A cataract occurs when the natural lens in the eye -- which is normally clear -- becomes cloudy. This can distort your vision and make it difficult to read, drive, recognize people, watch TV, and much more. It’s a lot like looking through frosted glass or a window that has fogged up. 
If you notice any changes in your vision due to a cataract, you should schedule a visit with your eye doctor immediately. Some of the symptoms of a cataract include difficulty seeing at night, clouded or blurry vision, sensitivity to light, halos around lights, fading colors, and much more. 
In order to diagnose a cataract, your ophthalmologist will conduct several tests -- including a visual acuity test, slit-lamp exam, retinal exam, and an applanation tonometry. The good news is cataract surgery can replace your cloudy lens with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens.

How Long Is the Cataract Surgery Recovery Period?

The actual procedure generally only takes 15 minutes to complete, but your doctor will place you in a recovery area for around 30 minutes while the anesthesia wears off. You’ll be asked to wear a protective eye shield for a few hours after the surgery and while you nap or sleep. 

Although most people report clear vision a few hours after surgery, don’t be alarmed if you notice blurry, distorted, or wavy vision. It’s also common to notice red or bloodshot eyes as the eye heals. If these symptoms don’t subside after a few days, report them to your eye doctor. 

Expect to apply eye drops for the first few weeks after surgery. The entire recovery period generally takes anywhere from a few weeks to a full month. Since everyone heals differently, you should report your progress to your eye doctor and follow their recommendations closely. 

older woman with eyepatch

The Do's And Don'ts After Your Cataract Surgery:

Immediately after the procedure, your ophthalmologist will give you a list of things you can and can’t do. Following their instructions is extremely important to ensuring a quick and successful recovery. Take their advice seriously and don’t be scared to ask any questions along the way. 

While everyone’s recovery period is different and your eye doctor will likely give you instructions specific to your eye, let’s go over some of the general do’s and don’ts following cataract surgery -- starting with the things you can do:

  • You can watch TV
  • You can be on your computer
  • You can shower or take a bath
  • You can read a book
  • You can go for a walk
  • You should take your eye drops as directed
  • You should take it easy for at least a few days 
  • You should be using your eye shield while you sleep
  • You should wear sunglasses outside
  • You should have someone drive you home after surgery
  • You should rest if you feel tired

Now, let’s take a look at some of the things you shouldn’t do after your cataract surgery:

  • Don’t rub your eye
  • Don’t get soap or shampoo in your eye
  • Don’t drive until your doctor allows it
  • Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting
  • Avoid swimming and hot tubs to prevent infection
  • Don’t wear eye makeup for at least a month
  • Don’t travel via an airplane
  • Avoid sneezing or vomiting after surgery
  • Avoid bending over after surgery to prevent pressure increase
  • Avoid dusty areas to prevent getting irritants in the eye

When sleeping, it’s important to wear your protective shield for at least the first week -- maybe longer. When washing your face, make sure you don’t splash or get any water directly in your eye. You should also consider eating a healthy, well-balanced diet following your surgery. 

For example, add more fiber-rich foods to your daily diet, leafy green vegetables, and lean protein. Avoid foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates to prevent rapid increases in blood sugar. A healthy diet gives your body the nutrients it needs during the recovery period.

Again, everyone’s recovery period is different, so listen to your eye doctor and follow their detailed instructions carefully. It won’t take long for your eyes to heal and you’ll have improved vision before you know it, so long as you’re careful throughout the recovery process. 

Doctor performing eye surgery

Complications Following Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is generally a successful surgery that only experiences complications in rare cases. In fact, less than 2% of cataract procedures end with sight-threatening complications and nearly 90% of all cataract surgeries end in a good outcome. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands. 


In some rare cases, patients might experience endophthalmitis -- which is inflammation inside the eye, generally due to an eye infection. Most people that experience this had other health conditions that contributed to it, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Again, this is rare. 


In addition to that, some people might experience posterior capsular opacification (POC) -- which is cloudiness of the eye after surgery. This generally occurs months or years after removing a cataract and is generally treatable with a posterior capsulotomy (laser procedure).

coastal eye surgeons front desk

Schedule a Visit With Coastal Eye Surgeons Today!

Your eye health and vision are essential to living a quality life. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring everyone is given the proper care and prevention from serious eye conditions -- including cataracts. At Coastal Eye Surgeons, your eye health and vision are our top priority. 


If you believe you have a cataract, want to learn more about the cataract surgery procedure, or simply want to schedule a routine eye exam to ensure your eye health is in good condition, we’re ready to help. With Dr. Omar Shakir by your side, your eyes are in good hands. 


Feel free to contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a visit with Dr. Omar Shakir. We think you’ll be genuinely impressed by our boutique-style office. We’re not only dedicated to best-in-class service, but we want you to feel comfortable when visiting our office. 


We can’t wait to meet you and serve you with the best eye care you’ve ever seen!

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