A cataract happens when the natural lens in the eye, which is typically clear, becomes cloudy. Cataracts can distort your vision and make it harder to drive, read, watch TV, and more. When you have cataracts, it can look like you are looking through frosted glass. During cataract surgery, your eye surgeon breaks up the cataract with a laser. He or she then removes the natural cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. Even if there are cataracts in both eyes, only one eye is operated on at a time.
Recovery Period from Cataract Surgery
The actual surgery only takes about 15 minutes to complete. Your doctor will keep you in the recovery area for about 30 minutes while your anesthesia wears off. You will then have to wear protective eyeglasses for a few hours while you sleep after. Most people will report clear vision after only a few hours, but you shouldn’t be concerned if you notice distorted, blurry, or wavy vision. It can also be common to have bloodshot or red eyes as your eye heals. You should plan to take one to three days off of work in order to fully recover. If you still have these symptoms after a few days then report to your eye doctor. You will need to apply eye drops for a few weeks after surgery. The entire recovery period takes a few weeks to a month. Everyone heals differently so you will need to go to follow-up appointments and report your progress to your eye doctor. Make sure to follow his or her recommendations closely. If you need glasses after cataract surgery, you won’t be able to get your new prescription until six weeks after the surgery when your eye has fully healed. Cataract surgery does have a high success rate and should improve your eyesight and allow you to resume normal activities once your eyes have healed.
Do’s after Cataract Surgery
There are a number of things you should do after surgery in order to improve your healing and protect your eyes. You will need to have someone drive you home after your surgery. You should always take your eye drops as directed. You should wear sunglasses outside. You should be taking it easy for a few days and rest if you feel tired. While you are recovering, you are still able to watch TV, be on a computer, read a book, or go for a walk. You can also bathe and shower.
Don’ts after Cataract Surgery
Even though there are a number of things you can do to pass the time while you are healing for surgery, there are some things you don’t want to do in order to prevent any infection or disruption to the healing process. Don’t rub your eyes. You also shouldn’t drive until your eye doctor clears you. Don’t go swimming or sit in a hot tub in order to prevent infection. While light exercise, like a walk, is fine, avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities. When bathing, don’t get shampoo or soap in your eye. After surgery, you want to avoid sneezing or bending over to prevent pressure in the eye. Don’t hang out in dusty areas to prevent irritants from getting into your eye. It’s also best to avoid wind, pollen, and anything else that can get into the eye and cause irritation.
Sleeping after Cataract Surgery
You will be given a protective shield for your eye that you need to wear during sleep, even if you are just taking a nap for the first weeks after your surgery. This can help you avoid rubbing your eyes and causing accidental injury while you sleep and your eye is still in the recovery phase. Aside from the shield, you shouldn’t need to make any big changes to your sleep. If you are a side sleeper then it could be more comfortable, as well as beneficial, to sleep on the side that wasn’t operated on to avoid applying any extra pressure to that side. If you have eye pain that is affecting your sleep then you should discuss with your doctor if there are treatment options available.
Bathing after Cataract Surgery
Your surgery doesn’t need to come at the expense of your personal hygiene, but you do need to avoid exposing the eye to direct water for about a week. You can resume bathing and washing your face the day after your surgery, as long as you are careful not to touch your eye and keep water out. Instead of splashing water directly on your face, use a washcloth to clean your face. Your surgery incisions will only take a few days to heal and close, but you should be careful not to get any water in your eye during your recovery period. You should always have your eyes closed when washing your face to avoid rubbing the eye.
Diet after Cataract Surgery
When your eye is healing from cataract surgery, you should focus on eating a diet that is beneficial to your overall health. This includes fiber-rich whole foods, lean protein, and leafy green vegetables. Foods you should avoid are ones that are typically associated with poor eye health. These foods include those high in refined carbohydrates, such as cereals, chips, or bread, and ones that are high in sugar. These foods tend to spike your blood glucose levels and this can damage the blood vessels in the eye. If blood vessels get damaged, it can increase your recovery time. A good way to avoid any processed foods is to avoid any foods that are considered junk food.
Using Your Eye Drops
Putting in your eye drops is one of the most important things to do after eye surgery. These drops help your eye heal and prevent infection. You should use eye drops as instructed by your doctor. Unless you are instructed otherwise, start the drops the morning after your surgery and only use the drops for the affected eye. Clean your hands before you use the eye drops. Don’t stop the drops unless you get advice from your eye doctor and make sure no one else is using your eye drops. You will be advised about any further use of eye drops at your follow-up appointments, which will be about one to four weeks after the operation. After the appointment, you will have advice on when to stop your eye drops. Even if you feel that your eyes have fully recovered or you aren’t having any symptoms, it’s always important to continue your eye drop routine unless your doctor notes otherwise.
Applying eye drops is easy. With clean hands, tilt your head back and look at the ceiling. Pull down the lower eyelid and add a drop into the eye. Close your eyes and wipe away excess liquid. Don’t let the bottle touch the eye. Once you have finished with your eye drops be sure to safely dispose of the bottle.
When to Seek Medical Advice after Cataract Surgery
You should seek medical attention and contact your eye surgeon as soon as you can if you have decreased vision or increased redness or pain. In rare cases, there can be complications that threaten your sight. Rare complications include endophthalmitis, which is inflammation in the eye due to infection. Patients that experience this usually have other health conditions that contribute to it, such as high blood pressure.
Contact Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute
Don’t let cataracts prevent you from living your life. If you are experiencing cataracts and are interested in cataract surgery, Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute has advanced laser cataract surgery in the Tampa Bay area. With this new method, you get even more precision to ensure an optimal result. Contact us for an appointment for eye care in Brandon, eye care in Plant City, or our other locations and to learn more and see if cataract surgery is right for you.