What to expect after cataract surgery
04 February 2020
What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove a cataract from your eye. A cataract occurs as your eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy, filling with a build-up of protein. This build up creates a foggy visual effect, preventing light from reaching the optic nerve effectively, which is what enables you to see. Cataracts are very common – in fact, 2.5 million people in England and Wales have cataracts which affect their vision. When you include people who also have smaller, growing cataracts which don’t impact their vision yet, that figure is much higher.
During cataract surgery, we remove your eye’s natural lens and replace it with an artificial clear lens. This clear lens can be either monofocal or multifocal. Monofocal lenses provide good focus for distance vision only, while multifocal lenses provide good focus for multiple distances (just as the name suggests!). Which lens you opt for depends on several factors such as your eye health, lifestyle choices, and suitability as recommended by our optometrists. Either way, the procedure is the same and your recovery is also very similar, regardless of the lenses you have chosen.
Aftercare appointment programme
We treat each eye for cataract surgery one week apart. This is to allow you time to heal and to make sure that your eye reacts well to surgery before we proceed with the second eye. You are given anaesthetic eye drops to prevent you from feeling any discomfort during the procedure. You might feel a bit of pressure on your eye but some patients say they actually feel nothing at all! We recommend that you take between 3 and 5 days off work, although you should notice significant improvement within the first 24 hours.
After the procedure, you will be given some medication and eye drops to administer at home, before returning to the clinic the next day. At this appointment, we’ll check that your eye is progressing and healing as we would expect. After that, we ask you to come in 7-10 days following treatment, 4-6 weeks following treatment, and then 3-6 months following treatment. The point at which your optometrist is satisfied with your vision, between 3 and 6 months after your cataract surgery, is when you will be discharged from our care.
When can you return to exercise?
For lots of people, one of their first questions is when can they resume their daily routine following cataract surgery. We recommend following these guidelines:
- Jogging – 1 month
- Aerobic exercise – 5 weeks
- Yoga/pilates – 6 weeks
- Weight lifting – 6 weeks
- Sauna/steam room – 1 month
- Swimming – 5 weeks
- Football – 6 weeks
- Skiing/tennis/cricket – 6 weeks
- Rugby/martial arts – 3 months
Water carries all kinds of bacteria which could harm your eyes as they heal from surgery. For this reason, we also recommend keeping water out of your face for a week after surgery, including when you’re showering. Keeping your eye pressure at a healthy level also aids quicker healing – and strenuous exercise raises your eye pressure. This is why we suggest avoiding intense exercise for a month after treatment, as well to minimise the risk of sweat entering your eyes.
When will my vision fully recover?
We advise you to rest at the clinic for around half an hour once you leave the surgery room, while you wait for some focus to return your eyes. You will take some eye shields home with you to wear for the rest of the day, as well as at night time for the first week. This is to prevent you from accidentally rubbing your eyes and disrupting the healing.
Your eyesight is likely to be blurred for a few days after your cataract surgery and gradually improves over the next month. Although most people will have their final visual result around this time, some patients might find that it takes several months to achieve their end result. However, most people notice that their vision has improved almost immediately after treatment, as the difference between vision impaired by cataracts and clear vision is huge.
If you would like to read more about how our patients got on with cataract surgery, head over to our Trustpilot page and read some of their testimonials. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0800 093 1110 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. Achieve the vision you deserve and make 2020 your year for 20/20 vision!
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