Cataract Surgery Recovery


Not so long ago, cataract surgery involved making a large incision in the eye, and patients were often brought into the hospital overnight or for several days. Now with the aid of new technologies, the cataract can be removed through a very tiny incision, usually on an outpatient basis, and the recovery time is significantly shorter.

Dr. Seibel’s advanced techniques do away with the need for messy ointments and eye patching typically needed following other surgical methods. Most of our patients are able to note some immediate improvement in their vision while in the recovery room following their procedure.

The day following your surgery, you will have an office appointment to ensure that you are healing properly. As visual clarity progressively improves, the eye is typically healed after only two or three weeks and ready for refracting for new glasses.  Patients who choose more advanced lens implants usually do not need glasses as much or at all after surgery.

Each individual person heals slightly differently, as does each individual eye. Do not be overly concerned if one of your eyes does not gain visual clarity within the same time frame as your other operated eye, or that of your neighbor’s or friend’s. Be sure to contact Dr. Seibel’s office immediately if you experience sudden change or loss of vision, pain, or redness. Routine follow-up visits are usually scheduled for the day after surgery, one week, and then two or three weeks after surgery. During this time you will be using eye drops to help the eye to heal and to prevent infection.
Your sight will usually improve within a few days, although complete healing may take several months. It is a good idea to have some help at home if you can, especially if you find it difficult to put your eye drops in. You can resume most of your normal activities right after surgery, but avoid extremes in lifting, bending, and straining for the first three weeks after surgery. Carrying reasonably lightweight objects, such as a laptop computer or a small bag of groceries, is usually fine. Bending over is fine, as long it does not create any strain. Avoid getting water in the operated eye for four days. Water that is normally safe for showering and drinking has bacteria in it that can possibly cause an infection where the incision was made in your eye. Wash your hair leaning backwards rather than forwards, or better yet, have someone else wash it for you. If some water does drip toward your eye, close your eyelids and very gently blot them dry with a soft towel or cloth. Avoid swimming for two weeks. You don’t need to stay indoors, but try to keep from being out in the wind, as something might blow in your eye; in your post-operative kit you will find protective wrap-around glasses. For at least one month after surgery, you’ll need to keep your hands away from your eyes to avoid rubbing them. Dr. Seibel will give you an eye-shield to wear at bedtime, to inhibit your rubbing or pressing on the eye in your sleep for the first five days after surgery. Avoid any eye make-up for one week after surgery, and for the following three weeks use only eye make-up that can be easily removed with minimal pressure to the eyelids. As for returning to work or driving, this varies from one patient to another and the kind of work involved, and should be discussed with Dr. Seibel.