Purpose: To assess the impact of cataract surgery on low vision patients.
Methods: Self-estimated ability to perform visually demanding tasks before and after cataract surgery and expectations and satisfaction with the surgery were analysed in all low-vision patients (n = 52), who during a one-year period underwent surgery at Norrlands University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden. Self-administered questionnaires were used and the records of the patients were studied.
Results: The majority (81%) of the low vision patients reported an improved ability to perform visually demanding tasks after surgery. The number of patients who were unable to read newspaper-size print decreased significantly, from 44% to 21% after surgery. The subjectively improved visual ability as well as the augmentation of VA of the operated eye were both significantly related to satisfaction with the outcome of surgery.
Conclusion: Most low-vision patients with significant cataract benefit from surgery, both subjectively by increased ability to perform visually demanding tasks as well as by an improved visual acuity. Particularly patients with loss of peripheral visual fields subjectively gain in orientation ability. It is important to reduce unreasonable expectations about the outcome of the surgery.