After cataract surgery: Dos and Don’ts

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If you have cataracts, your doctor has probably recommended cataract surgery. That’s because for cataracts, treatment options are limited. Sometimes prescription eyewear can help people with cataracts get by, but to eliminate a cataract, eye surgery is the only solution. Fortunately, it’s a common and safe surgery with a short recovery time. It’s important, though, that you follow some simple guidelines during your cataract surgery recovery.

What causes cataracts? They’re the result of protein buildup on the lens of the eye. Cataract surgery fixes the problem by removing the damaged lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. This clears up any cataract symptoms and, for most people, greatly improves vision. The surgery is an outpatient procedure that only takes a few minutes, but it’s still important to take it easy while you’re recovering.

  • Get a ride home from the surgery. You may notice an improvement in your vision immediately after the surgery. However, your vision is likely to be blurry for a little while, and you cannot drive yourself home. Plan ahead so that a friend or family member can drive you. This is a better idea than a taxi or rideshare, because you may need help getting inside and settled.
  • Take a few days off of work. Compared to other surgical procedures, cataract surgery has a fairly quick recovery time. However, taking one to three days off of work is a good idea, to allow you enough time to rest. You’ll probably be able to resume most of your normal activities within the first couple of days, but it’s a good idea to take it somewhat easy for a little while. Your eye will not be completely healed for about a month.
  • Don’t get water in your eye. When you wash your face, use a washcloth instead of splashing water onto your face. While your eyes are healing, they’re susceptible to infection, and water can contain harmful bacteria. Don’t plan to swim or use a hot tub for at least a month, and keep the water out of your face when you shower.
  • Sleep as much as you want. You’ll probably feel exhausted immediately after the surgery, and this is perfectly normal. Sleeping is important to the healing process, so you should sleep as much as you feel is necessary. However, you’ll need to be careful not to bump or rub your eyes while you sleep.
  • Don’t bend or lift. The incision made in your cornea is self-healing and it’s vulnerable in the early stages of your recovery. When you bend or lift, you put pressure on your eyes that could cause that incision to reopen.
  • Take a few precautions in the first couple of weeks.
    • Don’t drive the first day after surgery.
    • Don’t rub your eyes.
    • Don’t wear eye makeup and go easy on face cream or lotion.
    • Don’t go out when there are high levels of wind, dust, or pollen.
    • Wear sunglasses outside, probably for a year after surgery.
  • Eat well while you’re recovering. A healthy diet is always a wise choice, but it’s especially important when you’re healing after surgery. Skip the junk food in favor of food that’s good for your overall health, like leafy greens and lean protein.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions. Use eye drops for as long as you’re instructed to do so, and don’t miss any follow-up appointments.

When you’re ready to schedule cataract surgery, call Snead Eye Group for an appointment. One of the only practices in Southwest Florida to offer LenSx Femtosecond Cataract Laser surgery, we provide our patients with an optimized refractive surgery experience. We offer several different IOL options, and your doctor will work with you to determine which is right for you and your lifestyle. It’s all part of our commitment to providing the best possible eye care to improve not only our patients’ vision but also their quality of life. Contact us through our website for more information and to find the location nearest you.


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