What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

Once you decide to move forward with your cataract surgery, you may have some questions about what to expect. While your Eye Doctors of Washington doctor is happy to discuss any concerns with you, there may be some general information we can share here.

For starters, you’ll need someone else to drive you home from the procedure. The doctor will give you a protective shield to wear over the eye that underwent surgery and instructions about when you can remove it and when to change it out for another one. Additionally, below you’ll find a quick list of dos and don’ts. Later in the article, find additional details about life after cataract surgery.

Dos and Don’ts After Cataract Surgery

  • Do not drive on the day of your cataract surgery
  • Be careful not to bump into anything
  • Avoid activities that put pressure on the eye (lifting heavy objects, bending down, strenuous activity, sneezing, vomiting)
  • Don’t rub your eye
  • Avoid eye irritants such as wind, dust, and smoke
  • Do not swim or use a hot tub the first week after eye surgery

Cataract Surgery Recovery Time

Cataract surgery patients can usually resume their normal routine within a day or two of the procedure. Most are asked to wear the protective guard over their eye while they sleep for at least a week afterward. Patients can expect a full recovery and adjusted vision within three to four weeks post-op. Not until then will your doctor adjust your glasses prescription if that’s determined to be necessary. If you need cataract removal on the second eye, doctors usually wait a couple of weeks after the initial procedure to perform the second to ensure an adequate amount of healing has happened and you’re not left with two vulnerable eyes.

Cataract Pain After Surgery

Some minor discomfort is to be expected while your incisions heal. The incisions necessary to remove the hazy lens are small and rarely require sutures, but they can feel like having an eyelash in your eye or a scratch on your cornea until they heal. If the pain you experience is more severe than that, please contact your Eye Doctors of Washington doctor immediately.

Floaters After Cataract Surgery

While floaters occur for any number of reasons, only rarely are they a cause for concern. Some cataract surgery patients talk about experiencing more floaters during recovery time. This could be because the patient’s hazy vision is clearer so the floaters seem more noticeable, or it could simply be part of the healing process. If the floaters are large or you experience a great deal of pain along with the floaters, please contact your doctor.

Halos in Vision

Occasionally one of the side effects of cataract surgery is glare and halos around lights while the eye heals. If it disrupts your ability to drive at night, please make other arrangements until the healing process completes its course. The symptoms should go away a couple of weeks after the surgery.

How Cataract Surgery Improves Vision

The most exciting aspect of having cataract surgery is the improvement to vision patients experience. Many comment on how much more clearly they see and how they didn’t realize how hazy their vision had become until the cataract was removed. Colors are brighter and details are crisper.

In addition to no longer trying to view life through a hazy lens, the technological advances in intraocular lenses (IOLs) make it possible for cataract surgery patients to see better than they did even before developing cataracts.

Here’s how that works: when the surgeon creates the incisions to remove the hazy lens, they place a permanent implant in its place. The implant is the IOL. Depending on your specific vision needs and the IOL best suited for you as determined by your Eye Doctors of Washington doctor, the IOL could improve both your distance and near-field vision. It’s possible that you recover from the procedure only needing to wear reading glasses moving forward.

Post-operative cataract surgery care is relatively simple and only disrupts your daily life briefly and in minor ways. If you have more questions about cataracts, cataract treatment, or what to expect after cataract surgery, please don’t hesitate to give the vision experts at Eye Doctors of Washington a call. We’re here to help you see things clearly.

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