Cataract Eye Surgery and Recovery

Updated on March 10, 2017
ethel smith profile image

As regular readers will know, I underwent cataract surgery at a fairly young age. This article is based on my experience.

As regular readers will know, I recently underwent cataract surgery. This was performed on my left eye and took place on the 4th March 2010. Two days have now passed, and I feel well enough to make a start on this article.

It will only be a start, though.

Recovery can sometimes involve problems, but for me the surgery seems to have been very successful. I do not want to jeopardise the work of the excellent surgical team though, and so I will complete this article over the coming week. That way I also can detail any problems, or the like, as I come across them.

Hopefully, I will be able to offer some reassurance to others who are facing this type of surgery. If all goes well, I will have the same procedure done on my right eye in around five weeks.

The fact that I cannot wait until I have both eyes well, must show that there is nothing to fear from this surgery.

Recovery: Avoiding Computer Use

A week has passed and I have tried to refrain from using my computer much at all.

It has been nice to have a week away from work, but it has been boring. Convalescing can be that way. Once again I give thanks for the NHS and the excellent care I received, and my husband. When the going gets tough he always pulls out all the stops—and he has been brilliant.

I arrived home on Thursday 4th March, at around 4.30pm. I had arrived at my local eye hospital for 1pm. After being admitted by the receptionist I made my way to the eye day surgery unit.

As all the patients were booked in, each had a blood pressure check, demographics checked, a wristband with their name put on and two eye drops administered to the eye which was for surgery. Both eyes are never operated on at once, in case of complications. A worst-case scenario can result in loss of sight or eye.

I was then sent back to the waiting room where my Hubby was waiting. He was going to go home, if I was to be there a long time. However, I was pleased to find out that I was first on the afternoon's surgical list.

Next I was taken to meet with my consultant. I had every faith in this doctor and she simply checked a couple of things and ensured that the eye for surgery was clearly marked. Procedures have been tightened recently, in order to prevent errors.

Back in the waiting room I received two more eye drops. These make sure that the pupil is dilated ready for surgery. One by one all the patients were sent to undress. A glamorous hospital gown covered by your own dressing gown was all that was to be worn. Slippers were allowed also.

A final pair of eye drops and the anaesthetist arrived. I was rather nervous, to say the least, and had opted for sedation. I still was anxious and unsure what to expect.

I need not have worried.

Some, much needed, lighthearted banter accompanied the insertion of a fenthlon or cannula into my hand. Then, as I was starting to be moved a squirt of the sedative and blankness.

The next thing I knew I was in the theatre covered with a light covering. I felt very calm and was answering the question, did I feel alright? The consultant was saying that everything had gone really well and that the cover would be removed.

In what seemed a flash I was in post-op, on my feet and walking back to Hubby with a lovely nurse. It was about 25-30 minutes from when I had left Hubby.

My eye had a large patch over it but there was no pain. Trying to brush my hair made me realise that my head, as well as my face, was numb. Local anaesthetic ensures that the patient feels no pain. Eye drops to help the eyeball remain perfectly still are also often administered..

I had to wait just over an hour, in which time I had a drink and a snack, then my eye was checked. As the patch was removed I could see nothing but was told that it appeared as if the surgery had been successful.

A smaller patch was applied, and armed with eye drops, Hubby and I were soon home again.

I had to remove the patch before bed that night and administer my first eye drop. Hubby helped remove the very sticky patch and once it was removed I could see again. Already my sight was so much better. By the next day the sight in the eye that had undergone surgery was near perfect.

One of the main problems has been because my eyesight in the other eye is still so bad.

I have tried wearing old specs around the home, that have had one lens removed. As many of my recent spectacles have been varifocals this has not really worked. In the end I bought some cheap reading glasses. I was advised to get the mildest I could manage with so that I did not harm the good work that the operation did. Although I can manage to use the computer a little it has limited such activities. Similarly I have not been able to read comfortably.

I have also bought some decent sunglasses. I understand that after cataract surgery there is a higher risk of AMD, age related macular degeneration, and that it is vital to protect your eyes.

My sight is already so good in my new eye that I feel sure I will not need spectacles in the future. However, I will probably still need reading glasses, as most patients do.

I have my check up at the hospital tomorrow, Friday 12th March. Hopefully I will get the all clear. This week I was told not to lift or bend. As it is eight days now I have been doing a little more today. I had to remain on sick leave from work, for fear of infection. I plan to take next week as annual leave and gradually begin getting back to normal.

Oh, and before I forget. One last important point. Hopefully, when I have my check up tomorrow, I will get a date for cataract surgery on my other eye.

I know that I have to finish my eye drops first, which will last for four weeks. Extreme hygiene is essential when administering these drops to prevent infection.I then have to have an eyesight test. However all being well my next surgery will be as soon as possible.

It is safe to say that I cannot wait.


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    • profile image

      Stacy Hicks 4 months ago

      I have dry eye from cataract in my right eye. I'm scared to have the surgery. I need a great Dr whom takes Medicare and United Health Care.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi ethel so glad to hear that your surgery went well, so did mine(check hub i wrote about it,if you like) It is so awesome to be able to see good again !

      Vote up !!!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Iðunn I hope you get your eye probs sorted. I obeyed doctors orders for the first week and intend to do the same next time. Your story is a good warning.

      Wildt I am sure you will be up and running in no time. Thanks for the visit and kind comments.

    • profile image

      Iðunn 8 years ago

      wow, ralph, that really sucked for your family. :( I'm so sorry. I had one eye done and everything went well. I rather liked it because I had one close eye and one far and I never had to wear glasses and I could still read.

      then the other eye went. a couple of things went wrong and one was my fault and the other nothing I could help. I didn't follow doctor instructions. I lifted my grandchildren, laundry all kinds of things. It never healed properly and is weaker. And the other thing, now I had two 'far' eyes and no near. It sucks to read now and I love to read. :(

      ethel, grand hub and hello again~

    • wildt profile image

      wildt 8 years ago

      wow very very good hub. i just started but this is a rolemodel hub.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks my friend for the kind wishes

    • mdlawyer profile image

      mdlawyer 8 years ago

      Kudos for the excellent hub. May God bless you to regain your normal eye-sight!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. I have left your link Marissa as readers needing such surgery need all the info possible.

      Wordscribe I know what you mean about wincing but that's why I hope this hub helps calm people's fears. If I can breeze through it anyone can.

      Yes money it is great seeing again but I just need my other eye done. Not long though. In the UK they always leave at least a month between in case any complications happen.

      Roll on 15th April.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Welcome back and thanks so much Ethel for sharing your experience with this eye surgery. I am so glad that all went well. I've heard that it is exciting to be able to see clearly again. Have a great rest of the weekend, my friend :)

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      Any surgery having to do with EYEBALLS makes me wince, Ethel. I was wondering what you meant about your eyes in a forum post you made. I'm glad your surgery was successful. How was your appointment yesterday, by the way? Were you given the "all clear"? Thanks for this highly informative hub, as always.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 8 years ago from Sydney

      Ethel, my husband also waited until he couldn't legally drive before "taking the plunge". He's unlucky because he has a high risk of retinal detachment than most - but when it's a choice between not seeing and not seeing, what can you do?

      He also struggled when he had only one eye done because of the huge difference in sight - like you, he couldn't use his old glasses even for one eye. Unfortunately the surgeon put his back out, so the second op ended up being a whole month after the first one! He has now had the second eye done.

      He's having some difficulty getting used to taking reading glasses everywhere, because he's worn multifocals all his life, but he's adapting.

      I wrote a Hub about what to do after cataract surgery, you may find it helpful (feel free to delete this comment if you'd rather not have the link on your Hub):

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Paradise you are so sweet. Yes I am limiting my computer time just now.

    • ParadiseForever profile image

      ParadiseForever 8 years ago from Chennai, India.

      Hi Ethel,

      First of all I am so happy you are recovering soon from your eye surgery. But even then, do not use much of your time on the computer until doctor is advising you for that. My congrats to you for crossing 100 hubscore. My prayers are always there for you to get well soon fully, become normal and write more for us.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I know exactly what you mean. In your position I would be the same. If surgery becomes the only course for you though I hope it goes well. Hopefully disasters are rare

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Ethel, I didn't mean to be quite so pessimistic. I'm glad your first surgery turned out well and I wish you well for the second. Until my brother's and sister's unfortunate experience I'd considered cataract surgery routine and minor. Now I'm quite a bit more wary of it.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks so much hello x

      I will be getting back into reading and writing next week I hope

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, ethel, I am so glad to hear from you. I was thinking of you many times - no lies - but didn't want to email in case you are tempted to get to the computer to soon. I am glad all went well and all the best wishes.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Hi Ethel, I just finished your excellent hub detailing your surgery. Thanks for taking the time to do so as I have always wondered what was involved. So many have this surgery and I am sure they will want to read about your very positive experience to steady their nerves. Well done and I'm glad you have your next appointment in April and that your check up was fine.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. I am so sorry Ralph that all did not go well for your relatives. I do not drive anyway but if I did my eyesight would have been too bad to. I am glad I did not read your stories before surgery.

      It is true that such surgery should not be taken lightly. However hopefully my tale will help steady the nerves of those embarking on this path.

      My check up was fine and I now have the date for my next eye. 15th April. Not long at all.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Oh ethel it is good to have you happy and well again. So remember not too much eye strain you said. We can wait for you to get back to top condition again. Great explanations and this should put peoples fears to rest. Thanks for sharing

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 8 years ago from US

      I will be there in about five years they say, good to know it wasn't so bad.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I'm glad it went well.

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 8 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      i am happy to know that all is well with you and hope that things continue on the right path.we never know just how much we depend on a thing until it is not available to us.thanks for sharing this with us because i know that there are those of us that need to hear some positive things about something as delicate as eye surgery.....thx 4 share

    • jgw899 profile image

      jgw899 8 years ago from Santa Cruz

      Yikes ! Creepy first picture too !

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Any eye surgery is not to be taken lightly. My younger brother and sister both had serious problems with cataract surgery. My brother's case was inexcusable--who ever typed the prescription for the lens made a typo and nobody double checked it. Therefore the wrong lens was installed in his eye and he was nearly blind in that eye. The doctor apologised profusely and arranged for someone else 6 months later to remove the wrong lens and install the correct one. In the meantime my brother had to wear a patch over the eye. Fortunately the second operation turned out okay or so my brother thought. He sued the hospital (Yale Medical School) and the doctor and the insurance company waited until the day before the trial to make an offer to settle the case. My brother accepted the offer. A year or so later he suffered a partially detached retina in the same eye. Fortunatley that was successfully reattached with laser surgery. A doctor told me recently that retina problems sometimes result from cataract surgery.

      My sister's case was even worse. A lens was installed in her eye but it was installed crooked. Her vision was worse than before the surgery. The doctor said, "not to worry, I can install a 'piggy back' lens on top of the first one, and this will correct the problem." He did but it didn't correct the problem. So she went to a second eye surgeon who removed both lenses and installed a new one. This improved her vision, but not completely. So she had a laser surgery "touch-up." This was recent so I'm not sure yet how that worked out. I told her she should speak to a lawyer. Her surgery was done a University of Arizona Medical Center.

      I've decided not to have cataract surgery until I'm unable to drive or read without it. Then I'm going to try to find the best available ophthalmologist.