Although each case is different, your vision should begin to get back to normal within a few days of having the procedure.
Whilst cataract surgery is common, a reasonable period of recovery time is still needed, and when you get home you will want to rest and recuperate for a while.
In this article, Gurjeet Jutley explains what you can expect after cataract surgery, and how long it will take until you can get back to your normal activities.
In most cases, you should be able to go home on the same day as your surgery. You will usually have a pad and plastic shield across your treated eye, and this can normally be removed the day after surgery. Feeling should begin to return to your eye within a few hours of the procedure, but it may take several days for your vision to return to normal.
Initially, you may experience a number of different side effects including grittiness, watering, blurred vision, and a red or bloodshot eye. These should begin to ease within a few days, but in some cases, some side effects may linger for a few weeks. If you have any concerns, always seek help.
As cataract surgery involves anaesthesia you will not be able to drive yourself home after the procedure. It’s therefore important to ensure that you have alternative travel arrangements in place. You will be able to drive again within days of surgery providing you don’t experience any blurriness or other side effects that restrict your vision.
It can be prudent to err on the side of caution and wait a little longer if possible before resuming activities such as driving to give your eye more time to heal.
Ordinary daily activities can be carried out the same or the following day after your procedure as long as due caution is exercised. This can include activities such as preparing food and domestic tasks.
Returning to work
Normally, you should be able to return to work within a few days of your surgery. However, if your work involves heavy lifting, takes place in a dusty environment or is physically demanding, then you should remain off work for a longer period to allow for a full recovery.
Avoid Strenuous Activity
Recovery for most people is straightforward, but it’s important to avoid any strenuous activities in the days immediately following your surgery. What counts as strenuous will differ from person to person but after a week of recovery following your surgery you may be able to restart light aerobic exercises. This might include walking or jogging on a treadmill, but you should avoid any high-intensity activities. You shouldn’t carry out any exercises which involve putting your head below your waist, as bending down places strain and pressure on your eyes.
Any intense exercise will cause the pressure in your eye to rise so keeping this pressure at a low level will assist with faster healing. When your eye is recovering it’s very important that it remains sterilised and clean in order to help it heal without an adverse reaction.
Avoid swimming for at least two weeks
It’s recommended that you do not swim underwater for at least two weeks post-surgery to reduce the risk of developing an infection. Water can carry a range of bacteria that may be harmful to your eyes as they heal.
It’s also important to remember this when showering, taking a bath or washing your hair immediately after your surgery. It’s always recommended that you try to wash your hair with your head tilted backwards to reduce the risk of shampoo getting in your eyes.