A cataract is a clouding of the natural focusing lens inside the eye. It is derived from the Greek word for waterfall.
Cataract surgery is the most common type of eye operation performed around the world. With modern techniques, the recovery is far more rapid than it used to be, and long-term results are excellent in the majority of cases.
If you experience symptoms of cataract, then surgery may help to improve the quality of your vision. You should ensure that you have had a thorough eye examination with an experienced cataract surgeon.
Cataract surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic. Precision microsurgery is performed to carefully remove the cataract and insert a customised artificial lens. The lens is selected to give clear vision at distance, near, or both. There are several makes and models of artificial intraocular lenses (IOL). Not all lenses work for all patients.
Post-operative care involves eye drops for 3-4 weeks.
After cataract surgery, your vision may be improved immediately but not stable. Additionally, you may have received twilight anesthesia (sedation) prior to surgery, that may not have worn off completely. This makes it dangerous to operate a vehicle on your own.
After your cataract surgery, you should have someone take you home. It’s important that you have someone with you even if you’re taking public transportation or a taxi, just to ensure you get home safely and are able to rest.
Most patients are able to resume driving 24 hours or 48 hours after cataract surgery. However, this completely depends on the individual patient. The day after your surgery, you may return to your ophthalmologist clinic for a follow-up appointment. They will evaluate your vision and determine when it’s safe for you to drive and resume other normal activities.
It is very important that you wait for clearance from your doctor, as some patients heal more quickly than others. It could be that your doctor recommends waiting a little while longer before driving again, just to be safe. For this reason, you should also plan on having someone drive you to and from your follow-up appointment. Keep in mind that you may be required to wear an eye shield for a few days after surgery to aid your healing. It may also take about a week for your vision to completely stabilise. Your eye surgeon will discuss these factors, and how they may affect your ability to drive, during your post operative consultation.
Cataract surgery recovery can sometimes feel overwhelming however, it does not necessarily stop you from doing most of your daily activities and tasks.
In fact, doing light housework is totally okay, however, you should refrain from heavy lifting and bending over for up to a week after surgery. You should put aside any intense physical activities until your eye has fully recovered.
After surgery, your eyes will need time to heal. They might be more sensitive than normal. We advise all of our patients to avoid heat, steam and moisture for the first few days after cataract surgery.
Most patients can return to normal activities in terms of watching television, using a computer and mobile phone in the first day or two following cataract surgery.
After cataract surgery, you may be concerned about how you will sleep.
Wearing an eye shield is very important while sleeping. This will reduce the chances of infection and you rubbing your eye inadvertently.
You should try not to sleep on the side with the recovering eye in addition to wearing your eye shield. You can sleep on the opposite side of the eye that was operated to decrease risk of infection and irritation.
Each patient is different, so it is important to find a position that is comfortable for you.
- Your vision will seem blurry, and pupil will remain dilated for many hours after cataract surgery.
- After the cataract has been removed, a lot more light can now enter the eye. Sunlight and artificial lights may seem brighter.
- You may see haloes or circles around bright lights if you had a multi focal lens implanted into your eye. This sensation settles down for most patients over days to weeks, but may not disappear completely.
- You may feel a foreign body sensation or irritation in the eye, which usually settles down over a few days.
- Your eye may look pink or even quite bruised after a cataract surgery, and this is more likely if you are taking blood thinners such as warfarin. This is very common.
One thing that can help with your recovery is the eye drops that are provided along with instructions on how to use them.
If you experience any of the following symptoms post cataract surgery you should consult eye doctor on emergency basis
- Increasing pain
- Deterioration or loss of vision
- Increasing redness
You can take showers or bath after 24 hours of your cataract surgery.
Be careful not to get water or soap in your eye in the first week.
Clear any debris or mucus from your eyes with a wet cloth soaked in cooled boiled water.
Make sure you use a gentle eye cleanser and avoid using harsh soap.
Wait at least two days after surgery before you begin washing your hair with mild or baby shampoo or soap.
Try not to get water or soap in your eye.
After cataract surgery, you may feel tired and want to do more rest for the remaining day. This is very common.
Plenty of rest after your cataract surgery will speed up your recovery time.
Many people report that they feel sand in their eyes following eye cataract surgery, and it is a normal sensation. Most patients do not have a suture (stitch) in their eye, however the process of the surgery and antiseptic used to clean the eye can make the surface of eye dry and irritated. These symptoms settle down very quickly for most patients.
Generally, stairs are safe after cataract surgery. However, it can be different for each person. Make sure to talk to your eye doctor if you have any concerns.
After 1 week, you can usually stop wearing an eye shield or not while sleeping. Make sure to consult an eye doctor before doing anything.
You can now comfortably watch TV, computer / laptop, mobile and can read newspapers without any strain in your eyes.
Your vision may not be perfect yet, but should be improving over time.
After a month mark your vision should be much clearer than before cataract surgery. The eye should have almost healed completely.
Colours may look brighter and objects will look sharper.
You should avoid swimming for at least 4 weeks after cataract surgery.