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Cataract surgery and model flying.

Is that a model or a dirty splodge on my glasses?

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Scott Edwards 230/09/2017 11:42:23
185 forum posts
96 photos

I'm would be really interested in anyones experience of having cataract surgery, and its effect on flying models?

I'm waiting to have mine done, and have now had to stop flying as I'm simply not safe. Often when flying gliders, particularly in bright sunlight, they would just turn into fuzzy blobs

If you've had cataract surgery, what lenses did you choose? How long was it before you could fly again? Any problems or different choices you would make? Any personal experience very much appreciated.

Colin Carpenter30/09/2017 12:09:17
577 forum posts
35 photos

Scott. I had cataract surgery on both eyes 15-16 years ago and was able to choose lenses that meant no specs for day to day use. Sight is still better than all those years with specs since aged 7 ! No problems since and although I wouldn't say focus is pin sharp at vast distance its still good enough for toy planes . I can still drive at night and many folk say they can't after surgery. All positive. Still need cheap readers cos close focus goes after surgery ! Good sight was immediately afterwards. Colin

Edited By Colin Carpenter on 30/09/2017 12:10:07

Edited By Colin Carpenter on 30/09/2017 12:10:57

ken anderson.30/09/2017 12:21:24
8481 forum posts
773 photos

hello aunt has had both of her eyes done recently and has stopped using glasses,which she previous had for years..... she was in and out(done) in an hour at the RVI Newcastle upon Tyne. Three massive cheers for the NHS people involved.....

ken eyes dept.

Former Member30/09/2017 13:14:50

[This posting has been removed]

Robin Etherton30/09/2017 13:39:18
271 forum posts
41 photos


I had the misfortune of cutting my eye in half when an early OS four stroke threw a prop. This was over 20 years ago and consequently had to have the lens replaced.

Do you understand the mechanics of the eye? Usually the lens is attached to the socket by an annular muscle which makes the lens thicker or thinner by contracting thus altering the focal length and allows you to see up close.

When you have the lens replaced all the muscle is cut away and the lens just sits in the space. Consequently you loose the abilty to focus. I.e. you have fixed focus sight. Sound a bit scary but when your sight is corrected for distance you only need to correct for reading.

If you were short sighted before the surgery it is possible to get a lens fitted which corrects your sight so you can see sharply at distance. Most people don’t realise this and miss an opportunity.

However it is not an exact science and you may end up slightly long or short sighted.

I was lucky in that after being short sighted for over 30 years I woke up after the op with near perfect sight in one eye.

I still wear a lens in the other eye to keep it in shape but still have better than 20/20 vision in both eyes.

The driving at night issue whre the street light appear fuzzy can still occur after lens replacement as the skin can grow back over the replacement lens. This can be cleared by laser treatment.

One thing you will find is that because you pupils will no longer contract in sunlight you will need to wear sunglasses when you are flying and in fact at all times when it is sunny.

Buy the best pair you can afford which cut the glare but not the light coming through. I use Ray Bans.

Hope this helps. Sound daunting but infinitly better than being blind.


Martin Dance 130/09/2017 14:54:48
202 forum posts
33 photos

I've had both eyes done, the first about five years ago. This was might right eye. Prior to the op if I was flying and closed my left eye the model disappeared! Not ideal.My left eye was done this year and now my sight is really very good. I had significant astigmatism in my left eye and immediately before the op was offered an alternative lens that would correct this condition, unfortunately not funded by the NHS. However a little additional surgery during the cataract op has improved the eye significantly.

BTW unless you are VERY scared of surgery have the op done under a local aneasthetic its quite an interesting experience and allowsyou appreciate the skill of the surgeon,

Colin Carpenter30/09/2017 15:51:51
577 forum posts
35 photos

Too right !! Especially when the 4 foot needle goes into the corner of your eye !😨 The anaesthetic wore off on the second op when the antibiotic needle was going in !!😨 Different but not as bad as a colonoscopy ! Colin

Engine Doctor30/09/2017 16:32:15
2341 forum posts
28 photos

I had both my eyes done about three years ago.  Brilliant. I opted for distance lenses and distance vision is now good . I can see the sun and that's 93,000,000 miles away !!!. Seriously it has made a world of difference and models can easily bee seen now. If you need glasses wait a few weeks before getting new a new prescription. Your distance vision should be good as soon as the op is finished and reading or close up work can be done using cheap glasses from supermarket. I have recently had new prescription glasses and the optician tweeked my distance vision a bit so flying is now great. Good luck 

Graham R30/09/2017 17:59:58
313 forum posts
24 photos

Hi Scott,

I had my 1st eye done 15 months ago and my 2nd just before Christmas last year. They were done because I suffer with glaucoma. I had distance lens fitted. My optician now rates my vision as 20/20. Not bad for a pensioner. All I need now for real close work is a cheap pair from Poundland. As for flying, no problem at all. You will find that you will need a good pair of sunglasses as everything is so much brighter. As for the operation - as Martin said have a local anaesthetic, you can chat to the surgeons while your having it done. Operation is usually over within 45minutes.

Cuban830/09/2017 18:01:45
2810 forum posts
1 photos

Quite a few of my club mates have had cataracts treated and all have bounced back with no problems after a short recovery period. I wonder whether our hobby and its requirement to spend hours looking into the sky (UV) makes us prone to problems?

I'm short sighted and now I'm getting on a bit, require readers, but my vision (corrected) is excellent and I have my eyes checked regularly. Even if you don't need specs, have an eye exam from time to time to check for cataracts and other ailments that can be corrected easily if caught early on.

Peter Miller30/09/2017 19:24:02
10331 forum posts
1231 photos
10 articles

A clubmate had his done and had distance lenses fitted. He can now fly his gliders happily.

I have cataracts in both eyes, the right one is the worst. I have not had them done because I have the expensive kind (quote from my optician) which are not misty but clear so I just get stronger glasses each time but I may have the right one done next year.

Actually it is quite funny. My right eye is perfect for close up work and the left is pretty good for distance.

Malcolm Fisher30/09/2017 19:57:34
620 forum posts
7 photos

I had both mine done a few years ago and can't remember choosing what sort of lenses but was given distance ones so need reading glasses. No problem as I'd been using bifocals for many years. My distance vision was much improved and there was little change to the prescription for close work.. A neighbour chose to have one for distance and one for close work so he now doesn't need glasses at all. I don't think I could cope with that situation for flying models as I feel it would make distance estimation somewhat tricky.


Scott Edwards 201/10/2017 20:34:22
185 forum posts
96 photos

Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences, it's been very interesting and encouraging ! As I'm short sighted anyway, I'm told I could have near vision lenses. I would need glasses for distance, but will be able to read (and build models!) without specs. These astigmatism lenses that were mentioned are very interesting too, looking into that !

Cheers guys,
Romeo Whisky04/10/2017 12:19:23
713 forum posts
193 photos

Cataract surgery is a modern miracle with one of the highest success rate of any operation.

I could easily read the bottom line on the eye test chart the very next morning! What will probably also amaze you is how vivid colours are immediately after the op.

Suggest you go for long vision lenses, and just use cheap ready-readers for close work after the op.

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