive Errors / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity