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Important Steps to Take While Recovering from Cataract Surgery

With today’s modern surgical techniques, cataract surgery is a quick outpatient operation. You can think of your recovery as a three-step process.

Recovery from Sedation

The cataract operation takes only about 10 minutes — that’s the quick part. You get a local anesthetic to prevent discomfort.

Right after the surgery, you’ll be resting in a recovery room for 30-60 minutes while the immediate effects of the anesthesia wear off. This gives the staff a chance to review your aftercare plan with you and the person who’ll be driving you home. You’re not allowed to drive right after the surgery. After all, the sedation hasn’t worn off and you’ve just had an operation.

In the hours after you get home, take it easy. Nap or listen to music. Watching TV or reading is ok.

You may experience some temporary blurriness while your eye adjusts to the new intraocular lens. It should resolve fairly quickly; most people see clearly within a few hours, but for others, it may last a few days. It is not uncommon the night after surgery for the eye to feel scratchy or burn.

Don’t be alarmed if your eyes are bloodshot after the procedure; the blood vessels repair themselves within several days. You may see a glare or a ring around bright lights in the days following surgery. This is also normal.

Your doctor gives you antibiotic eyedrops and anti-inflammatory eye drops to place in your eye several times a day during the first week after the procedure. Be sure you don’t miss a dose. You will continue using these eyedrops for at least 3 weeks after your procedure. Also, you will need to get preservative free tears to use.

Follow-up Appointment

Your surgeon wants to see you back the day after the procedure to check your eye and make sure it’s healing properly. If your eye is still blurry or if you have pain or other symptoms, tell the doctor.

Post-surgery Precautions

Following are some basic safety measures to take in the days and weeks following your cataract surgery:


Don’t drive the first day after surgery, and follow your surgeon’s instructions about driving after the first day.


You may slowly ease back into exercising. Wherever you go, don’t rush. Walk slowly and deliberately so you don’t trip on a crack in the concrete or on uneven pavement — avoid a fall. Don’t read your phone while you’re walking.

Water sports

Avoid swimming the first weeks following surgery, and that goes for hot tubs, too. You may resume bathing and washing your hair 24 hours after your surgery.

Keep it clean

Don’t go to places that are dusty, windy, or have sand or debris that could get in your eye. Don’t rub your eye. Tie a string around a finger or use another self-correcting system to monitor yourself. Hold your nose to stop that sneeze right after surgery.

Finally, relax and enjoy your renewed eyesight. Call or book an appointment online to schedule a consultation for your cataract surgery with the expert surgeons at Paragon Eye Associates today.

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