Cataract surgery recovery is usually very smooth and easy. This is great news, as Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the world.
Most of my patients feel cataract surgery recovery is a far easier experience than they feared, vision improves quickly and they wish it had been done sooner.
You likely have friends or family members who would agree.
In most cases where the eye is healthy, cataract surgery recovery is quick and painless. Certain diseases can influence your recovery, but a thorough pre-operative eye examination should give your surgeon all the information needed to counsel you properly.
My patients barely need an eye patch.
Eye patches are removed 2-3 hours after surgery because I use only topical eye drops to numb the eye and I.V. medicine for sedation. Once the numbing wears off, the patch can be removed.
With cataract surgery, an eye patch protects the numbed eye from inadvertent scratches.
Traditional methods to numb the eye require injections around or behind the eye. This requires longer periods of patching. In addition, these injections can be dangerous and cause complications such as bleeding and double vision.
Topical anesthesia allows faster cataract surgery recovery, is highly effective and, most of all, is the safest method for my patients.
I expect your cataract surgery recovery to be painless. Your eye may feel dry, scratchy or mildly irritated, but do NOT expect to have frank pain.
Pain during cataract surgery recovery is unusual. Pain could indicate problems with a corneal abrasion, infection, or high eye pressure. Your eye doctor should be made aware of any of these symptoms. Make sure you have a contact number for any emergencies.
At our center, we’ll follow up with a phone call after your surgery to make sure your recovery is smooth.
For the first three hours of your cataract surgery recovery your eye is patched, so unless you have an X-ray implant (just kidding), you can’t see anything out of that eye.
You’ll be given instructions on how and when to remove the patch. When the patch is removed, the vision is usually somewhat blurry because your pupil is still dilated and there is still some swelling.
Some patients have good vision right away, but the majority are surprised by how blurry it still is when they first remove the patch. There is gradual improvement in your vision throughout the rest of the day.
Color vision usually improves the fastest during your cataract surgery recovery. Most of my cataract patients comment on how vibrant colors are now that they don’t have to look through a yellow cataract. The clarity of vision then starts to improve.
The first morning of your cataract surgery recovery, the vision varies. You may already be 20/20 without glasses or vision could still be quite blurry if there is dryness or swelling on your cornea.
You will be on several different eye drops during your cataract surgery recovery. You will start these after you remove your eye patch. One of the drops will be an antibiotic to help prevent infection and the other two drops are anti-inflammatory drops to decrease swelling to speed your cataract surgery recovery. One of the anti-inflammatory drops is usually a cortisone type drop and the other is an ibuprophen type drop unless you have allergies to one of these.
Someone will need to drive you home from your cataract surgery. This is because your eye will be patched and you will have received some anesthesia. You will need to ask your eye surgeon when it is safe to resume driving during your cataract surgery recovery.
It is wise to rest when you return home the day of your eye surgery. It is OK to watch TV or read if you desire. The first day of your cataract surgery recovery at your first post operative visit, your eye doctor will outline the appropriate level of physical activity you can resume based on the findings of his/her exam.
Generally, my patients can resume normal activity the day after surgery except that I ask them to not go swimming or hot tubing and to avoid activities where they are at higher risk to be hit in the eye. Exercise is generally OK after the first day of your cataract surgery recovery. Again, it will depend on the findings of post-operative exam and should be discussed with your eye doctor.
Most patients have some increased light sensitivity during their cataract surgery recovery. That is why we provide wrap around sunglasses to you. As the incisions and inflammation from the surgery heal, and you wean off of the surgical eye drops, the light sensitivity usually resolves. Many patients are less sensitive to light after cataract surgery than they were before after their cataract surgery recovery is completed.
If you have more specific questions about your eye care during your cataract surgery recovery, please schedule a time to meet with me or send me your questions.