Cataract Surgery: Eight Tips

Recovery from your cataract surgery should be short and smooth, as long as your health is good and you have no other significant eye problems.

Statistics also show that your chances of getting good results and having sharper vision after surgery are excellent.

Uncomplicated cataract surgery often takes no more than about ten minutes to complete with the help of cataract surgery instruments set. But right after the surgery, you will need to rest in a recovery area until you are less lethargic from the sedation or anesthesia. Typically, this takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

You must have someone available to drive you home after the procedure. You will be given a pair of sunglasses to wear on the return trip to protect your eyes from light and glare.

If you are sleepy or tired when you get home, you may want to rest in bed for a few hours. Depending on the advice of your cataract surgeon, you may be able to remove the eye shield placed on your eye within several hours of the procedure.

Stick the eye protector on your eye at night or during a nap to protect yourself during recovery, at least for several days.

What is the usual recovery time from cataract surgery?

Do not be concerned if your vision seems cloudy, blurry, or distorted after you remove the eye shield for the first time. Your visual system may take a little time to adjust to the cataract removal and to adapt to the intraocular lens used to replace the natural lens in your eye.

During this adjustment period, some patients even report seeing distortions. This phenomenon, if present, should only last about an hour.

You may also develop red, bloodshot eyes due to temporary damage to the blood vessels on the whitened surface of your eye during cataract surgery. As your eyes recover, the redness should subside over the next few days.

If you have received an injection of anesthesia through the skin and into the lower part of your eye, you may notice bruising similar to a black eye. This too should go away within a few days.

Many patients report clear vision within hours of cataract surgery. But each person heals differently, and it may take a week or two to see the images in sharp focus.

Typically, you will have a follow-up appointment with your cataract surgeon the day after surgery to make sure there are no complications. If you notice no improvement in blurred vision or if you experience eye pain or significant discomfort in the days following this visit, you should notify your surgeon.

Sometimes people report a dry or itchy eye after cataract surgery. However, these sensations should decrease as your eyes heal and cataract surgery. But these sensations should subsidize as your eye heals, unless you already had problems with dry eyes before the procedure.

Your recovery from cataract surgery should be complete in about a month, when your eye is completely healed.

How Can I Get the Best Recovery Possible After Cataract Surgery?

You might be surprised at how well you feel and how easily you can resume your normal activities even the day after cataract surgery.

However, you should take some precautions during the first week to avoid developing an infection or injuring your eyes while healing.

You will usually be prescribed antibiotic drops to prevent infection and anti-inflammatory drops to help reduce any internal inflammation. You will need to apply the eye drops several times a day for about the first week of recovery from your cataract surgery.

Depending on how much postoperative inflammation you have, you might need the drops for a few weeks to a month. Make sure you are using these eye drops exactly as prescribed.

Oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen may be prescribed as needed. However, as a rule of thumb, you should only experience slight discomfort after cataract surgery.

For fast and safe recovery from cataracts, follow these tips:

  • Don’t drive the first day.
  • Do not lift heavy weights and avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks.
  • Immediately after the procedure, avoid bending down to prevent additional pressure on your eyes.
  • If possible, do not sneeze or vomit immediately after surgery.
  • Be careful walking around after the surgery, and do not hit doors or other objects.
  • To reduce the risk of infection, avoid swimming or using a spa for the first week.
  • Do not expose your eyes to irritants such as dirt, dust and wind for a few weeks after surgery.
  • Do not rub your eyes, which is a good idea even when you are not recovering from surgery.

Typically, you should be able to do these activities within hours of your surgery:

  • Work at the computer
  • Watch television
  • Shower or take a bath

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