Cataract Surgery Recovery

You have a cataract when your eye's clear lens becomes unclear and clouded. Cataracts are common in elderly people, but some cataracts are also present at birth. Some cataracts develop overtime due to drug, physical or chemical injury. Cataract surgery is now among the most common surgeries performed in the United States. The procedure helps clear up the cloudiness. It usually takes an hour or so to perform the surgery and you can go home on the same day of the surgery. It is, however, important to bear in mind that cataract surgery recovery is a bit more challenging than actually surgery is.

How to Fasten Cataract Surgery Recovery 

Most people find it easy to resume normal activities soon after their surgery. Still, you will be better off taking some precautionary measures after your cataract surgery to avoid developing any infections or sustaining any injury to your eye during cataract surgery recovery.

1.  Use Prescribed Eye Drops

Your ophthalmologist will prescribe eye drops that you should use as instructed after your surgery. These drops help prevent any post-operative inflammation inside your eye. They also prove beneficial against intraocular pressure.

2.  Use a Protective Shield

You should avoid scratching or bumping your eye, especially during the first week of your surgery. One good way to prevent an injury is to use a protective shield that your ophthalmologist will prescribe for use while sleeping.

3.  Wear Sunglasses

Your eyes will become quite sensitive to glare and light after surgery, so you will be better off wearing a pair of dark sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunlight. Consider buying sunglasses that offer good UVA/UVB protection.

4.  Keep Your Eye Area Clean

Never touch your eyes without washing your hands first. You should also avoid putting on any eye makeup, at least for the first week after your surgery. This will help prevent infection.

5.  Check Your Eyes Regularly

Don't miss any appointment with your surgeon because they will examine and confirm that your eye is healing properly. Also, check your eyes and look for any signs of infections or something unusual. Go to see your ophthalmologist if you notice uncomfortable issues.

6.  Things You Should Not Do

Complete cataract surgery recovery may take up to 3 weeks or so. During this time, you need to take special care of your eye and protect yourself from sustaining any injury. So, there are a few things to avoid soon after your cataract surgery. For instance:

  • Avoid strenuous physical activity and never lift heavy objects to avoid increasing intraocular pressure.
  • Avoid bathing after your surgery. Don't have hot tubs or saunas for at least a week. You should use a moist, clean face cloth to clean your eyelids and ensure that you don't put too much pressure on your upper eyelid. Avoid washing your hair for a couple of days.
  • Never use any fibrous materials, such as cotton balls, under the eye shield.
  • Don't sleep without your protective eye shield during the first week after surgery.
  • Avoid watching TV the very next day after your surgery, but you can go back to your normal activities in a couple of days after surgery if you feel up to it.
  • Don't sleep on your operated side for the first couple of weeks after your surgery.
  • Avoid submerging your head in water and say no to swimming for at least 3 weeks.
  • Don't engage in contact sports for at least 4 weeks after your surgery.
  • Take some time off of driving and resume when your surgeon confirms it is okay to drive.
  • Avoid forceful straining while having a bowel movement. Add more fluids and fiber in your diet to avoid constipation. Using mild laxative may help prevent complications.

How Soon Will Your Vision Recover and See Again?

Eye surgery takes time to recover, as that in other types of surgeries. Soon after your surgery, you will notice that your vision has become blurry. It is normal and usually improves in a couple of days. However, no two patients will experience the same circumstances after the surgery even though most patients may notice improvement in their vision in a week or so. Most patients are largely satisfied with their distance vision, but some often complain about blurriness they experience while reading. Your doctor may advise you to use your old reading glasses until you notice an improvement in your vision. You need to bear in mind that since no two eyes are the same, one eye can be a bit blurrier or a lot better than the other eye. Be sure to use your eye drops your doctor has prescribed to accelerate cataract surgery recovery.

When Should You Seek Medical Help?

Although most people don't experience serious issues, the procedure is definitely not free of any complications. In fact, some people notice certain side effects during the cataract surgery recovery, which may include blurred vision, mild pain in and around the eye and a sticky eye. You may also experience a slight headache with a feeling of grittiness in the eye. Discomfort when looking at light and bruising of the skin around your eyes is another common side effect. Most of these side effects will resolve without serious medical intervention. You may take OTC painkillers and protect your eyes with sunglasses to accelerate recovery while reducing the impact of these side effects.

It is important though to see your surgeon if you experience worsening of vision, severe or increasing pain and increasing redness in your eye. The appearance of floaters, such as specks, black dots, or streaks in your field of vision also indicates a complication of cataract surgery, which you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.

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