top of page

Monet & Cataracts

The picture above shows what Monet’s bridge at his garden in Givernay looked like to him before his cataract surgery. He had surgery in 1923 after his vision dropped so much he could only distinguish red and brown colours. He waited until the cataracts were really bad as surgery then had really uncertain outcomes. It was only perception of light in his right eye and 6/60 in his left, the biggest letter on the chart.

After his cataract surgery the bridge looked more like the picture above which we can see today in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

After surgery, Monet's prescription was +14.00/-4.00x180. He needed very thick lenses which they made out of the same sort of glass as chandeliers. Thick glass refracts light more than ordinary glass and the type of glass made in 1923 gave everything a bluish tint and colours round edges hence the dayglo water lilies.

When Jan first qualified they were still doing similar cataract operations but in the 1980’s they began to implant a contact lens inside the eye. Modern cataract surgery is now so good that there are very few complications and the implant can correct a lot of the distance vision.

Unlike Monet it’s best not to let your vision get too bad as the cataract gets very hard and surgeons say it’s harder to remove. Obviously like Monet you can also miss out on a lot of things as your vision gets worse and you can become illegal to drive at about 6/12, half normal vision. It is also possible to have implants which correct astigmatism and can work for both distance and near like a multi focal contact lens. However, complications are more likely with these types of implant.

A regular eye examination will help detect any signs of cataracts developing and we can then advise you on the best form of treatment.

If we haven’t seen you for a while; and you feel your vision may have changed, we are here to help. You can book an eye examination online here. Alternatively you can call to book an appointment on 0117 9735929 or eMail


bottom of page