Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most common surgeries performed in the United States today. The surgery typically takes only a short time and is most often done as an outpatient procedure. Most patients recover quickly.
As with any surgery, cataract surgery poses risks, such as infection and bleeding. Before cataract surgery, your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop taking certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding during surgery.
After Cataract Surgery
After surgery, you will be asked to wear a clear plastic shield home from the hospital or surgery center to protect your eye. It is particularly important to refrain from rubbing your eye until the eye is completely healed. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed for use after surgery. Ask your doctor about how to use your eyedrops, how often to use them, and what effects they can have. Your doctor will provide you with further post-operative instructions. Usually you will be asked to return to the office the next day for a follow-up visit. Generally, patients can resume their normal activities after this post-operative visit.
Itching and mild discomfort are normal after cataract surgery. Some fluid discharge is also common. Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. If you have discomfort, your doctor can suggest treatment. After one or two days, moderate discomfort should disappear.
When you are home, try not to bend from the waist to pick up objects on the floor. Do not lift any heavy objects. You can walk, climb stairs, and do light household chores.
Risks of Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery slightly increases your risk of retinal detachment. Other eye disorders, such as high myopia (nearsightedness), can further increase your risk of retinal detachment after cataract surgery. One sign of a retinal detachment is a sudden increase in flashes or floaters. Floaters are little “cobwebs” or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision. If you notice a sudden increase in floaters or flashes, see an eye care professional immediately. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency. If necessary, go to an emergency service or hospital. Your eye must be examined by an eye surgeon as soon as possible. A retinal detachment causes no pain. Early treatment for retinal detachment often can prevent permanent loss of vision. The sooner you get treatment, the more likely you will regain good vision. Even if you are treated promptly, some vision may be lost.