More Than 3 million Cataract Procedures Are Performed in the United States Every Year
Cataract surgery is as common as the seasonal cold. Therefore, cataract surgery recovery should be as uneventful. If you adhere to the pre-operative and post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon, this should be the case.
Typical cataract surgery takes no longer than 10 minutes of actual surgical treatment. There is prep time in the operating room, so most patients should anticipate about 30 minutes in the procedure room. Immediate recovery, at the surgical facility, typically takes 30 minutes to one hour.
Any surgery that involves anesthesia, you must have someone available to drive you home after the procedure. You will be given a pair of post-operative sunglasses to wear on the trip home to protect your eye from bright light and glare.
We highly recommend that you get as much sleep as possible when you first get home. You should remain as dormant as possible for the first two days of recovery. If you are wearing a protective shield, please be sure to clarify how long you should wait before removing the protective shield for your waking hours.
For the first several days, you will need to tape the shield back over your eye for sleeping and night and for daytime naps.
What should you expect after cataract surgery?
After the first few days, you will be able to remove the eye shield. Initially, your vision may seem cloudy, blurry, and somewhat distorted when you first remove the shield. You should also give yourself some time to adjust to your new vision.
Many people report clear and sharp vision within several hours after cataract surgery. Everyone heals differently. Some patients report that they need as long as a week or two before they can see images in their sharpest focus.
Some patients experience bloodshot eyes as a result of temporary damage to the blood vessels during the cataract procedure. As your eye heals, the redness and bloodshot eyes will resolve. You may also experience some bruising, similar to a black eye. This could be the result of an injection of anesthesia during the procedure. This too will resolve itself in a few days.
All patients require a one-day postoperative visit after their procedure. The physician will check to ensure that your eye is healing properly, there are no complications, and that you are not experiencing significant pain. Most patients indicate that they are experiencing dry and scratchy eyes. These sensations should resolve as the eye heals.
Complete cataract surgery recovery typically requires a month’s time.
Watch this video about how cataract surgery works.
The following tips are recommended for the best cataract surgery recovery:
- Don’t drive for the first 2-3 days.
- For the first week, avoid bending over to prevent putting extra pressure on your eye.
- Avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a few weeks.
- Try not to sneeze or vomit, to avoid excessive pressure on the eye.
- Be cautious when walking for the first two weeks. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Avoid swimming or using a hot tub during the first week of your cataract surgery recovery.
- Don’t expose your eye to irritants such as dust, dirt, wind, and pollen during the first few weeks after surgery. (Wearing the sunglasses provided to you is highly recommended).
- Don’t rub your eye after surgery.
For the best cataract surgery recovery possible, follow your doctor’s detailed instructions about how to protect your eye following your procedure. These instructions will be given to you as a handout that you can take home with you on surgery day.
To learn more about cataract surgery recovery, contact Dedham Ophthalmic Consultants and Surgeons. Any of our knowledgeable staff members will be happy to field your questions.