Cataract removal is a relatively simple procedure and takes about 10 minutes to perform during an average uncomplicated operation. Recovery time is also fairly minimal (about four weeks for complete healing), but there are a number of things you must do to keep it that way.
1. Wear sunglasses on your drive home and any time you’re outside for the first several days after surgery to limit your eye’s exposure to the sun, as your eyes will be more sensitive to light.
2. Keep the protective shield over your eye per your cataract surgeon’s recommendations and while sleeping the first week after surgery to avoid accidentally rubbing your eyes while you sleep.
3. Apply your antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops exactly as prescribed to prevent infection and reduce internal inflammation.
4. Avoid bending over immediately after the procedure as doing so puts unnecessary pressure on your eye.
5. Do not drive on the first day of cataract surgery.
6. Refrain from lifting heavy objects or other strenuous activity for the first week after surgery.
7. Don’t go swimming or use a hot tub the first week after surgery.
8. An itchy eye is indicative of a healing eye, but do not rub or push on it even though you may feel the urge as you could damage your eye.
9. Be careful not to expose your eye to unnecessary grime, dust, dirt, or wind during the first few weeks after cataract surgery. If you must, wear protective eyewear.
10. Schedule a follow-up appointment for the day after your cataract surgery so your ophthalmologist can make sure your recovery is on track and there are no postoperative complications.
Within a few hours after discharge, you should be able to enjoy light television watching and computer use. Be sure to follow your ophthalmologist’s post-operative instructions for the best recovery possible. If both eyes need cataract surgery, your surgeon will wait several days to weeks for the first eye to recover before moving forward with the second.
Cataract removal surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the United States at almost 3 million per year. Ninety-six percent of patients have excellent outcomes with no cataract surgery complications and achieve at least 20/40 uncorrected distance visual acuity. However, if you do experience any complications after cataract surgery like those described here, be sure to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist so they can treat your symptoms right away.
Are you over the age of 40 and experiencing cloudy or blurry vision? You may have cataracts. Read 8 Cataract Symptoms & When to See a Doctor to learn more about cataract development or take the next step and schedule an exam with one of our trusted eye surgeons to have your eyes examined.