What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

Cataracts refer to the clouding of the eye’s lens over time. In serious cases, cataract surgery may be necessary to remove the cataract and replace the cloudy lens with an artificial lens. Following cataract surgery, you can expect initial blurred vision, inflammation, and the need to wear glasses. 

Initial Blurred Vision 

Following cataract surgery, your eyes may appear cloudy, blurry, or distorted because the eye’s shield has been removed. It can take some time for your eyes to adjust to the removal of the cataract and replacement with the intraocular lens. During this adaptation period, some patients report “wavy” vision or distortions. This should only last about an hour before the eye adjusts. You may even notice your vision is blurry for a few days. As your eye heals and adjusts to a new way of seeing the world, your vision will improve. Most doctors follow up with their patients the day following surgery to check vision and address concerns. 

Inflammation 

The body naturally protects itself from exterior elements penetrating it with inflammation. It is your body’s way of creating a cushion around the injury. Following surgery, inflammation around your eyes is very likely. Some patients even have a slight black eye as their body tries to heal itself. Your doctor may prescribe an ocular steroid treatment to use following surgery. Ocular steroids are intended to address inflammation that could result after the surgery has been completed. If your eyes are still swollen and red a week following your operation, contact your doctor. 

Wear Glasses 

Following cataract surgery, your eyes are fragile and need protection. Glasses provide a layer of protection from debris and other objects infecting your eyes. Glasses also help give you better vision as a full vision recovery can take 8 to 10 weeks. Typically, your doctor will fit you for long-term eyeglasses one to three months following your operation. It is also important you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays outside. Initially glasses are needed to help your eyes heal, then to protect them and make sure the surgery’s effects are successful. 

If at any point during your recovery you notice your eyesight is getting worse, there is discharge from your eye, or worsening eye pain, you must contact your doctor immediately. While complications with cataract surgery are rare, it is important to follow up with any concerns to prevent extensive problems.

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