How Long Is The Recovery Process After Cataract Surgery? | Complete Eye Care West

How Long Is The Recovery Process After Cataract Surgery?

Do you have cataract surgery coming up, or are you considering it? If so, you’re probably wondering what recovery from cataract surgery is like. 

The only way to remove a cataract and restore your vision is through cataract surgery. When a cataract begins to impact your daily life due to cloudy vision and other symptoms, cataract surgery is typically recommended. 

As with most procedures, cataract surgery does come with a recovery period. To be fully prepared for cataract surgery, it’s important that you know what to expect during this period. 

Keep reading to discover how long the recovery period after cataract surgery is!

What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

When you have a cataract, the lens of your eye is clouded. The eye’s lens is a normally transparent structure located behind the iris. 

Cataracts commonly occur in those forty and older because proteins in the lens start to break down and clump together as you age. Cataract surgery treats a cataract by removing the lens, thereby removing the cataract as well.

Then, your cataract surgeon will place a clear, artificial lens in your eye. This is also known as an intraocular lens, or IOL. 

Every year, ten million cataract surgeries are performed globally. Cataract surgery is a straightforward outpatient procedure, meaning you will get to go home after the procedure.

Your eye doctor will numb the surface of your eyes to ensure you remain as comfortable as possible during the procedure. The first step the surgeon will take is creating a small incision on the surface of the eye. 

This allows a small instrument to access the lens. Using ultrasonic waves this instrument produces, the surgeon will break apart the clouded lens.  

Once the lens is broken up, it will be gently suctioned out using another small instrument. This removes the lens, and the cataract, completely. 

With the natural lens gone, a new IOL is then implanted. It is folded up and inserted through the same opening. 

It unfolds on its own to take the place of your natural lens. Then the procedure is complete. Stitches are not necessary, as the eye will heal itself naturally during your recovery.

How Soon Will My Vision Be Clear After Cataract Surgery?

Many people are even able to notice improvements in their vision right away after cataract surgery. For others, it may take a few days to weeks for your eyes to adjust to the new lenses and for clarity to return to your vision. 

Your eyes may be watery after cataract surgery, which can make your vision blurry. You will need to plan to have someone else drive you home after the procedure. 

You may also experience a mild scratching or itching sensation, as well as increased sensitivity to light. Effects like these usually subside quickly, within a few days, but experiencing them for up to a week is no cause for alarm. 

Rest assured that your vision will continue to get clearer as your eye heals. 

When Can I Go Back to Work After Cataract Surgery? 

Immediate recovery from cataract surgery will only take a few days. You will likely be able to get back to most normal activities within ten days.

The exact timing of when you can return to work and other normal activities will vary per person. It primarily depends on when your vision clears. 

During your follow-up appointment, usually scheduled for the day following your cataract surgery, your eye doctor will tell you whether you are ready to resume your routine, including driving. Most patients are cleared to drive again after a few days to a week.

However, if your vision is not yet clear enough, your eye doctor may advise you to avoid driving for longer.

What Can I Do to Ensure a Smooth Recovery from Cataract Surgery? 

To give your eyes a chance to heal, you should plan to take it easy the rest of the day after your cataract surgery. It’s a good idea to give yourself a buffer before you return to work. 

Ideally, you are able to take an additional day or two off before you return to work in case your vision is still blurry and you are experiencing other effects of cataract surgery. While the immediate recovery period is relatively short, it will take four to six weeks for your eyes to heal completely. 

You should avoid swimming and wearing eye makeup during this time. You should also avoid strenuous activities for at least a week.

By keeping exercise light, you avoid putting any unnecessary strain and pressure on your already sensitive eyes. Your eye doctor may give you eye drops to help your eyes heal and prevent infection. 

If you are prescribed them, make sure to take these exactly as instructed. Overall, it’s important to protect your eyes as much as you can. 

Try not to rub your eyes. In the shower, try not to get soap or hair products near them. You may find it helpful to wear an eye shield while bathing or sleeping. 

Are you ready to experience the clear vision cataract surgery can provide? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Complete EyeCare West in Columbus, OH, today!

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