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What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

Cataracts—a clouding of the lens of your eye—are the most common source of vision problems that people suffer from. Most things in life require good vision—driving, running errands, operating machinery, working, etc.—so impaired vision can be extremely limiting to your quality of life. The first step to treating cataracts is by prescribing a stronger glass prescription, but overtime cataracts will still progress, making it harder to see. The permanent solution available to patients is cataracts surgery. This surgery involves removing the clouded lens, and even though it may seem complex, it’s an outpatient procedure. The surgery takes an hour or less, as it only requires:

  • Dilating the pupil
  • Applying a local anesthetic (to numb the area)
  • Removing the foggy lens
  • Implanting a new lens

What is the Typical Cataract Surgery Recovery Time?

Once you take off the eye shield, it may seem like nothing has changed because your vision may still appear blurry, but that’s because you need to give your eye time to adjust to its new intraocular lens. The blurriness will settle down in an hour or two after the procedure. Since the surgery requires the removal of your eye’s natural lens, some of the eye’s surface blood vessels may have been irritated during the process. Your eye(s) may appear bloodshot, but it will go away in a matter of days. There are steps to completing a cataracts surgery—one procedure is not different than another. On the other hand, patients heal differently. Some people may experience clearer and sharper vision on the same day as their surgeries while others may have to wait at least one to two weeks before the intraocular lens comes into effect.

What Possible Side Effects Are Associated With Cataract Surgery?

If you are wondering about the possible side effects that may appear after cataract surgery, post-procedure side effects are rare. Health care professionals have determined that cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly recommended procedures in the nation. For Nationwide Vision, this surgery is giving patients a new outlook on life, and the statistics are positive. Statistics show high success rates, with a very low risk of side effects (data based off of 90 comprehensive case studies conducted between 1979 and 1991):

  • 96 percent of patients’ eyes achieved 20/40, which doesn’t require sunglasses or contacts while driving (these patients also had no pre-existing eye diseases)
  • 90 percent of patients with and without eye diseases prior to cataracts surgery were concluded to having good outcomes
  • Less than 2 percent of eyes presented signs of side effects

A pre-existing condition is one of the only reasons a patient may experience side effects. Conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Eye diseases

There are treatments for eyes diseases that can help improve the outcome of cataracts surgery. This is an important discussion you need to have with one of our doctors at the first consultation.

What Kind of Medications Will I Take After Cataract Surgery?

Typically there are medications prescribed for post-procedure patients, including cataract surgery patients. Your doctor will most likely write a prescription for anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops, which will help prevent infection and inflammation of the eye. Pain relievers aren’t usually needed, but some patients may need them for slight discomfort after cataracts surgery.

How Can I Have the Best Cataract Surgery Recovery?

Everyone wants a smooth recovery, and the best way to avoid any complications is to follow these post-procedure tips:

  • Have someone drive you around on the first day
  • Avoid strenuous exercise
  • Stay upright after surgery (to avoid added pressure to your eye)
  • Try not to sneeze or vomit after surgery
  • Don’t let objects come in contact with your eye
  • Don’t swim or use a hot tub during the first week after cataract surgery (swimming pools and hot tubs are known for carrying bacteria)
  • Protect your eye from dust, wind, and other airborne irritants

How Can I Learn More About Cataract Surgery Recovery?

If your cataracts are progressively worse, cataract surgery may be the best possible treatment. To learn more about cataract surgery and the recovery process, please contact one of our doctors. Please call 1-800-EYECARE to learn more about Nationwide Vision’s eye treatments and locations.