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Eye and Vision Care

Loss of Acuity After Detached Retina

01/08/2010

Question:

I had surgery to repair a detached retina 4 years ago. My surgeon told me that I should wait about 6 months before ordering new glasses to give my eye a chance to heal and settle to its new vision level. Since then, that same eye has continued to lose acuity for both distace and reading very quickly requiring new lenses every 6 months - much faster and much worse than the other eye. My optometrist told me that they cannot put 2 different strengths reading lenses in my glasses because it will create a sense of being off-balance. I have 2 questions: Will my "bad" eye continue to change for the worse so much and so often or is there something else wrong? How can I get my vision corrected if I can`t get two different strengths in my glasses for reading? Right now I can only read with my "good" eye and it is very bothersome and causes headaches.

Answer:

I obviously cannot make any specific recommendations without examining you.

But I can say, in general, that it is very common for your vision to change after eye surgery, especially retinal surgery. If the central part of your retina (the macula) was affected, you probably will never get good 20/20 vision in that eye. And large differences between the two eyes (called anisometropia: an-EYE-so-me-TRO-pee-a) can cause good binocular ("two-eyed") vision to be nearly impossible.

Ask your eye doctor if the vision in your operated eye will ever get better than it is right now. If not, you will need to accept the fact that your healthy un-operated eye will always be your dominant eye and will, therefore, need to be corrected with glasses for both distance and near vision. The operated eye can then be given a cosmetic lens prescription that will not provide any useful vision for you. With this treatment, the "bad" eye is only used for side vision, and the "good" eye is used for all critical seeing tasks. 

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Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University