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Cataract - lens and distance choices

I would love to ask advice from my fellow metalsmiths. My cataracts are getting worse. Surgery can no longer be avoided.

If you had cataract surgery done, would you please share what focal distance and what lenses you chose and if you are happy with the outcome?

So far, I saw one doctor and he was pushing the premium multi focal lens. Not much information was given. I am concerned that multi-focal lenses might not be the best option for a jewelry maker because of the loss of contrast.

I would love to find a doctor who is willing to consider the special vision needs we as metalsmiths and jewelry makers have for our work. And yes, I am rather nervous about the surgery. I need to be able to work a few more years.

I would like to add that I have been nearsighted all my life and have a bit of astigmatism (OD -2.75, -0.5, 145, +2.5
OS -1.5, -1.25, 165, +2.5).

Having to choose between far and near vision is a big decision. Not sure what would be best. If I could get near and intermediate vision without eyeglasses, I would go for that, but it seems like both cannot be had.

I heard about mini monovision and that it is working well for a lot of people. It would be good to know if that works for jewelry makers as well.

And finally, if you are in the Seattle area, I would love to get a recommendation for a good eye surgeon.

This topic was discussed recently. I know, because I prompted it. My second eye surgery was 2 weeks ago and I am waiting to see my eye doctor to be fitted with new lenses once my recovery settles down. I have a lot of astigmatism. This is not an uncommon condition. As a result, my distance vision was not completely fixed, but my close vision is fine, or so the doctor who did the surgery says. I am a medicare/BCBS patient and I have no illusions about this surgery and selected the common lens solution. I fully expect to need glasses when I am done. I told the doctor that , if there was a trade off, I needed to be able to correct my close vision and I am happy to wear glasses that will allow me to do this even if I need a special pair just for working at my bench. My insurance won’t pay for special surgical lenses and I am not sure that they would be worth the expense. Talk to your doctors and let them know what you want when you are done. It is an interesting process to go through, but I am glad to be done. Good luck…Rob

I had cataract surgeries in my 40’s. First my left eye and then 18 months later, my right eye. (Work related chemical exposure) I have less than 20/20 because I didn’t know we could correct to that…later when I asked my doctor he said ‘I had always worn glasses…’ so I don’t know about choosing. But I can say, do it! The difference in my sight was miraculous! Now I have to wear bifocals but back then I didn’t need them.

Each eye has a different focal point. I don’t know why, I just accepted it and my brain adjusted for it. The brain is an amazing organ. I’ve had multiple eye surgeries for cataracts, torn retina, a retina peel, and a glaucoma shunt placement. And a few weeks ago I had to have the shunt site repaired. So far so good. My close sight is good and I generally work without glasses on and use a magnifier if needed when doing bench work. But when working on the lapidary equipment I wear my glasses and an optivisor to work on the finer wheels.

Hi. I live in Seattle. I’ve had new lenses since 2012. Result of detached retinas. Long story. I have a cornea/ lens doc that has been amazing over the course of 11 years. He performed a cornea transplant in 2020. Dr. Walter Rotkis. Ophthalmic Consultants Northwest. I am still youngish and very much working in the studio and teaching as well.
I have always liked my natural vision for close up work. So I asked them to approximate what I had. Worked for me.

Andy Cooperman.

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…

My husband and I both had cataract surgery a number of years ago. We chose to pay extra for lens that would work well for our eyes.
He wanted to be able to work at a microscope and then read or write at the desk without needing glasses. He is delighted.
I am very nearsighted and had astigmatism and wanted to retain that short focal length. One eye has a 2” longer focal length than the other. I can see well at the bench with an optivisor. But I need glasses to drive. I am very happy with my decision.
Talk to your provider and insurer. Describe what the most important things are. We all dream of throwing away our glasses - sigh.

I had both eyes corrected about 10 years ago. At that time my ophthalmologist was recommending multi-focal or accommodating lenses. The suggestion sounded great, but I was skeptical. My online research and talking to someone who upgraded convinced me not to get them. Like you, I was very nearsighted. I tried out contact lenses that simulated mono vision, but realized they reduced my visual acuity for distance, my glasses provide better distance vision. I decided to have my dominant eye set for a middle distance (computer screen distance) and my non-dominant eye set for close vision. Like you, I thought about this a long time and did a lot of research. I’m very happy with my decision, my only regret would be not having my non dominant eye set for even closer vision. If it’s possible, ask your ophthalmologist to provide contact lenses to simulate the choices you are considering. Good luck and please share your decision.


Hello Bree,
I have worked in ophthalmology and optometry in the South Sound for a long time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution because everyone is different, but I encourage you to get it done, you’ll wish you had done it sooner. I suggest trying to get an appointment with Andrew Kopstein MD., now with K2 Vision. I’m not positive he is still doing regular cataract surgery, but he is a master of his craft and will give you the best solution possible. Tell him Renee referred you. Best Wishes!

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