Cataract surgery is a very safe and effective way of restoring the vision of patients affected by this very common condition. In fact, cataract surgery is so popular that an estimated 3 million U.S. adults undergo the procedure every year. And with a success rate of around 98%, it is easy to see why it is such a popular solution.
Cataract surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you will be able to go home the same day. The entire surgery should take less than two hours including your preparation and recovery time – something which helps to put many patients at ease – while the procedure itself is usually less than 15 minutes long, there’s no need to be put entirely to sleep only sedated, and you’ll be given anesthetic which makes the surgery virtually painless.
As with many surgeries, the recovery process is also important to the success of the procedure as what happens in the surgery itself. This is because following the guidelines given to you by your ophthalmologist can reduce your risk of complications that could occur if your eyes aren’t cared for properly while they heal. Adhering to these important instructions can also expedite your recovery, enabling you to get back to normal as quickly as possible following your surgery. To help you to feel prepared, here’s what you need to know about what to expect with the recovery process following your cataract surgery.
Your cataract surgery concludes with the placement of your artificial lens, or IOL, into your eye. You will have chosen which IOL is most suitable at your consultation appointment, and your ophthalmologist will ensure that they use this to replace your natural lens. After your surgery, you can expect to be moved out of the surgical suite and into a recovery room to rest for a short while. A clear patch will be placed over your eye to protect it from any inadvertent injury or manipulation. While you rest, your cataract team will monitor you just to make sure that there aren’t any issues. Once you are discharged, you’ll need a family member or friend to drive you home as you won’t be allowed to get behind the wheel until you receive the all-clear from your ophthalmologist.
At home, you should make sure that you take it easy for at least a few days. Try and get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and eat a healthy, balanced diet as this will kickstart your recovery. You’ll need to avoid any exercise, and you shouldn’t bend or lift anything over 25 pounds in weight. You’ll also be advised to avoid getting water in your eyes for the first 24 hours, so don’t put your face under the shower or wash your hair.
It is normal to experience the following during your recovery period:
- Blurred vision
- Watering eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Redness or a bloodshot eye
In most cases, these will resolve themselves within a few days, but if you have any concerns, don’t delay in speaking to your post-surgical team.
Your ophthalmologist will talk to you about using proper eye protection for at least several weeks while your eyes heal. This will include wearing UV sunglasses when outside, to protect your eyes from the sun, and goggles or safety glasses when doing any activities where debris could enter your eyes. You will also be advised to use eye drops to help your eyes heal. These should be taken exactly as instructed.
If you usually wear glasses, you will almost certainly need a new prescription. However, you will have to wait until your eyes are fully healed before ordering these, which is normally around four to six weeks post-procedure. In some cases, we remove one or both lenses and put in blank/clear lenses for temporary comfort.
If you would like more information about what to expect with cataract surgery recovery, don’t hesitate to speak to call Eastside Eye Physicians in Shelby Township, MI or St. Clair Shores, MI office today!