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Achieve the Best Cataract Surgery Recovery

Millions of people each year undergo cataract surgery. Recovery from your cataract procedure is usually pretty smooth. However, we’ve outlined some general guidelines to help you through the healing process. Drs. Danny Lin, Scott So and Karen Oxford provide tips to help you recover from cataract surgery.

Day of Surgery

Cataract surgery is a out patient procedure.  You’ll be able to go home the same day as your cataract procedure.  Bed rest is highly recommended after your surgery.  Generally, light computer work and television watching is allowed within a few hours following your surgery.  You may have a plastic shield over your treated eye when you leave hospital.  However, this eye shield can usually be removed the day after surgery at your post-op appointment.

At Pacific Eye Associates, you will have a follow-up appointment with your cataract surgeon the day after the procedure to make sure there are no complications. Dr. Danny Lin says, “Don’t be alarmed if your vision seems cloudy, blurry or distorted when you first remove the eye shield. Your vision may take some time to adjust to the removal of the cataract and adapt to the intraocular lens used to replace your eye’s natural lens.”

It’s normal to have:

  • Grittiness
  • Watery Eyes
  • Blurred Vision
  • Double Vision
  • Redness or a blood shot eye 

These side effects usually improve within a few days, but it can take four to six weeks to fully recover. Many patients report clear vision within several hours after cataract surgery. However, each person heals differently. You may need as long as a week or two before you see images in their sharpest focus says Dr. So.

Use Eye Drops As Directed

Before you leave hospital, you’ll be prescribed some eye drops to help your eye heal and prevent infection. You will receive an information package in the mail about your cataract surgery.  In this package, there will be a prescription for eye drops.  Please pick up these eye drops at your pharmacy before your surgery and place them by your bedside. You will need to apply the eye drops several times daily for about the first week following surgery. We recommend setting an alarm to help remind you about the eye drops.

Helpful Tips for A Quick Recovery

  • Don’t do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a few weeks. “Pressure to the eye can interfere with the incision before it fully heals,” says Dr. Karen Oxford. “Prevent putting your head below your waist. Movements, such as bending over, may also increase eye pressure and should be avoided initially after surgery.”
  • To reduce risk of infection, avoid swimming or using a hot tub during the first week of your cataract surgery recovery.  Exposure to water can put your eyes at risk of infection. “Give yourself at least one night of sleep before showering. Try to prevent the streams of water from hitting your eyes directly,” says Dr. Lin. In most cases, you may resume swimming and use a hot tub after a few weeks. 
  • Don’t expose your eye to irritants such as dust, dirt, wind and pollen during the first few weeks after surgery.  Your eyes may be sensitive for at least a week after surgery. Sunglasses will help protect your eye from dust, dirt and pollen, as well as, sensitivity to light.
  • Don’t rub your eye after surgery.  Generally, eye rubbing is never recommended.  Eye rubbing may cause tiny blood vessels to break.  Plus, germs can easily transfer from your heads to your eye.  Rubbing can scratch and damage the cornea.  In addition, disrupt blood flow to the back of the eye.

Ask Your Doctor

Your doctor and their surgery coordinator is your best source for cataract information.  Write down questions as you thinking of them, this way you can get the most out of your post-op appointments.  Your doctor can track your progress and let you know the proper timelines on when to resume normal daily activities.  Also, congratulations, you’re on the road to clearer vision!  Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore vision.  


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2100 Webster St, San Francisco, CA 94115