As long as you are healthy, you don’t have any other eye infections and you don’t smoke, your cataract operation recovery should be without much ado. Research shows that several months after the surgery, most people get a positive outcome with better vision, clearer images and no other eye problems.
If there are no complications during the cataract surgery, it takes less than ten minutes. After this, you will have to rest for around 20 minutes to one hour in the clinic because of the after effects of the anesthetics.
A driver must be available to take you home or if not, you need to have someone to guide you home. Your eyes might be patched or you may be given glasses to wear to keep your eyes away from dangerous glare, light and any other form of infections.
You might be dizzy when you get home, you will be forced to sleep for some time. You are also expected to follow the advice of your eye professional on how to deal with this situation. You are expected to remove the patch or the eye protection gear within hours or after one or two days.
Always remember to patch up your eyes or wear back the protective gear during sleep or at bath time to protect you from infections. This should take several days after the cataract surgery.
How Long Does it Take for Someone to Recover After a Cataract Surgery?
After the cataract has been eradicated, do not be unnecessarily worried if your vision is not clear. It will take time for the eye to adjust to the new artificial intraocular lens fixed into your eye. After a while, you will notice your vision is sharper and clearer. This blurriness can take from an hour up to two months after the surgery to clear up. If the distortion goes past this period, you will be forced to seek advice from your eye care professional immediately.
During the period after the surgery, you are expected to attend several eye checkup programs to ensure everything is alright.
At times, you may notice your eye is so red or your eye ball is bloodshot. This should not alarm you. It may simply be because the blood vessels in the eye were temporarily damaged during the cataract surgery. Within several days, this redness should gradually disappear.
Depending on how your anesthetic injection was done, you may have something similar to a black eye injury that should also last for a few days. This often occurs if the anesthetic injection was done under the skin on the lower area of your eye.
Most cataract patients always report clear vision within hours after a successful cataract surgery. Some cataract patients may need a longer healing period, this depends on an individual, and how you take care of your eye and yourself in this healing period.
It is important to make an appointment on the next day with your eye professional to follow up on the surgery and to ensure there are no complications to the eye whatsoever. You have to be alarmed if in a few days or weeks after the cataract surgery there is no progress on the sharpness of your vision. In such a case, you have to contact or visit your eye professional as soon as possible.
There have been reports of dry eyes before, this should reduce as the eye heals. Some people however might have had dry eyes before the cataract surgery, in such a case, please seek the advice of your optician.
Typically, the recovery period should be less than 8 weeks. Your eye should be completely fine in four weeks’ time.
How to Ensure that You Recover Fully after the Cataract Surgery?
Recovery might surprise you, in most cases; your eye will function clearly on the second day after the surgery. You are however advised to follow professional instructions given before you leave the clinic, take the prescribed medicine and take precaution to avoid infections and injury to the eye.
Typically, the medicine consists of antibiotic eye drops and anti-inflammatory eye drops. Use them as prescribed and ensure you complete the dosage. You should use your drops several times daily for approximately 10 days.
At times, the prescription may be given for more than 10 days depending on an individual’s eye condition. Just ensure you go according to the prescription, this will help you to avoid infections and other complications.
Even though mostly oral pain relievers are unnecessary, there are some rare cases that they have been used on patients that experience extreme discomfort. But like in most cases, a cataract surgery should only cause mild discomfort.
The following are tips to follow for speedy and safe cataract recovery:
- Avoid weight lifting or any other strenuous work.
- Don’t drive on day 1 and avoid driving for a few days.
- If possible, don’t vomit after the surgery.
- Avoid bending from the waist.
- If possible, do not sneeze immediately after having the surgery.
- Don’t bump into objects after surgery.
- Don't uncover your eye to substances like wind, grime and dust during the 1st few days after a cataract surgery.
- Do not swim or use hot tubs in the first week to avoid infections.
- Avoid rubbing your eye; this is also important even if you are not recovering from surgery.
The surgeon will place a patch for safety over your eyes after the surgery.
Typically, here is a list of activities you should be able to accomplish a few hours after the cataract surgery:
- Watching the television
- Having a shower
- Working on the computer
Remember, it is easier to have the best experience if you follow and observe the instructions of your eye care professional. Usually, the instructions are written for your reference at home; do remember to take them with you.
In the case both eyes must have a cataract surgery, the surgeon will perform the surgery on different dates. The first eye must fully recover before the surgeon performs the second surgery.
Cataract Surgery Recovery and Typical Outcomes
In the USA, the most performed surgical operation is the cataract surgery. It is amongst the safest surgical operations. On an average, three million surgeries related to cataracts are done annually in the USA. Mostly, the reports are successful and patients are satisfied after the surgeries.
From prior surgeries, research shows that:
- Up to 96 percent of eyes that had no eye infections or problems before cataract surgery go 20-40 distance acuity. This means that the patients are legally allowed to drive without wearing glasses.
- In general, all eyes, whether one had an eye problem or not, around 90 percent of the cataract surgeries were successful and more than 90 percent of the patients who underwent the surgeries were satisfied.
- Cases of threatening complications are inevitable. An average of 2 percent had such complications.
In very few cases, cataract surgery is a threat to sight. Such cases include the inflammation of the inner side of the eye. Mostly, people who succumb to such serious infections also have other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
In some cases, rare though, a patient can suffer posterior capsular pacification. This condition is treatable by a mere laser process. It comes a few months or even years after a cataract removal and can make your vision blurry.