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What Happens After Cataract Surgery?

By K T Solis
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Immediately after cataract surgery, a shield is placed over the patient's eye. The patient then rests as he or she drinks a beverage or eats. After this occurs, the patient usually is permitted to go home the same day of the surgery. Another person is required to drive the him or her home.

After cataract surgery, the doctor will schedule follow-up appointments with the patient in order to ensure that the patient is recovering in a timely manner. The day after the surgery, the doctor will examine the patient. Following this examination, he or she will return for frequent appointments.

When a patient undergoes cataract surgery, the doctor will prescribe eye drops to assist with the healing process and ensure that pressure within the eye is controlled. The patient will be instructed to avoid placing pressure on the eye. He or she will also be told to gently clean the area around the eye with the goal of removing eye secretions or excess eye drops. It's important to learn possible side effects that may arise as a result of taking the eye medication.

Patients who have undergone cataract surgery will usually need to wear an eye shield when they go to sleep at night. The eye shield will need to be worn for several days after the operation, as this prevents the eye from friction or pressure as the patient sleeps. Patients should never place their fingers inside the eye which has been operated on and should not try to carry heavy objects since heavy lifting increases pressure in the eye. Normal daily activities can be performed without fear of damaging it.

During the day, the patient is usually permitted to wear his or her normal eyeglasses. At times, the eye that received the cataract surgery may see better without the eyeglass lens. If this is the case, the patient may be instructed to remove the lens for the operated eye. Some patients may even decide to refrain from wearing glasses.

After cataract surgery, the patient may experience mild itching or discomfort. He or she may even experience discharge from the operated eye. Others may suffer from eyes that are sensitive to touch or light.

These are normal occurrences and should not be cause for alarm. The eye doctor can often prescribe medicine for any mild discomfort experienced by the patient. These minor problems will disappear after about two days, and the eye should be completely healed in about six weeks. Other typical problems after cataract surgery include swelling, inflammation, bleeding, and pronounced pressure. Infection, vision loss, and light flashes are more serious but rare problems that require the immediate attention of the eye doctor.

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Discussion Comments
By anon999092 — On Oct 25, 2017

I just had cataract surgery. I had a lens inserted that gave me 20/20 vision in my eye. I thought I would have the same lens for my other eye. My dr. suggested not to do that, but have a lens that still gives me near vision in that eye so I would have 20/20 in one eye and near vision in the other. Is this a good idea?

By dustyrose55 — On Jan 26, 2012

Two days ago, I had cataract surgery on my left eye; it's also my lazy eye (Amblyopia). I'm 53, with type 2 diabetes. Yesterday, the patch was taken off and all was good except for the haziness in the eye, and was told I had some blood. It is now three days after surgery and my left eye is still hazy.

I see the opthomologist again tomorrow. Also I had my right eye done in august of last year, and had no problems. How long does the haziness last(in my left eye)?

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