Life After Cataract Surgery And What To Expect

Okay, the hard part’s done. And really, it wasn’t all that hard! After a brief, virtually painless procedure, it’s time to rest up and enjoy the benefits of your newly restored vision.

You may be a little worried about the recovery process following cataract surgery, but rest assured —thanks to highly perfected techniques and tools, recovery from cataract surgery is usually quick, with a low rate of complications. Best of all are the amazing, near immediate results, a return to clearer, more youthful vision within a matter of days!

Smooth Healing Is Up To You

Although state-of-the-art surgical techniques and technology certainly help the recovery process, a good deal of credit also goes to the amazing resilience of your eyes. The eye recovers and adapts with surprising speed —and you can aid in this process by carefully following your doctor’s instruction.

Every patient and every eye is different —your doctor will develop a personalized recovery timeline and specific instructions to best suit your needs. Still, to give you an idea of the recovery process, here’s an example of a timeline of what to expect in the hours and days following a typical cataract surgery procedure:

Once The Surgery Is Completed

After the procedure, the surgeon will usually apply some prescription eye drops and sometimes place a protective patch over your eye.  For the first hour or so, you may feel slightly groggy from the local anesthetic —this will pass.

Before you leave you will receive several prescriptions as well as instructions for caring for your eye. A loved one or caregiver should be on-hand to drive you home, so you can rest up.

The Days To Follow

Following your procedure your surgeon will likely have you return for a follow-up visit, just to make sure your eye is healing properly. Additional check-ups are usually scheduled for one week after and one month after surgery.

During the first week your eye’s health will depend on you more than ever. Make sure you stick to your doctor’s instructions, avoiding strenuous activities and administering your medications as prescribed. Be careful not to rub or place pressure on your eye.

Also during your first week, you may experience some mild after effects from the procedure, including itching, discharge, and vision fluctuation. These are normal, and tend to subside quickly. Sensitivity to light can be common: sunglasses help. If you experience any discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Although complications are generally uncommon, contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, loss of vision, or double vision. These problems are usually treatable if dealt with right away.

A Whole New Perspective

The day after cataract surgery, most patients find that they can resume many everyday activities like watching TV, reading, even doing some light chores. Then, after just two to three days with your new IOL in place, you’ll likely be ready to take on a new world of enhanced vision —you can drive, go back to work, and much, much more.

Colors may seem more vibrant, your vision clearer, more in focus —maybe for the first time in years! Think about how this new outlook will change your life. Restored vision often motivates patients to pick up the tasks and hobbies that their cataracts once prevented them from doing —you might even be inspired to take up some new ones. And why not? Cataract surgery doesn’t just improve your vision – it opens up a whole world of possibilities.

From Focus™ Magazine: A Journey to Clearer Vision, Issue 1