The surgical procedures used to treat cataracts are pretty straight forward and are performed on an outpatient basis. There are two main types of cataract surgery: phacoemusification and extracapsular cataract extraction. The first and most common procedure uses ultrasound waves to break up the cataract. The second is slightly more invasive and involves physically cutting out and removing the cataract with surgical tools.
If you're getting ready to have cataract surgery, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the recovery process. Following are five things you can expect after cataract surgery.
Immediate Vision Improvement
Although your vision may be blurry immediately following your surgery, you will likely be able to see better within a few hours. Many patients report having improved and clear vision within hours of surgery. Keep in mind, however, that it can take up to two weeks for some patients to heal completely and start seeing clearly.
Medicated Eye Drops
Your doctor may prescribe eye drops that you will have to use during your recovery period, which typically lasts a few weeks. Eye drops are used to relive some of your discomfort, reduce inflammation, control eye pressure and prevent infection. If your doctor prescribes drops, be sure to use them as instructed.
Hard Protective Shield
You will probably be sent home with a hard protective shield or eye patch that you will have to wear for a few days after surgery. The shield keeps pressure from being applied to the eye, which may rupture the incision and lead to further complications.
Slight Irritation, Discomfort
You should not be in a great deal of pain after surgery. However, you may experience some discomfort. Many people report that their eyes feel irritated or scratchy after surgery. Most discomfort is alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers and eye drops. Generally, the discomfort associated with surgery only lasts a few days and is greatly tolerated by most people.
Some Physical Restrictions
While you can return to work and normal activity almost immediately after surgery, there are a few physical restrictions that should be followed for the first few days. Avoid bending over, lifting heavy objects and rubbing your eyes. You should also avoid activities that can result in an infection, such as swimming.
Recovering from cataract surgery is a rather short and simple process. If you have difficulty during recovery, be sure to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, especially if they linger. One place you can call about cataract surgery is Montgomery Eye Center.