When you grow older than age 50, you are likely to be diagnosed with cataracts. This condition refers to the clouding of your eye lens. It could affect one eye or even both eyes. A cataract causes loss of vision that eyeglasses cannot correct. You can also not correct cataract vision loss with corneal refraction or contact lenses. This may sound frightening, but cataract surgery can help restore your vision if you have a cataract. And if you have cataract surgery, you might depend less on eyeglasses. But then, there are do’s and don’ts after cataract surgery. You should pay attention to these to aid faster recovery.
The NEI (National Eye Institute) did a survey in 2010 on American seniors. They found that 68.3% of those 80 years and older had problems with cataracts. They even say that cataracts would grow significantly in prevalence in America in the coming years. As of 2010, there are about 24 million Americans with cataracts.
The NEI says that by 2050, that number may grow to about 50 million. Anyways, cataract surgeries are safe and very effective procedures for curing cataracts. Over 3 million such surgeries are performed early in America. Most of these procedures come out with excellent outcomes.
Overview of Recovery from Cataract Surgery
Without complications, cataract surgery should typically last for 15 minutes or less. But you would spend longer than that at the surgery center. You should be there for at least 90 minutes. You need some time to prepare for the surgery.
Preparation for your surgery would include the dilation of your pupil and the administration of preoperative medications. And after your surgery, you would spend a brief time for post-operative evaluation, as well as for instructions about recovery from the surgery.
Remember to take someone along who can take you home. You should not attempt driving immediately after your cataract surgery. Before you drive, your doctor should first test your vision. You should only drive after the doctor says it’s safe for you to drive.
The doctor will also prescribe eye drops (medicated) for you to use. You’ll use this several times daily for some weeks after the surgery. Make sure to use these religiously. You must also use a protective eye shield when you are napping or sleeping for about 7 days post-surgery.
Aside from the eye drops and protective shield, you would also need post-operative sunglasses. These will protect you from sunlight, as well as other bright lights as you gradually recover.
You will likely receive anesthesia before your surgery. Many centers will require that someone should be around you if you have received anesthesia. That person should be around as the effects of anesthesia wear off.
As your eye starts healing, you might also experience blurred vision and eye redness for some days or weeks after the procedure. Don’t make too much of it. It’s quite normal.
Dos and Don’ts After Cataract Surgery
Three things you must do to aid faster recovery after cataract surgery are as follows:
Make use of the eye drops prescribed for you
After your surgery, the attending doctor would prescribe eye drops for you. This will help prevent eye infection. These could be different from the ones you used for pre-operative preparation.
Ensure to follow the instructions of your doctor very strictly. And remember that the regimen may be different from your pre-operative preparation even if the eye drop is the same. You most likely will be using it more often.
Put on your protective shield while sleeping
You may think your eye needs no protection during sleep. But it is very vital for your eyes to be protected. You even need protection more while you are sleeping.
When you are awake in the daytime, you would know if anything is coming close to your eye. But at night, there is a risk of rolling over and accidentally rubbing your eye against a pillow. These could contaminate your eyes with germs and cause an infection. That’s why you need a protective shield.
Follow your physician’s advice
Last but not least of all dos is to do all that your doctor says you should do. Follow all the instructions strictly. If you ignore the advice, you may have complications. If there are complications, you may lose your vision eventually or need additional surgeries.
The don’ts after cataract surgery are as follows:
Don’t allow soap to get into your eye
Remember that cataract surgery requires a small eye incision. This incision will heal up naturally with time. This incision usually has no stitches. So you must give your eye all the protection it could get.
Since the incision remains open, it is much easier for particles, including bacteria to get inside. So while showering, you should keep your eye protected from soap and water. This might be difficult; however, it is very important.
Don’t press or rub on the eye
Rubbing and pressure are bad for your healing incision. Even if your eyes itch sometimes, you should avoid rubbing it. It might worsen matters for you. So resist the urge to keep your eye clear and clean for faster healing.
Avoid being too active shortly after the surgery
Strenuous activities and exercise can be quite dangerous after your surgery. Let your doctor give you the go-ahead before you start attempting heavy activities. Limit your activities to light and sedentary activities until your full recovery.
Cataract recovery is usually short and has no major complications. Your vision should improve shortly after the procedure. Don’t worry if your experience scratchiness or your eyes feel dry. These sensations will go away when your eye heals.
If you follow all the dos and don’ts after cataract surgery, you should fully recover within eight weeks. But you should be able to go back to your normal activities within 24 hours after your surgery. However, you should not be deceived into doing strenuous activities. Wait for your doctor’s okay before you attempt such activities.