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AFTER CATARACT SURGERY

AFTER CATARACT SURGERY

Recovery from routine cataract surgery is usually very quick. Initially, your eye can feel mildly irritated, and your vision will be blurred. This will improve each day with most people having functional vision by the end of the first week. It will take at least four to six weeks for your vision to fine-tune.

Having cataract surgery is similar to getting a new pair of prescription glasses. This is because it can take a short period of time for the brain to re-adjust to the new vision. After cataract surgery, you may initially notice that objects appear bigger or smaller than usual, and your perception of space and distance may be altered. Try to be patient during this healing period as your eyes need time to heal and adjust.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AFTER CATARACT SURGERY…

AFTER YOU LEAVE HOSPITAL…

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I ARRIVE HOME FROM HOSPITAL?

REST! Go to bed early. It is normal to feel tired and perhaps a little nauseous after your surgery due to a combination of fasting, anxiety and the sedating anaesthetic.

Try to have something to eat and drink as you may be dehydrated after fasting prior to your surgery Good hydration will help wash out the sedating medication from your system. Take regular simple analgesia such as Panadol, Panamax or Panadeine, if you have any discomfort.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THE FIRST 48 HOURS AFTER SURGERY?

Remain close to home and rest as much as possible. Use your eye drops as directed and fill out the ‘eye drop chart’. Continue to take regular simple analgesia as required for any discomfort. If your eye waters, use a fresh tissue and wipe away the tears on your cheek.

WHAT SHOULD I AVOID IN THE FIRST 48 HOURS AFTER SURGERY?

To keep you comfortable during your surgery, strong sedating medication was administered by your anaesthetist. Even though you may feel fine, your physical and mental abilities may still be slightly impaired for the first 48 hours after your surgery. Therefore it is important that you:

  • do not drive or operate heavy machinery
  • do not sign legal documents or make any important decisions
  • do not use public transport alone
  • take care when mobilising, especially when you are away from your normal home environment.
HOW WILL MY EYE FEEL AFTER SURGERY?

It is normal to experience some discomfort and symptoms after your eye surgery, these may include:

  • gritty or stingy sensation
  • mild ache
  • watering or mild mucous discharge
  • blood-stained tears
  • redness
  • blurred vision
  • puffiness of the eyelid
  • dilated pupil
  • sensitivity to light
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WEAR THE EYE SHIELD FOR?

Ideally for the first 2 nights after your surgery. If you would feel more comfortable, you are welcome to wear the shield while you are sleeping for the first week or longer after your surgery. If you decide to do this, then please take care placing the eye shield correctly before taping it to your skin.

DO I NEED TO WEAR SUNGLASSES AFTER MY OPERATION?

It is normal for your eye to be quite sensitive to light for the first few weeks after your surgery. Sunglasses will help to keep you comfortable. They do not accelerate the healing process.

AFTER 48 HOURS…

WHEN CAN I DRIVE AFTER MY OPERATION?

Usually after 48 hours if you feel safe and your vision meets the Department of Main Roads and Transport criteria. Start in your local area during daylight hours. Do not drive if you are not confident!

WHAT SHOULD I AVOID IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS AFTER SURGERY?

Use common sense and avoid anything that may put you at risk of infection or an eye injury. For example, don’t lift anything heavy (more than 10kg) or expose your eye to a dirty or dusty environment like the garden, work-shop, or dusty cupboard.

Don’t perform activities that are vigorous, e.g. running, or that could put your eye at risk of a bump.

Avoid travel to a remote area where you are unable to access eye care quickly.

At all times you must remember – DO NOT RUB YOUR EYE!

WHAT CAN I DO OVER THE FIRST TWO WEEKS AFTER SURGERY?

As your eye is healing, your vision should be improving and any discomfort, such as grittiness or ache, reducing. It is ok to perform all your usual activities.

Use common sense and avoid anything that may put you at risk of infection or an eye injury. It is perfectly fine for you to use your eyes to read, watch TV, cook or sew.

You can bend over to put on your shoes or pick up light objects.

You can shower and wash your hair – but don’t get water in your eyes!

You can sleep on either side.

HOW MUCH EXERCISE CAN I DO?

Gentle exercise like walking can be resumed after 48 hours. Avoid any heavy lifting (more than 10kg) or vigorous exercise such as running, gym, golf or bowls for at least 2 weeks.

You must not get sweat into your eye as it contains bacteria and other germs which may cause an infection to develop.

MORE INFO in our GUIDE TO CATARACT SURGERY >

CATARACT SURGERY

THINKING ABOUT CATARACT SURGERY?

If you find the prospect of cataract surgery daunting, here’s a short introduction on what to expect at your cataract assessment.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CATARACT SURGERY

What is a cataract? When should you have surgery? All your questions explained…

Guide to Cataract & Eye Surgery
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