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How Do I Choose the Best Eye Drops for Cataract Surgery ?

By J. Beam
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Cataract surgery is a common outpatient eye surgery that is most often performed on individuals of advanced age, but may be necessary for anyone who has impaired vision due to clouding of the eye’s lens. Patients will be required to use eye drops for cataract surgery. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops are standard, but the type and frequency of use may vary depending on the patient.

Anyone who has ever had cataract surgery will attest to the fact that eye drops are a routine part of the procedure, both before and after the procedure. The doctor performing the surgery instructs patients on the use of eye drops for cataract surgery and the directions should be followed precisely. In nearly all cases, prescription eye drops will be involved. There may be instances where over-the-counter eye drops are recommended for dryness or allergy, but a prescription will be required for anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops.

Choosing eye drops for cataract surgery is not typically left up to the patient, but in the event an OTC drop is required, the patient may be faced with the necessity of selecting the best brand. If your doctor recommends a specific brand, you can always compare similar, cheaper store brands if available, but be sure the active ingredient is identical in name and concentration. If you are concerned about cost, ask your doctor if a store brand equivalent is acceptable.

When it comes to prescription eye drops for cataract surgery, the surgeon will supply you with a written script and instructions. Patients concerned about prescription drug insurance and cost can always ask in advance which eye drops will be prescribed before and after the surgery and research and compare costs at local pharmacies. If cost is a serious issue as sometimes happens with specific name brands or tier 3 drugs, ask your doctor if a suitable generic substitute is available. You can also ask if he or she can provide samples.

Choosing the types of eye drops used for cataract surgery is not the sole responsibility of the patient, but following the instructions for use is. If you find yourself unable to self-administer eye drops, look for an eye drop dispenser, which is a simple medical device that aids the process. You can often find these available at larger pharmacies and through online medical supply retailers. You can also check with your eye doctor. Be sure to understand the dosage and frequency of use for all prescribed eye drops and call your doctor or pharmacist with any questions.

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Discussion Comments
By fify — On Jul 30, 2013

I've been dealing with chronic dry eye since my cataract removal. I'm using lubricant eye drops from the pharmacy for it. It tried several different moisturizing eye drops, but the best one is carboxymethylcellulose sodium 0.5%.

I asked my eye doctor about it at my last visit and he also said that this is a good one to use.

By discographer — On Jul 30, 2013

@literally45-- Wow, that sounds serious. Will you be getting another surgery to treat the condition?

And what type of anti-inflammatory eye drops do you have?

For serious inflammation, I believe steroid eye drops are the preferred treatment. Of course, this is not available OTC, so your doctor has to prescribe it.

There are also some alternative forms of eye drops, such as eye ointments and eye gels, which may be more helpful if you have irritation in addition to inflammation. Sometimes, if a new lens has been put in during the surgery, that can cause some irritation until the eye adjusts to it. Because those lenses are synthetic.

By literally45 — On Jul 29, 2013

I developed a complication after cataract surgery. It's called uveitis, it's basically inflammation of the middle part of my eye.

My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory eye drops, but they haven't helped much. I still have pain and bad vision.

Has anyone else experienced this post cataract surgery? What type of eye drop did you use?

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