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Recent experience with cataract surgery and lens choices

I was wondering if there are any members out there who have had recent cataract surgery and what choices they made re close up or distance lenses?
I am 76 and have been short sighted from a very young age.
I take my multifocal glasses off to read small print and close jump rings and other really close work.
I am aware there was a lengthy discussion on this topic in 2010 but lenses have probably improved in the last nine or ten years - one would think - hopefully!
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

I am 68 and had surgery 2 years ago. I went with long distant lenses. I don’t like not seeing up close. I can’t lay in bed and read a book without glasses. I have ended up wearing glasses all the time, because I need to see close. Still need magnifiers for doing jewelry on top of my “reading” glasses. I think I would look into the bifocal lenses or go with short sighted lenses. I struggle with the near sighted range.

I have a friend that did the bifocal ones and she loves them. But she is not a jeweler.


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Karlette- I am blind as a bat. I can only see the giant letter at the top of the eye chart. I wear no line trifocal lens on a daily basis. I also make eye glasses.
I wear a 5 power optivisor for metal work and a 10 power for stone setting. I find that bifocals and trifocals don’t work very well for working under magnification. So I went to Costco and bought a cheap pair of eyeglass frames and then had the lens cutters that I use put the close up lower part of the trifocals in the entire lens. They work perfectly at close range with or without the optivisors. However I can only see about 1 foot in front of me with them on. So walking around or going up stairs can be a little hazardous. I keep my single lens work glasses at my bench and use them only when working there or while sewing.
Oh and by the way Costco has such great deals on eye wear and hearing aids that it’s worth paying the price for a membership. Essilor Luxotica has pretty much a world wide monopoly on eye wear and lenses. Good luck with your vision quest. -Jo

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I also had cataract surgery and I also chose the long distance implants. I use progressive lenses in my glasses and also have difficulty with close-up reading and bench work. The doctors insist that my glasses are perfect, but I still have not solved the problem.

I’ve had Two cataract surgeries in a two month period. The next morning after the first surgery, I was at my bench setting stones. My wife said why are you working so fast after your operation? I retorted… “it’s because I can!”…:wink:
I was “legally blind” in the left eye at 20/70, now both eyes are now 20/15. To explain this easier, I was shown a screen of small letters. The screen showed that my eyes are better than perfect!

If I refused the operation, I would be barred from driving!

For your information; the upper Diamond Setting technique is named ”Cut-Down”. Extreme care is expected.

The lower technique is named ”Two-Bead setting”. I know many setters will not attempt to create these designs. Again, I used only my #5 lens

For these two photographs, all I used was my ”Opti-Visor” with a #5 lens.

If it wasn’t for my two Cataract surgeries, I couldn’t entertain the graver cutting!

Gerry, on my iPhone

I had cataract surgery several years ago. I chose focal lengths of about 12 inches for one eye and 14 inches for the other on my doctor’s recommendation. I was extremely short sighted and had to take my glasses off to solder, which was dangerous because I was very close to the torch! I now need glasses to drive but am very happy with the decision. My husband chose the same because he is a microscopist and wants everything on his desk to be in focus.

There is a learning curve though. To read fine print I must move the object away from me to focus instead of pulling it nearer. Took a while to adjust. Gems will be brighter with clearer, more vibrant colour. It is great surgery.



Hi Gerry
First of all congratulations on your beautiful work!

Also thanks for your thoughts - you say you have had two surgeries, what type of lenses did you go for?

Distance or multifocal or one of each?

I am on the Public list in WesternAustralia so I have a fifty fifty chance of getting a progressive lens.

Thanks again


Hi Karen - thanks for that info - would you say your distance vision, as in looking at the stars in the night sky for instance is clear and sharp?


Hi Willie
thanks for your accolades, I enjoy this kind of “easy” setting. My surgeon gets his lenses from the local hardware store…)
He knows what work I do and all he does is put them in!

Gerry, on my iPhone

If you have distance vision, progressive lenses don’t work at the bench. Get regular bifocals.
Judy H

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I have AMD - age related macular disease. My vision has deteriorated recently and have been advised to get evaluated for cataract surgery. I have always had easy distance vision. I long to be able to read without glasses.
Does having different focal length optics from cataract impact your bench work?
Has anyone here had cataract surgery with active wet AMD? Looking for good news and what to avoid please.
Judy Hoch

don’t want to be a nuisance, but all I use now are “dollarama” #1.5 glasses and my Opti-visor #5 lens.

Gerry, on my iPhone

Hi Willie,
Yes, as long as I am wearing my glasses! Some people get one lens for long and one for close up. I really need good close vision.



Hi Gerry sorry to be a pain but you have not told me if your lenses are distance ones, or close up vision or one of each.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Willie (and everybody)
You’re not a pain, I’m the pain!
In fact, for my pain I’m taking weekly lower-back injections & 3 times a day “government controlled” Opioids.

When I read your last email I was quickly feeling the Opioid-effects (zz’s) and didn’t read your letter correctly! My sincerest apologies.;(

My eye-sight is 100% great for distance, but for ultra (setting) close-up I use the regular ‘over-the-counter’

…’readers’ with a magnification of only 1.25 or 1.50!

Does this help you?

Gerry, on my iPhone

Judy I have wet AMD and cataracts. Unfortunately my right eye deteriorated over 3 weeks to virtually no useful sight. This eye has very little cataract. However my left eye was bad and I had an operation which gave me perfect long vision for driving. I have had a lot of difficulty working at my bench with only one working eye. I had a commission for a pair of simple no stone earrings and it took me 20 to get 2 good ones. I was in a very dark place. What I decided to do was get out my college notes and the brass and copper rings, piercing etc and went through everything quickly, with one eye that I originally did with two. Initially I sawed pulling to the right. Soldering the flame was either missing the target or melting it. By re doing my classes from over 35 years ago has got me back almost up to speed, I’m still a bit slow and still make an odd mistake but I’m back. I use two optivisers, a No4 and a No7 I also have 2.5 and 3 over the counter spectacles and alternate as required. I’ve also found safety goggles with a 3x half moon inset in them good for polishing and drilling etc. Contact me if I can help and all the best. It’s hard but you can win :heart:

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Oh and another thing about glasses and eye surgery. Here is something to consider. If you get your eye lens or your glasses with one lens for close up and one lens for distance you will have to use only one eye when using a microscope. If you are young the thought of eventually using a microscope is pretty far from your mind, but believe me if you stay in the trade for decades eventually a microscope will be your best friend. As we age most folks develop presbyopia the loss of close vision. Often in middle age around 40. That’s why you often see older people holding things like menus and books away from their eyes to read. It gets harder and harder to see and do close work. Thus the need for stronger magnification. I can’t find my own ass with both hands without a 5 power optivisor. -Jo

Hi Karen,
Why did your doctor specify 12 and 14 inch focal distances and which distance went to your dominant eye? Why not do both eyes in 12 inches or both in 14 inches? Do you still use optivisors or some additional magnification when working? Also, for regular wear, are you using progressive lens in your glasses, assuming that you need distance correction. Thanks for sharing. Donna

Oh Gerry I can feel for your back. After a car accident in 2010 I’ve had really bad back problems. I’ve done small shots like you, and graduated up to the steroids injected straight into your spine. That worked short run of 1 year doing 3 injections over a month. Then it was starting up again so off I trotted to get the steroid up the spine again. This time I had a bad reaction. No amount of physical therapy helped much and the last time actually made it worse. THEN I FOUND A SOLUTION! Radio frequency denervation was a dream. They use fine probes to go in and find the major nerve endings and via radio frequency burn the nerve endings. Eventually things will go back to what it was, but its held for nearly a year now. Most dont know that those steroid injections you get in joints and back have a long term bad effect. They eventually will soften the bone in those areas.

Sorry for side tracking the cataract lens discussion. I got my first pair of glasses last year. My eyes are the only thing normal about me.


I had cataract surgery a year ago. I asked to have lenses so I could see up close without glasses. I am so glad I made this choice. I wear glasses to watch tv and drive. This is basically the way my sight had been before my cataracts. My eye surgeon said if she had to choose she would make the same choice. (All her work is close us.) Eye doctors prefer use a one size fits all approach. You may have to do some persuading. Good Luck