Cataract Surgery Aftercare

Cataract Surgery Recovery

We’re aware that even though it’s done many times, for the individual it certainly isn’t routine. One aspect that many people worry about is the recovery period. While this tends to be short, with good results experienced within a few days, it pays to be aware of what to expect. There are also many things you can do (or not do) that will help to minimize the recovery time.

Recovery Timeline

Following both traditional and laser cataract surgery, the recovery period is generally short. An uncomplicated procedure takes around 10 minutes to perform, followed by around 30-60 minutes in the recovery room. Once you’re over the worst of the sedation, you’ll be allowed to go home. 

A pad and plastic shield will be in place to protect the treated eye. This should be left in place for the first few hours and replaced while you sleep, for at least a few days. Your surgeon will advise you of the exact time period. You won’t be able to drive straight away, so you will need a friend or family member to take you home.

The First 24 hours
You may want to sleep on your return home. It’s important not to undertake any exercise or strenuous activity. The feeling should start to return to the eye within a few hours of surgery. However, your vision may not yet fully return.
Days 2 - 7
You will most likely have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon during this period to check that there are no complications, and the healing process is progressing as expected. You’ll have been given eye drops when you left the clinic. These help reduce inflammation, prevent infection, and stimulate the healing process. As long as you feel able to, it’s OK to resume driving.
Weeks 2 - 6
Your eye will gradually adapt to the new lens and any side effects should slowly improve and eventually disappear completely. If you need new glasses, then once the healing process is complete—at around the 6-week mark—you’ll be able to have an eye test and order your new prescription.
Week 6 onwards
 The healing process should be complete, and you can resume all your usual activities.

Continued After Care

It’s normal to experience a slight stickiness to the eye for the first 2 weeks. Most people find they need to clean the eye a couple of times a day after surgery. This can be done using pre-boiled water that is cooled.  Be sure to wash your hands before cleaning the eye to prevent introducing an infection. Dip a ball of absorbent cotton into the water and gently wipe it across the eye from the nose to the outer corner of the eye. Don’t press while doing so and don’t wipe inside the eye.

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Cataract symptoms

What To Expect During Recovery

It’s normal to experience some symptoms for the first few days following surgery such as  blurred vision, grittiness, redness, or double vision. These tend to gradually improve within the first few days, however, be aware that, in some cases, this can take up to 6 weeks to fully rectify.

It’s rare for complications to occur after cataract surgery, however, if you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your eye doctor without delay: Increasing pain and/or redness within the eye, decreasing vision. This is different from the redness or bloodshot appearance that is normal following surgery, that reduces gradually over the following days. If you are concerned about any symptoms or any are getting worse, rather than better, then you should alert your eye clinic straight away. The good news is that, for most patients, the procedure is a minor inconvenience and recovery is complete within a few weeks. The resulting clearer vision can be quite dramatic for many, leading to a much-improved quality of life.

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