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Cataract Surgery Recovery: What Should I Expect?

cataract surgery recovery time

Cataract surgery recovery can be a manageable process. While some side effects are possible during surgery, most people will only need to wear special sunglasses and use medicated eye drops to prevent complications. For the best results, follow your surgeon’s instructions closely and let them know if you notice any sudden changes in your vision.

Recovering from Cataract Surgery

You will be prescribed medicated eye drops to aid in the healing process. These can vary depending on your specific type of cataract, but you’ll usually be prescribed a few different kinds during the recovery period. They typically include:

  • Antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection
  • Corticosteroid eye drops to reduce pain, redness, and inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops (NSAIDs) to reduce complications and prevent inflammation

Wearing postoperative sunglasses and using the medicated eye drops as directed are crucial for making a fast and complete recovery. The eyeshields should even be worn while sleeping or napping during the first week of recovery. 

Other Tips for Recovering from Cataract Eye Surgery

The protective sunglasses and medicated eye drops, when used correctly, will go a long way in making you feel as good as new after cataract surgery. However, it’s important to understand that just because you feel fine doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take other safety precautions the first few weeks following surgery. 

One of your main goals in cataract recovery is avoiding straining your eye so it can heal. To ensure this doesn’t happen, avoid:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Bending over
  • Sneezing or vomiting
  • Bumping your eye into objects such as doors

Another important factor for recovery is protecting your eye from infection and irritants. To help prevent infection, don’t swim or use hot tubs for a week following your surgery. Keep away from irritants or carriers of irritants such as dirt, dust, pollen, and wind if possible. Avoid rubbing your eye since it may cause irritation, infection, and adds pressure to the eye.

Cataract Surgery Recovery Time

The biggest question if you’re considering the procedure is, “How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?” Complete recovery usually takes around four weeks. This gives the eye plenty of time to heal with the aid of medicated eye drops.

The cataract surgery itself usually lasts around 15 minutes if there aren’t any other complications. With that said, you should expect to spend around 90 minutes at our surgical center as you are:

  • Prepped for surgery
  • Being operated on
  • Given a postoperative evaluation
  • Given aftercare instructions

Your long-term health and safety are our top priority. When working with our surgeons, you’ll have the tools and knowledge that you need to make a full and speedy recovery.

Cataract Surgery Side Effects

Not only is cataract surgery one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the U.S., but it’s also one of the safest. Over 3 million cataract procedures are performed a year and the vast majority of patients don’t experience any complications. 

That doesn’t mean that side effects don’t or can’t occur. We’ve already mentioned that medicated eye drops help alleviate pain, inflammation, and redness. Other side effects of cataract surgery may include:

You may also experience posterior capsule opacification, which can make it seem like your cataract has returned. A rare complication is intraocular lens dislocation, which results in the new lens moving out of its original position. Contact your eye doctor immediately if you experience any significant changes in your vision after surgery to get the treatment you need.

Fortunately, advances are always being made to decrease your risk of these types of complications. At Baptist Eye Surgeons, you can rest assured that our surgeons are at the forefront of these advances and will work tirelessly to ensure that you have the best outcome possible.

Recovering from cataract surgery can be a manageable process as long as you follow your surgeon’s instructions. The recovery process lasts around eight weeks and will require special sunglasses along with medicated eye drops to help prevent complications. Side effects are possible, but our surgeons stay up to date on the latest advancements to help prevent them.

Would you like to know more about cataract eye surgery and what to expect? If so, contact us today and schedule a consultation.

Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN. Give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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