Cataract surgery is a commonly performed procedure which can improve your eyesight if you’re suffering from a cloudy cataract lens. There are a number of different factors which can cause cataracts, but they are easily treatable with a simple, one-day operation. By replacing the lens in the affected eye with a new, artificial one, your vision will be restored and let you enjoy life to the fullest again. It can take a bit of time after the surgery for your eye to heal and adjust to the new lens, so we’ve compiled a short guide on what to expect after your cataract surgery as well as roughly how long it takes to recover from cataract surgery and some tips for a faster recovery.
What happens after cataracts surgery?
Immediately after the procedure, you will need to stay in the recovery area for around an hour while you come around fully after sedation or anaesthesia. Following this, you will need someone to take you home directly as you will be unable to do so yourself. You’ll also be given a pair of sunglasses to wear which will minimise any glare and keep your eyes protected from bright lights. Once you’re home, you may want to take a nap or rest in bed to fully recover, but you’ll need to keep your protective eye shield on for the allotted time that your doctor recommends.
Recovering from cataracts surgery
In most cases, overall recovery after cataracts surgery should be quite short so long as you have no other health issues or underlying eye problems. The average recovery period is around a month and will include a follow-up appointment with your doctor in order to ensure your eye is healing as intended.
There will be a period of adaptation following the surgery where your eyes will need to adjust to having the cataract removed. Your eyes will need to compensate for the new intraocular lens which will have replaced your eye’s natural lens, so it is possible that your vision will appear distorted for a short time. If the symptoms persist longer than the normal recovery time, then you should contact your doctor.
Bloodshot eyes are a common occurrence as a result of temporary damage to your eye’s blood vessels, as is bruising akin to a black eye which can come about as a result of anaesthesia injections. Both will fade after a few days and are nothing to be overly concerned about. Again, if the symptoms don’t subside then it can be worth contacting your doctor.
Tips for a faster recovery from cataracts surgery
Your doctor will give you a detailed outline of how best to protect your eye and ensure a smooth recovery or point you in the direction of the official advice from NHS on cataract surgery recovery, but we’ve included a few points below to reiterate the importance of some key instructions:
- Avoid rubbing your eye or putting pressure on it as this can interfere with the healing process
- Try not to put yourself in situations that would cause sneezing or irritate allergies
- Don’t wear any eye make-up for 3-4 weeks
- Use the eye drops as prescribed by your doctor
- Keep your sunglasses or eye shield on when heading outdoors to reduce exposure to bright lights
Returning to work after cataracts surgery
Although everyone needs time off after surgery to recover, it shouldn’t take you too long after cataract surgery before return to work, but it does depend on what job you do. Those with desk-based roles can probably go back to work after just a few days, whereas roles with more of a physical component will need closer to a week before they’re back to full capability.
Getting back to work and settling into a routine again can help with your overall recovery, but you should still make sure to be careful until your doctor has confirmed that your eye is fully healed.
If you’re thinking about going for cataract surgery, then Ramsay Health Care can put you in touch with the right people you can trust to perform the procedure. Click here to get in contact and book an appointment to see one of our cataract specialists.
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