Cataract surgery is a simple procedure, one that’s often performed in under half an hour under local anesthetic. It’s also possible for your vision to become clear very soon after the surgery, sometimes within a few hours. However, it’s important to remember that you have still had surgery, so no matter how well it’s gone, you still need to take some steps to look after yourself.
It will probably take at least a couple of weeks for your eye to heal, and in fact, the full recovery time for cataract surgery is eight weeks. While you are healing it’s a good idea to avoid any activity that might raise the pressure in your eye, as raised eye pressure can interfere with the incision, which can impact healing.
This means avoiding things like heavy lifting but also avoiding any position that puts your head below your waist. Exercises that raise the pressure in the eye include sit-ups and pull-ups, sprinting, weightlifting and some yoga poses such as downward-facing dog.
After cataract surgery, it’s natural for your eye to feel irritated, as though there is something in your eye. The natural reaction to this is to want to rub your eye to get rid of the irritant, please don’t!
It’s also a good idea to avoid any other irritants that might get into your eye by wearing wrap-around sunglasses to shield you from dust and pollen. Sunglasses will also help you with the light sensitivity that can occur as part of the healing process.
You should also avoid wearing makeup while your eye is healing, as it can easily get into your eyes and cause irritation.
Your vision is likely to be impaired for a few weeks after your cataract surgery, so it’s best to plan to have someone around who can drive you to where you need to be or prepare yourself by getting the numbers of recommended taxi firms. Your doctor will be able to advise you on how long to avoid driving.
Once you have healed, you will probably find that the world looks much brighter! This can make it difficult to see while driving for some people, so it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of driving glasses to minimize the glare or a good pair of sunglasses.
After your surgery, it’s important that you avoid getting water directly into your eye as it carries bacteria that could be harmful while your eye is healing.
It’s recommended that you get at least one full night’s sleep before showering or bathing after cataract surgery and that when you do shower or bathe you are careful not to allow the water to go directly into your eye.
You will probably need to wait for several weeks before you can go swimming or use a hot tub, but your doctor will be able to advise you more precisely on this.