Recovery of Cataract Eye Surgery

Cataract is an eye condition where the eye’s natural lens becomes clouded and cannot be corrected with visual aids like contact lenses and glasses. This procedure will not restore vision loss from other conditions like diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma.

Cataract surgery is a safe, effective way to get your vision back after cataracts have developed on one or both of your eyes. The surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis and usually takes less than 20 minutes — although you should plan on spending about two-and-a-half hours altogether in your eye doctor’s office. The surgery doesn’t involve an extensive recovery time, but because every patient is different, it takes some longer than others. It’s usually pretty easy for patients to return to normal activity following cataract-removal surgery. Here’s what you need to know about recovering from cataract eye surgery:

When You Get Home

Many people report feeling tired upon returning home after having cataract surgery, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take a nap if you desire. However, even though it’s usually all right to remove the protective shields from your eyes several hours after the surgery, you’ll still need to wear them whenever you sleep for at least the first week.

Don’t be surprised if you have blurry vision or otherwise distorted after you remove the eye shields for the first time. Even though some patients say they have clear vision almost immediately, others have said that they experience vision problems for up to a week. It’s also common for eyes to be bloodshot after the cataract removal, but this should subside within several days. Another possible side effect is a scratchy sensation in the eyes, but this too should only be temporary.


Recovered cataract surgery patient kissed by husband Recovered cataract surgery patient with husband

The Following Days

You’ll probably have a follow-up appointment with your eye surgeon within the next day or so to determine that the recovery process is moving forward as it should, so be sure to mention anything unusual or concerning during this time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask for clarification if you don’t understand the answer.

You’ll likely be prescribed antibiotic eye drops as a layer of protection against infection, and your eye doctor may recommend using an oral pain reliever containing acetaminophen for a day or so after. Please contact us with any questions.

Recovered cataract surgery patient on a walk with a friend Cataract surgery patient recovered and taking a walk with a friend

What Happens If You Have Cataracts in Both Eyes?

Should you have cataracts in both eyes, you will need to have each eye operated on separately. This ensures the first eye has adequate time to recover and prevents any side effects or complications from affecting both eyes simultaneously.

For instance, your vision will likely be blurry for a few days following your procedure as your eye adapts to its new lens. This is often especially noticeable after your first procedure — because your eyes work together to focus on objects, your eye with the intraocular lens and your eye with the cataract will have to adjust to each other and find the proper balance. This can be a little disorienting, but the good news is that you can receive your second surgery on your other eye shortly after receiving surgery on your first eye — sometimes even within a few days.

For a small percentage of patients, the artificial lens that is inserted during cataract surgery will become cloudy after a number of years. This is called a secondary cataract, caused by scar tissue building up around the new lens, and is easily treated with a brief outpatient procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy that can often be performed in an ophthalmologist’s office.

A Team of Experts.

The doctors at Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers are among the most experienced in the DFW metroplex, having performed thousands of procedures for satisfied patients using the most advanced technology.


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