Cataract Surgery Recovery
Your cataract surgery recovery should be short and uneventful, as long as your health is good and you don’t have other major eye problems. Statistics also show that your chances of a good outcome and sharper vision after surgery are excellent.
What Is the Typical Cataract Surgery Recovery Time?
Don’t be alarmed if your vision seems cloudy, blurry or distorted after you first remove the eye shield. It can take some time for your visual system to adjust to the removal of the cataract and adapt to the intraocular lens used to replace your eye’s natural lens.
During this adaptation period, some patients even report seeing “wavy” vision or distortions. This phenomenon, if present, should last only an hour or so.
Many patients report clear vision within several hours after cataract surgery. But each person heals differently, and you may need as long as a week or two before you see images in their sharpest focus.
You will have a follow-up appointment with the doctor the day after the procedure to make sure there are no complications. If you don’t notice any improvement in blurry vision or you feel eye pain or significant discomfort in the days following this visit, you should report this to your surgeon.
Sometimes people report some dry eye or “scratchiness” after cataract surgery. But these sensations should subside as your eye heals, unless you already had problems with dry eyes prior to having the procedure.
Your cataract surgery recovery should be complete in about a two to three weeks, when your eye is completely healed.
How Can You Achieve the Best Cataract Surgery Recovery?
You might be surprised at how good you feel and how easily you will be able to resume normal activities even the day after cataract surgery.
However, you should observe a few precautions during the first week or so, to make sure you avoid developing an infection or sustaining an injury to your eye while it heals.
The doctor typically will prescribe antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection and anti-inflammatory eye drops to help reduce any internal inflammation. You’ll need to apply the eye drops several times daily for about the first week during your cataract surgery recovery.
Depending on the amount of postoperative inflammation you have, you may need the drops for a few weeks to a month. Make sure you use these eye drops exactly as prescribed.
For a safe and speedy cataract surgery recovery, follow these tips:
- Don’t drive on the first day.
- Don’t do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a few weeks.
- Immediately after the procedure, avoid bending over, to prevent putting extra pressure on your eye.
- Be careful walking around after surgery, and don’t bump into doors or other objects.
- To reduce risk of infection, avoid swimming or using a hot tub during the first week.
- Don’t expose your eye to irritants such as grime, dust and wind during the first few weeks after surgery.
- Don’t rub your eye, which is a good idea even when you aren’t recovering from surgery.
For the best cataract surgery recovery possible, follow the doctor’s detailed instructions about how to protect your eye following your procedure. Usually these instructions will be given to you as a handout that you can take home with you on surgery day. You can also print or download the Post Op instructions here. Post Op Instructions
If you need cataract surgery in both eyes, your surgeon usually will wait at least a few days to two weeks for your first eye to recover before performing a procedure on the second eye.
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