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What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

When my husband needed cataract surgery, I struggled to find information on after-care. This article is the result of my hours of research.

If you've just had cataract surgery, you may be feeling a little confused. These days it's a walk-in, walk-out procedure, and you may go straight back to work next day. On the other hand, you've probably been given a leaflet telling you to take a whole range of precautions for the next several days, weeks, or even months.

So, should you treat yourself with kid gloves or not?

It's understandable doctors want to downplay the risks of cataract surgery. Why make patients needlessly anxious—when most people sail through with no complications? However, you only have one set of eyes, so it's important to know what you can and can't do, and what's worth worrying about.

Take It Easy!

After cataract surgery, your eye may feel gritty or sore, but otherwise you'll feel your normal self - with the bonus that the world suddenly looks bright and sparkling! - so it's tempting to think you can plunge straight back into normal life.

Don't! You've just undergone incredibly delicate eye surgery. Even though you can't see it, and may not be able to feel it, you now have a wound in your eye that needs to heal. You may have tiny stitches - you don't want them to burst! The new lens isn't securely embedded in place yet, and you don't want it to be jolted out of position (because that will leave you with blurry vision forever), and you don't want to do anything that might cause swelling or bleeding behind the eye.

Although it takes a couple of months for your eye to fully heal, it's in the first week or two that you have to be most careful.

Don't Get Your Head Wet!

Precautions for Showering and Bathing

Bacteria are everywhere in our lives. If you're healthy, that's not a problem - but if you have a wound, bacteria can enter and cause an infection. Although it's been carefully made and carefully stitched, the incision in your eye is still a wound, so you need to avoid anything that might harbour harmful bacteria.