On the delights of being an ex-cataract patient: visual experiences before and after cataract operations; what they indicate

Floris L. van Nes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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This paper is about changes in the author's visual perception over most of his lifetime, but in particular in the period before and after cataract operations. The author was myopic (-3D) until the operations, and emmetropic afterwards - with mild astigmatic aberrations that can be compensated with cylindrical spectacles, but in his case rarely are, because of the convenience of not needing to wear distance glasses in daily life anymore. The perceptual changes concern color vision, stereopsis and visual acuity. The post-cataract changes were partly expected, for example less yellow and more blue images, but partly wholly unexpected, and accompanied by feelings of excitement and pleasure; even delight. These unexpected changes were a sudden, strongly increased depth vision and the sensation of seeing suddenly sharper than ever before, mainly at intermediate viewing distances. The visual acuity changes occur after, exceptionally, his distance glasses are put on. All these sensations lasted or last only for a short time. Those concerning stereopsis were dubbed 'super depth', and were confined to the first two months after the second cataract operation. Those concerning acuity were termed 'super-sharpness impression'; SSI. These can be elicited more or less at will, by putting on the spectacles described; but will then disappear again, although the spectacles are kept on. Ten other ex-cataract patients have been interviewed on their post-operation experiences. The 'super-depth' and SSI experiences may be linked to assumed neurophysiological mechanisms such as the concept of Bayesian reweighting of perceptual criteria..

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging XIX
EditorsB.E. Ragowitz, T. Pappas, H. de Ridder
Place of PublicationSan Francisco
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780819499318
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging XIX - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 3 Feb 20146 Feb 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE


ConferenceHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging XIX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA
OtherPart of: 2014 IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging


  • Bayesian cue reweighting
  • cataract operations
  • emotions accompanying super depth or super sharpness
  • post-cataract experiences
  • real-world vision
  • temporary super depth
  • temporary super sharpness


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