During cataract surgery, your eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced by a synthetic one. This is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the US every year, and it’s increasingly done with the aid of a laser. As long as there are no complications, the entire operation takes about 10 minutes, and the recovery is quick and smooth. Just because it’s routine for your eye doctor, though, doesn’t mean it’s not a significant event for you, and so it’s helpful to know what to expect after cataract surgery and during your recovery.
The Day of Your Cataract Surgery
As soon as your cataract surgery is completed, your eye will be covered with a transparent plastic shield, and you’ll be taken to a recovery area to rest so that the effects of the anesthesia can wear off. This typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour, and once you’re no longer groggy, you will be able to go home.
You’ll need someone to take you home, as driving is not something you can do immediately after surgery due to the effects of anesthesia and other factors. If you were not a candidate for dropless cataract surgery, you’ll also be given prescriptions for anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops, and you should fill these promptly and use them as directed by your eye doctor.
When you get home, it’s best to take it easy, but you can still engage in normal activities like watching TV, using the computer, or bathing. If you have an eye shield in place, please keep it in place except when necessary to administer eye drops, and you should try and keep from bending over so far that your head is below your waist. Lifting more than 10 pounds is also not recommended.
Expectations During the First Week
You may be able to see clearly within hours of your surgery, but it’s also common for normal vision to take a week or two to set in. Your eyes may be bloodshot for a few days after surgery, and you may feel some scratchiness or other symptoms of dry eye. These should dissipate within the first week.
You will visit your surgeon or eye doctor for a follow-up appointment the day after your cataract surgery so that they can check to make sure you’re healing properly. If at any point you feel significant pain in your eye or you experience blurry vision that doesn’t improve over time, you should let your eye doctor know.
In general, the limitations on bending and lifting remain in place for the first week after surgery, and you should use the eye shield while awake during this time as well. Swimming is not recommended during your first week post-surgery, and it’s best to avoid anything that could irritate your eye like dust, grime, or smoke as much as possible.
One Month after Cataract Surgery
After about a month, your eye should be completely healed, and your vision will be markedly improved. At this point, you can be evaluated by your eye doctor to see if you would benefit from prescription eyeglasses. If you need to have cataract surgery in both eyes, the operations will typically be done one-at-a-time, with at a week to ten days between them.
The truth is that cataract surgery is a safe and effective procedure. Call us today at (772) 257-8700 or contact us online to learn more about the procedure or to schedule an appointment.