What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

Updated on April 21, 2018
Marisa Wright profile image

When my husband needed cataract surgery, I struggled to find information on after-care. This article is the result of my hours of research.

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If you've just had cataract surgery, you may be feeling a little confused. These days it's a walk-in, walk-out procedure, and you may go straight back to work next day. On the other hand, you've probably been given a leaflet telling you to take a whole range of precautions for the next several days, weeks, or even months.

So, should you treat yourself with kid gloves or not?

It's understandable doctors want to downplay the risks of cataract surgery. Why make patients needlessly anxious—when most people sail through with no complications? However, you only have one set of eyes, so it's important to know what you can and can't do, and what's worth worrying about.

Take It Easy!

After cataract surgery, your eye may feel gritty or sore, but otherwise you'll feel your normal self - with the bonus that the world suddenly looks bright and sparkling! - so it's tempting to think you can plunge straight back into normal life.

Don't! You've just undergone incredibly delicate eye surgery. Even though you can't see it, and may not be able to feel it, you now have a wound in your eye that needs to heal. You may have tiny stitches - you don't want them to burst! The new lens isn't securely embedded in place yet, and you don't want it to be jolted out of position (because that will leave you with blurry vision forever), and you don't want to do anything that might cause swelling or bleeding behind the eye.

Although it takes a couple of months for your eye to fully heal, it's in the first week or two that you have to be most careful.

Don't Get Your Head Wet!

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Precautions for Showering and Bathing

Bacteria are everywhere in our lives. If you're healthy, that's not a problem - but if you have a wound, bacteria can enter and cause an infection. Although it's been carefully made and carefully stitched, the incision in your eye is still a wound, so you need to avoid anything that might harbour harmful bacteria.

Even clean water may contain bacteria - or it can wash bacteria from your skin into your eye. Keep your face out of the shower for the first week - not just to avoid getting water in your eyes, but also to avoid any need to rub or press on them (think about it - what's the first thing you do after you've dunked your face under water?).

You can use baby wipes or make-up wipes to clean your face until you're allowed to put your head under the shower.

Of course, that means you also can't wash your hair. Most surgeons recommend you don't wash your hair at all for the first two or three days, and after that they'll only allow you to wash it with your head tilted backwards, so the water runs away from your face. If that's a problem at home, you may need to go to a hairdresser's.

It also means absolutely no swimming and especially no hot tubs for the first two weeks. Swimming pools and spas are loaded with bacteria - that's why they have to be constantly dosed with chlorine and other chemicals. The hotter the water, the more likely there are bacteria in the water and you cannot afford to get them anywhere near your eye! Contamination in seawater is also commonplace, so sea bathing is out of the question too.

When Can I Go Back to the Gym?

Although a few doctors say you can go straight back to normal after surgery, most surgeons recommend NO exertion for the first week. That includes any kind of exercise, including all sports, no matter how gentle.

After a week, you can start gentle activity such as walking or lawn bowls.

You must wait at least two weeks before restarting any vigorous exercise such as aerobics, contact sports or weight training.

If you're an exercise nut or a keen sportsman, you may be tempted to ignore these restrictions - however, isn't it better to miss out on a couple of weeks' exercise than risk your sight? Think about the impact of your foot on the pavement when you run, and how that jarring transmits through your body to your eye. Imagine the feeling of pressure in your body when you lift a heavy weight - that transmits to your eye, too.

More importantly, if you work in a job that involves physical exertion - even if it's baby-sitting the grandkids - let your surgeon know. Because most cataract patients are retired, doctors often forget to ask what you do for a living. Even if they know you're working, they may assume an older person isn't doing a physically demanding job. That's why one grandma didn't know that picking up her hefty young grandson would tear her stitches and require another operation!

If your work involves lifting heavy objects, digging, or any other physical activity, you may have to take one or two weeks' sick leave, or request light duties, for the two weeks after your op.

Are you unsure about having sex after cataract surgery?
Are you unsure about having sex after cataract surgery?

When Can I Have Sex After Cataract Surgery?

Many people are too shy to ask their surgeon about when they can resume sex after cataract surgery. And if you're in an older age bracket, the doctor may (wrongly) assume it doesn't apply!

The most common advice is that you can resume "gentle" sexual relations one week after surgery. Unfortunately, there's no explanation of what that means!

Remember that for the first two weeks, you're only allowed to go walking or bowling. Are you more vigorous in the sack than that? Be honest, now! For the average active male, a two week wait would be more realistic and much safer. However, the best solution is to pluck up the nerve to ask your own surgeon!

Housework and Gardening: Protecting Your Eyes

With your newly acquired eyesight, you're probably horrified at the dust and debris you couldn't see before - but hold your horses!

  • Bending over at the waist (weeding, scrubbing floors) puts too much pressure on the eye, so you need to be patient and put up with it for a couple more weeks.
  • Garden soil is absolutely chockful of bacteria, so you need to stay well away from it.
  • You must not lift anything over 15 lbs for the first few weeks - so someone else may have to take out the trash.

Don't mow the lawn after cataract surgery
Don't mow the lawn after cataract surgery

It's not a good idea to mow the lawn after cataract surgery, because mowing sends so much debris and dust into the air - but if you must, wear wraparound sunglasses or goggles to avoid any risk of grass blades, sticks, or soil blowing into your eye.

My husband used wrap around safety goggles made by TR Industrial. He sweats a lot and often complains that any safety goggles he wears fog up too quickly. These seem to keep clear during his yard work better than other brands he's used.

In fact, it's a good idea to wear sunglasses whenever you go outside. If you wore glasses before the op, you've probably forgotten how easy it is to get something in your eye on a windy day! Even a tiny speck of dirt or dust can be contaminated, so don't take chances.

Post-Surgery Symptoms: Gritty or Dry Eyes

It's normal for your eyes to feel scratchy or a little tender after surgery. You may feel as though you have debris or grit in your eye. You should only worry if your pain gets worse or if your vision starts deteriorating.

Another common symptom—which surgeons often don't tell you about—is "dry eye". Usually it's just a temporary reaction to the post-operative eye drops. If you have dry eye, you may feel itchiness or grittiness, or you may just have an odd sensation of tightness. It will help to avoid air-conditioning and keep off the PC—staring at a computer screen is a common cause of dry eye, even in people who haven't had surgery!

If it's severe, though, it can be painful and it could even affect your vision. Don't panic, there are some very effective treatments available over-the-counter!

If you're still taking the post-op eye drops, don't take over-the-counter drops without asking your doctor first—they might interfere with the prescribed drops.

Once you've finished the prescribed drops, you'll probably find the dry eye gradually settles down over the next few months, as your eye continues to heal. You can buy lubricating eye drops which will help ease the dryness and help healing (a properly lubricated eye heals faster than a dry one).

GenTeal Tears Lubricant Eye Ointment, Night-Time Ointment 0.12 oz
GenTeal Tears Lubricant Eye Ointment, Night-Time Ointment 0.12 oz

Don't waste your time with ordinary eye drops - they won't help at all. Instead, look for drops designed specifically for "dry eye". They have a few additional additives that make a world of difference for those healing from cataract surgery. My husband found this cream a soothing option for night time use when so many others had him waking up to put more drops in throughout the night.

 

Ordinary eye drops for contact lenses, sore eyes or redness aren't long-lasting enough - look for products labelled specifically "for dry eye". A few people are sensitive to the preservatives in bottled eye drops - in that case, look for single dose ampoules.

If you're still suffering from dry eye four or five months after the operation, you may be one of the unlucky ones for whom it's a result of the procedure. A visit to your surgeon is in order, but it's likely that you will have to use the lubricating drops long-term.

Be a Patient Patient!

Cataract surgery may be a walk-in, walk-out surgery BUT it's still surgery, and it takes a couple of months for your eye to fully heal. Be patient with yourself and best wishes for your recovery!

Questions & Answers

© 2010 Kate Swanson

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    • profile image

      Glen Gray 

      4 weeks ago

      When can you fly after cataract surgery?

    • profile image

      Phyllis Wilson 

      6 weeks ago

      My mother had surgery yesterday. Cataract removal with an "upgraded" lens. This morning she can only see light. No images at all. Follow up with surgeon didn't relieve her fears. Good her sometimes it takes more time. No real answers. Is this "normal"?

    • profile image

      Brenda Ferguson 

      2 months ago

      I had cataract surgery two days ago and my face it swollen around the eye. Is this normal?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      6 months ago from Sydney

      OK then give it time.

    • profile image

      Neos727 

      6 months ago

      The surgeon said after performing a scan, is a swell behind the eye and new drops would help to get back to normal. He also said that the three drops prescribed after surgery are for preventing infections and swelling. The follow up drops were specifically for swelling.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      6 months ago from Sydney

      I can't understand how drops would be connected to this problem. The drops are provided to protect against the risk of infection. I would suggest getting a second opinion from another surgeon.

      Sometimes there is debris left behind after a cataract operation, especially if the cataract was brittle.

    • profile image

      Neos727 

      6 months ago

      My second eye got cataract surgery surgery early September last year. In the few weeks after the surgery I noticed a spot 10 or 15 mm long and wide while using the computer. It was dark greenish grey. By the time I got to the 4th week that was the monthly visit to surgeon I told him this and he said that it may go away with time and prescribed more and different drops which I just finished. But... the spot still here, smaller and a lot less noticeable but still blind, that is I can not see that area.

      Now... the surgeon blamed me that I did not use the drops following the surgery correct and not long enough because drops finished before the month and I should have asked for more.

      So... drops after surgery are important and should be carefully applied according to their instructions, read the leaflet.

      Some Doctors are not great communicators, he hasn't given me any hint that I should ask for more drops should they finish early. When I visited my GP he said that the surgeon's letter said that the spot may be permanent or may go away in time and prescribed more drops.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      6 months ago from Sydney

      It depends what kind of lens they implanted. If you had a distance lens implanted, then you should have excellent vision for viewing the landscape or driving, but you'll need glasses to see the computer. Is that what you're finding?

    • profile image

      Patty Auten 

      6 months ago

      I had surgery 5 months ago and my eye seems worse now then it did before I had the surgery, My eye is blurry, I have a hard time reading, using the computer, it drives me nuts. Is this normal?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      7 months ago from Sydney

      Yes it could be

    • profile image

      Mae Homans 

      7 months ago

      Have not had the feeling for the whole 6 months, probably 2-3 months. Could this be an allergy, I do a lot of sneezing.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      7 months ago from Sydney

      Is this a new feeling, something that has just started? If so, it has nothing to do with the cataract surgery.

      If you've had that feeling for the whole six months, then you should go back and see your surgeon.

    • profile image

      Mae Homans 

      8 months ago

      Why do my eyes feel tight, or swollen, tho do not appear so, 6 months after cataract surgery

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      8 months ago from Sydney

      Yinia, if you have pain in your eye, you must see your doctor.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      11 months ago from Sydney

      What is your vision like in the eye that's been operated on? It should be very clear, but what you can see depends what kind of lens they used.

      You can try getting an eye patch and putting it over the "blind" eye.

    • profile image

      Arewedoneyet 

      11 months ago

      Hi. Had my first cataract eye done yesterday and just wondering - until my other eye is done, how am I supposed to see? I'm really 'blind' as in -875 in the other eye. I punched out the lense in the no surgery eye but it didnt help. Any suggestions?

    • profile image

      crazytrousers 

      13 months ago

      Thank you Maria. I will follow that advice and keep to low impact cardio on a stationery bike for a couple of weeks.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      13 months ago from Sydney

      I would wait the full two weeks before starting your running again. Don't underestimate the force when your foot hits the ground!

    • profile image

      crazytrousers 

      13 months ago

      Hi- this article and comments are by far the most informative I have found so far. Thank you. Had cataract surgery on my left eye last weds. Been issued a 2 week sick note which us helpful as I am a secondary teacher. I am a keen runner and lift weights 3 x a week. I am planning to take 2 weeks out of the gym and do gentle to moderate cardiovascular exercise on a stationery bike at home.I am 50 btw.

      When do you think it may be safe to resume running please? I usually do at least 2 x 10k runs each week.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      16 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Wow, thanks Marisa. That's an important additional piece of information. And it makes sense – trying to remove a brittle lens. I can see how that can cause trouble. (No pun intended).

      I didn't mention in my prior comment, but my doctor was actually pushing me to get it done sooner. Now I know possibly why. I thought I'd just go until I couldn't deal with it any longer, but I'm glad for your explanation and advice.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      16 months ago from Sydney

      Yes, but only for a short time!

      One thing to note about cataract surgery - delaying it is not necessarily a good thing. Cataracts become more brittle over time. A long-established cataract has more risk of complications than a "young" one. I'm guessing yours are not mature enough to remove yet, but once they are, you shouldn't put it off.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      16 months ago from Long Island, NY

      I'm appproching that time in my life. My ophthalmologist says I am probably going to want cataract surgery done within two years based on how it's progressing. So I've been educating myself to be ready.

      I found your article extremely informative and I learned something from you that I didn't read anywhere else — That having to do with avoiding showers and getting water in the eyes after the surgery.

      I am so used to splashing water on my face in the morning, and I realize now that's something I'm going to have to change.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      17 months ago from Sydney

      I suggest you contact your surgeon and ask him, but I doubt it would cause any trouble.

    • profile image

      Ali Li 

      17 months ago

      I accidentally applied eye lubricant ointment to the affected eye 4 days earlier than ordered. Will it cause severe damage to my operated eye? Thank you.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      20 months ago from Sydney

      Glue is a recognised alternative to stitches. no problem.

    • profile image

      Neos727 

      20 months ago

      Thanks for this article. It explains a lot thinks. I went looking for a reason why should not get the eye wet after one of my friends asked "what about if you cry tears will get it wet?!!!"

      I have done the first eye some 10 days ago and the surgeon next day said I am fit to drive and of course all the cautions, don't get it wet for 2 weeks, don't lift heavy things, don't forget the drops, come back in one month.

      I asked questions about how the wound will be fixed. He said no stitches were to be used but glue, which is better safer and quicker. No other explanation.

      Any comments on this glue?

      Neos also from Sydney

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      22 months ago from Sydney

      It's safe to resume most exercise after two or three weeks. I would be a bit cautious about hanging the head below the knees for a bit longer, but there are lots of yoga poses that don't require that - just let the teacher know and if they're any good, they'll be able to suggest alternatives. The eyes should be fully healed after two months.

    • profile image

      cwsmith102016 

      22 months ago

      I have had cataracts removed from both eyes in the last 5 weeks. I am 50. I am very happy with the results but am not clear on when I can resume all yoga poses. Surgeon specifically told me after 1st surgery not to do poses requiring me to hang my head below my knees but did not tell me for how long and post surgery instructions had no specifics. As many have commented, I think they are so used to dealing with older, possibly less active, people that they just don't give complete instructions to others. I would really hate to mess things up by resuming these activities too soon but am also feeling like a slug after 5 weeks of not practicing yoga. Any advice?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      22 months ago from Sydney

      That's most people's experience, complications are actually quite rare and most people feel pretty good after the op. As you say, it's a dangerous way to feel as it's very tempting to plunge straight back into daily life! That's the main reason I wrote this article.

    • vmills profile image

      vmills 

      22 months ago

      You have provided excellent advice in this article. After two successful surgeries, I now have excellent vision and my eyes feel good. So the tendency is to forget that they are still both healing. That could be a costly error. Hopefully, the people who read your article will follow your advice.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      22 months ago from Sydney

      Nirdicweaver - go back to your surgeon and let them know. It may be debris left over from the operation which is clouding your vision slightly.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      22 months ago from Sydney

      Patti, I'm so sorry for the delay in replying as I've been on vacation. Yes, it is quite common to get motion sickness when you've had only one eye "done". Take things gently, it probably won't feel better until you get the second eye fixed I'm afraid.

    • profile image

      Nirdicweaver 

      22 months ago

      I had cataract surgery 3 weeks ago, and on the second eye one week ago. Now my first eye is not as sharp as it first was. It was sooooo clear, but now it's not. I wonder if something is wrong. I can't see anyone over this long Labor Day weekend.

    • profile image

      Patti Ferrell 

      22 months ago

      is it common to experience nausea like motion sickness when having "one" eye have cataract surgery with a lens implant. Right eye had cataract removed, astigmatism corrected, and Toric lens implant. Things are not clear and for instance when walking the floor seems higher? and it makes me nauseous and dizzy pls advise. Thanks Patti

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      It is possible that the lens has shifted due to the fall. You need to tell the doctors in the hospital that she had just had the cataract op. Also call the eye surgeon and let him know what has happened.

    • profile image

      Lady Tracy 

      23 months ago

      Omg! My Mother has just had one cataract done and awaiting the other. She is in hospital after a terrible fall and all she keeps saying is she cannot see after this procedure and she deffo cannot I realise now and no one including myself has taken any notice of what she's saying please can you help to guide me in the right direction to sort this out for her. I feel absolutely terrible. Many thanks

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Yes that's a short time. They are essential to ensure the safety of your eyes so don't worry about it

    • profile image

      Nirdicweaver 

      23 months ago

      Ciprofloxacin is for one week, and the durozol is tapered down for a month. Then 2 weeks later it's the same thing again for the second eye. Is that still considered a short time period? Please let me know. I read somewhere on the Internet that these drugs enter the body through the tear ducts. And I was afraid of GI problems and things like that. That's what worried me. Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate it! My first surgery is scheduled for this coming Monday. I hope it goes well.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Yes it could cause stress and you should avoid it. However the danger period is only in that first two weeks or so, perhaps you could use an alternative laxative during that period.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Taken as tablets, those medications can have side effects - but in eye drops, you're taking a MUCH smaller amount and they are not going through the gut, so the risk of side effects is hugely less. Also you'll be taking them for a very short period of time. If you've had ciprofloxacin antibiotics before and had a reaction, let your doctor know as it would be best to take something else.

    • profile image

      Nirdicweaver 

      23 months ago

      In addition to the medication reaction question, what about straining on the toilet? Sometimes I have constipation that isn't immediately relieved with stool softeners. Does occasional straining cause any harm? This is just my normal nature.

    • profile image

      Nirdicweaver 

      23 months ago

      I'm concerned about the eye drops I need to take. Ciprofloxacin and durozol. Do these go systemic that can cause a sever allergic reaction?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Here's another "office" lens which might work for you

      http://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/en_de/better-visi...

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Here's another "office" lens which might work for you

      http://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/en_de/better-visi...

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Here's another "office" lens which might work for you

      http://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/en_de/better-visi...

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Annie, I think your specialist and optician are missing an important point - you don't need perfect vision!

      I wear contact lenses and I "need" a 0.5 correction for distance in my right eye. But I don't even wear a lens in that eye any more, because it's a waste of money - I don't even notice the tiny loss of distance vision. So that's what I'd recommend you do - it won't do your eyes any harm. I'm sure you'll find it doesn't bother you in day-to-day living.

      If you want to be really safe, then you could continue wearing your multifocals for driving - just leave them in the car! Or you could look at getting some "sunglass readers" - ordinary sunglasses with a section for reading set into the bottom.

      Now for close vision. There is a new lens designed specifically for office work - they're sometimes called "computer glasses". Nikon do one: http://nikon-lenswear.com/products/e-life-series/h...

      You would wear these at your desk, but when you go outside you'd just take them off and put them in your pocket.

    • profile image

      Annie2016 

      23 months ago

      I had cataract surgery for both eyes, last eye done two months ago.

      The implant lenses are both for distance.

      Before the cataract surgery, I used to wear progressive eyeglasses, for a decade, with total easiness.

      Now, I need also progressive eyeglasses, just 0.5 for distance, with minus 1 astigmatism and 2.5 for reading.

      I tried to make the eyeglasses at the same shop as before, using the exact the same type of lens as before, and same technology.

      The eyeglasses don't work.

      The middle corridor for intermediate use (computer) is very narrow (one inch, that's all it is).

      Distance is fine, and reading is acceptable. Just intermediate distance is horrible. I have to settle to just see blurry outside the little bubble of clearness. This is very unpleasant as I have to work with two computer screens, and having to communicate with colleagues as well (10 feet away).

      I have been told that I should just keep trying to get used to them.

      I changed the first pair of eyeglasses, as I couldn't get used to them.

      The second pair is better, but still un-wearable.

      After five days of wearing continually the glasses, the state of irritation induced by them was too much to bear (I had to work, too).

      The frame is big and wide.

      I am told I need three pairs of glasses, for each distance, one.

      As I am relatively young (50 years) I cannot see myself walking around with three pairs of eyeglasses around my neck.

      I don't know what to believe/do

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      Nice to hear from you! Yes, you will be amazed at how bright everything looks!

    • Green Bard profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      23 months ago from Tenerife

      Hi Marisa! I have just been reading this because I will be having cataract surgery towards the end of this month on one eye and the other at some point after that which I will be advised about. Much as I hate operations, I am looking forward to this because it will be so wonderful to see properly again!

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      No, once healed there is no reason why you should limit high intensity exercise.

    • profile image

      kimpassa22 

      23 months ago

      thanks for your reply Marisa. I know that post surgery I won't be able to do any exercise for a few weeks but I would like to know if long term there is any problem with high intensity exercise?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      23 months ago from Sydney

      If you are having lens replacement then you need to take exactly the same precautions as you do after cataract surgery. So, no intense workouts or very physical activities for at least two weeks.

    • profile image

      kimpassa22 

      23 months ago

      I am planning on having lens replacement so that I don't have to wear reading glasses, I am 55. Is there any ongoing problems, after recovering if I am doing very physical activities and intense workouts at the gym?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      2 years ago from Sydney

      My experience is limited but as I understand it, the reason cataract surgery helps is that the artificial lens takes up less space than the original lens, which will obviously reduce the pressure in the eye. I wouldn't expect it to be a complete cure, though.

    • profile image

      nika36 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for the quick response :-) Do you have any info about shallow Anterior Chamber and narrow angle glaucoma attack. Will cataract surgery take care of it completely or will she need iridotomy?

      I found some good articles on the net; would like to hear personal experience if anyone has had the condition and what treatment was done. Thank you!

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      2 years ago from Sydney

      Nika, if your mother already has mild cataracts, they are going to get worse as she ages, and she will have to have the operation eventually. Better to have it now than in her seventies or eighties when she may not be so fit.

    • profile image

      nika36 

      2 years ago

      Thank you Marisa for this extremely helpful article. My mom was recently diagnosed with very shallow Anterior Chamber both eyes and at risk for sudden glaucoma attack. Eye surgeon recommended cataract surgery to alleviate the same. Eye pressure was 14 and vision is good with glasses. She is 68 yrs, hyperopic (+4.00), has mild cataracts and is generally in good health. We are getting one eye cataract surgery done this week.

      Has anyone had a similar condition? Any words of advice or caution? The diagnosis was a surprise and I feel like we panicked and rushed to schedule the surgery. Your input is much appreciated.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      2 years ago from Sydney

      I'm so sorry Patricia, your comment went to spam for some reason. The "pink haze" is due to swelling of the retina and it's quite common. It should be all settled down by now - if it's not, go back and see your surgeon.

      The loss of peripheral vision is more of a worry. If you had a peripheral vision test at some time before the surgery, it would be good to repeat the test and compare the results. If there really is a difference, I'd say it needs investigation.

    • Patricia Zeal profile image

      Patricia Zeal 

      2 years ago

      I had my right eye done for cataracts a year ago. Everything went well. JUst had my left eye done 4 days ago with a different doc who is always rushing & so impersonal. I wasn't told to expect a pink glow on everything for a while. They did a poor job of educating people. It boggles my mind why EVERYTHING isn't typed out on paper after doing the darn surgeries for countless years. It's total incompetence and a lack of caring. They even neglected to tell me to remove my contact lens for a week before the surgery. In any event, how long can I expect the pink haze to last? They told me a few days to a week, but I can't rely on anything they say any longer. How common is the pink haze? And why didn't I get it the 1st time?

      I do think though that I have lost some peripheral vision in both eyes after the surgeries. Kinda feels as if the lenses are too small for my eyes. That's the best way I can explain it.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      2 years ago from Sydney

      Lesley, I've found surgeons are not good at explaining things to patients, and some don't even know themselves! It's why I wrote this article - when my husband had his surgery done, he got such vague instructions I didn't know what to do. I spent hours on the internet and also tracked down a friend of a friend of a friend who was a surgeon, to get the right information.

      As for the dirty water - there is a small risk but you will know if an infection does start, you'll feel and see the inflammation and can go back to the surgery for treatment.

    • Lesley McMahon profile image

      Lesley McMahon 

      2 years ago

      Thanks for this. There is much information on this page that I was unaware of.

      1) I didn't know I couldnt wash my hair in the shower for a week. I was told not to let water in my eye but thought that was only for the first day or so.

      2) I didn't know about the pc - I'm working on computuers all day (but not this week) but also study online which means a lot of catchup I already need to do.

      3) Yesterday dirty water splashed in my eye and now I'm worried that it may become infected

      4) I didn't know it's best not to do any gardening. I was going to pull out some weeds today. Going to give that a miss now

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 

      3 years ago from Central United States of America

      There is so much information - negative and positive - from personal experiences with cataract surgery in the above comments. Your hub was very helpful in description for both pre and post surgery. It does seem that many expectations of patients are not met, and perhaps more education by physicians prior to surgery would absolve some of the questions. Yes, there are risks to any surgery - and one does 'sign away' on that paper before surgery. As an aside, I find Similisan homeopathic eye drops very helpful both for dry eye and allergy eyes. Your hub was much needed and appreciated.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      4 years ago from Sydney

      Conventional cataract surgery has been around for a very long time and is well-tried and tested but like any operation, there is a risk of complications. Using a laser lowers those risks because it's more precise.

    • profile image

      Canlady 

      4 years ago

      Thanks Marisa - will definitely do that! Pre-op app't is on Apr 1. And just one other question: I was offered the option of having the surgery (the incision and break-up of the cataract) done via laser. I refused since from what I could determine at the time, there didn't appear to be a great benefit to justify the extra cost. I'm in Canada and the surgery etc are free but the laser isn't considered to be essential for a good outcome and therefore is something you are not covered for. Are you aware of any substantial benefits of going that route? Thanks again!

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      4 years ago from Sydney

      @Canlady, it sounds as though you need to double-check what your other eye will be "set" at - I'm assuming the second eye will be set for distance vision so you can drive, but you need to be certain of that for obvious reasons!!

    • profile image

      Canlady 

      4 years ago

      Marisa, Thank you for the great info! I'm 54 and had my left eye done just over two weeks ago. It's been a frustrating couple of weeks and the information here has helped me a lot. My doctor was not the chatty type with a "warm and fuzzy" bedside manner! ;) So on my next-day follow-up appointment I told him I was experiencing extreme flickering in my peripheral vision in that eye (almost like looking through a water bubble at the best of times) and when reading it is incredibly distracting. I can't even have a light on in the room on that side of me while watching TV in the evening with out that flicker each time my eyeball moves slightly. His comment was: "oh that should clear up in 3 days to 3 weeks - or it might not. I think sometimes it never really goes away, people's brains just adjust for it." I just about freaked out - I am only 54 not 84 and do not want to have to deal with this for the rest of my life!

      I also was not prepared for not being able to see well enough to drive at night and had never been advised about choosing a focal range - though my vision in that eye is now good at normal (face to face) and mid-range levels and I did, and still do need readers. So your hub and everyone's comments have been so very useful! I am having my second eye done in 3 weeks and in one respect can't wait to have a "marching set" again, but am also still a tad nervous. Fingers crossed all will go smooth with a good outcome. I am enjoying not seeing through a very yellow filter in my left "good" eye, as I still do in my right eye. I had no idea what the real colour of the new paint on the walls of my house was! I quite like it. lol Thanks again. :)

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      4 years ago from Sydney

      Nikita-2, the curtain is not a good sign, and could be a warning of a detached retina. I recommend getting it checked out urgently.

    • profile image

      Nikita-2 

      4 years ago

      Yesterday I had laser surgery following cataract surgery (on both) eyes about a year ago. The main risk is apparently a detached retina. Could you tell me the signs of that. When I blink I seem to have a thin curtain come down (only sometimes) and I have to blink ferociously to clear it. Is this a sign that something is wrong. Would love some advice from this very useful column. Many thanks.

    • profile image

      Nikita-2 

      4 years ago

      Thank you Marisa - but may I say what a help I've found this hub - its great to have a go-to site which seems to offer so much sound sense! I guess you could say I've been disappointed by both my surgeon and the optician and I've now changed the latter, who immediately picked up on an irregularity and sent me to a different hospital and as a result the findings of the double vision, the need for laser treatment and the macular degeneration.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      4 years ago from Sydney

      You're right Nikita. Don't just tell the surgeon what you want, and trust he'll do it right. ASK him to explain what he's going to do, and what your eyesight will be like afterwards. Ask, will both eyes be the same? What will your close eyesight be like? What will your distance vision be like?

      There are so many possible combinations and too often, surgeons play God and think it's OK to decide for you. Ask questions and KEEP asking questions until you understand.

      Cataract surgery won't cause macular degeneration but it's a poor eye surgeon who didn't find it BEFORE the operation. I'd choose someone else for your follow-up surgery!

    • profile image

      Nikita-2 

      4 years ago

      Make sure that your surgeon understands what result you want. When he asked me what I wanted to be able to do, I said play tennis and do photography. Advised by my optician, I was only having the second eye done to balance it up with the cataract eye. What I came out with was 2 eyes that were totally different and I'd have been better off with only having one eye done. Added to this I've now been told that I need laser treatment on both eyes, also that I have double vision in the non-cataract eye and also macular degeneration. I wonder how much of this was due to the surgery. I hope no one else has this kind of result.

    • profile image

      johnneel 

      4 years ago

      Thank you for your comments. I will give you an update next week.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      4 years ago from Sydney

      @johnneel, she could argue that if the anaesthetic had been effective, she couldn't have woken - so it's the fault of the anaesthetist.

      I certainly think it's worth a second opinion. It's unlikely a second doctor will give an opinion on whose fault it was. However, you need to know what is the best option for repair.

    • profile image

      johnneel 

      4 years ago

      My wife had cataract surgery on both eyes approximately one year ago. She awoke during one of the surgeries, raised up and hit the eye on the optical instrument, dislodging the lens. Another surgery was required to install a new lens which is now larger and distorted ( non circular). She uses a prescribed prednisone eye drop but has much worse vision than she started out with, and continued redness and irritation. So far no improvement over the day of the first surgery. She goes in for another exam Monday. During the first post opp visit, the surgeon indicated it was her fault for waking during the surgery. After a year, is it now time for a second opinion?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Carol, it can be a bit daunting to read some of the comments - but luckily their experiences are very much in the minority. Your discomfort is very likely dryness - it can actually get quite painful, so get yourself out and buy some moistening eye drops (make sure they're labelled for dry eye, and not just for sore eyes or contact lenses). You should only need them for a few weeks.

      Isn't it great to see clearly again?

    • profile image

      carol 

      5 years ago

      2 days after 2nd cataract op

      seeing so well

      amazing discomfort rather than pain and seeing the "crescent" but an annoyance rather than anything else

      fully expect it to clear

      read some comments on various sights about people moaning 3 years on

      ignoring them

      frankly i think the whole thing is a miracle and im so gratful i can se after months of a yellow haze

      be glad and prasie the lord

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      It's a difficult decision, I know! It depends entirely on what lenses the surgeon chooses.

      To give you a cautionary tale, my husband decided to choose distance vision, and was told he'd need glasses to read. The reality is that EVERYTHING within three feet is fuzzy. He has to wear glasses to eat, even to see me across the kitchen table (or in bed!). If he'd understood that, he would have made a different decision.

      By far the best option is to go for monovision, where you have one eye set for distance and one for close-up. I know it sounds weird, but it really does work very well. Unfortunately, not everyone is suitable for that option so it comes down to making a choice.

      I suggest you ask your surgeon to specify how many feet you'll be able to see clearly. Don't let him palm you off with a vague answer - remember you're paying him a lot of money, you're entitled to answers.

    • profile image

      Loretta 

      5 years ago

      I am near sighted and have cataracts in both eyes. First surgery in June. I am trying to gain insight to choose to keep my near sightedness and have glasses for distance and T.V. etc.

      If I choose this when I wake up at night will I still be able to see the clock, furniture getting to the bathroom?

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      These days when people sue for the slightest thing, consultants always have to be careful to warn of the risks, and there certainly are risks - because all surgery is risky. The procedure is regarded as "safe" which means it's about the same as the original cataract surgery - things can go wrong, but the vast majority of people are in and out in an hour with no problems.

      Ask him what the percentage risk is in this case - if your case is normal, complications are likely to be one in a million.

    • profile image

      Nicky Guard 

      5 years ago

      Hi Marisa - a follow up on my visit to the hospital re corneal dystrophy. It turns out that I don't have CD but that there's thickening behind the new lens, which happens in 20% of the population and which can be corrected with laser surgery. But the consultant was very careful to keep telling me there were risks with laser surgery. Do you have any experience of that? I won't be having it for some months. Many thanks and may I say what a help I've found this hub! Nicky

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Sorry reeree, I haven't heard of those. I'm so sorry they are still struggling to find a solution but so glad that at least they're still trying.

    • profile image

      reeree 

      5 years ago

      6 months and they are still trying to get scleral lens right they are still helpul for a few hours a day but causing additional damage. Now I am being told I am a candiate for new multi-focal piggyback lens but these are not done in US- only overseas. Have you heard anything about this and are there any surgeons in your part of the world doing this?

    • profile image

      Nicky 

      5 years ago

      Many thanks Marisa - I'll have a look at the site.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Oh dear Nicky, I'm sorry to hear you have another problem - but at the same time, at least you know what it is now. I'm not that familiar with corneal dystrophy but this site has a lot of information:

      http://www.cornealdystrophyfoundation.org/

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      @Herbert, I've never heard of the "mass of jewels" phenomenon, so I can't help there. It is certainly possible for your eye to grow a "secondary" cataract so I'd say that's what has happened. It's about the right timeframe. You may need laser surgery.

    • profile image

      Nicky 

      5 years ago

      Marisa - a follow up on my earlier post. A friend who is an optician suggested I come and see him to see why my eyesight had changed so much in 5 months since my cataract op - he found it strange that my current optician didn't want to find out why the eyes had change so much. Amazing, it took him less than 10 minutes to find that I have corneal dystrophy in both eyes and he's sending me to another consultant to get a proper diagnosis. He also said that it should've been picked up before my cataract op as the op can make it worse. I do have a condition called sarcoid, so whether this is related or not I don't know. I'll let you know what the outcome is. I had a sense that things weren't right.

    • profile image

      Herbert C Stubbs 

      5 years ago

      cataract removed six years ago. The surgeon who removed my old lens said it was a mass of jewels to look at and he removed it very carefully

      He said the mass of different coloured cells were a result of my body trying to repair my lens. Now after six years my eye is once again cloudy. do you link my body is trying to remove the new lens.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Great tip! I didn't think of that, but should have - I used to manage a spa tub as part of a big commercial building, and I know what a hotbed (pardon the pun) of germs they can be. In fact I've never set foot in one since, because I've seen how many powerful chemicals are added, to try to keep them germ-free!

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I had cataract surgery this year for one eye, and will do the other one next month. Your suggestions for post surgery care are spot on with what I was told, but I might make a couple of additions.

      Swimming pools and hot tubs are an even bigger no-no than the shower for the first couple of weeks. Natural hot springs are common where I live and they are absolutely forbidden for a month as were lakes and oceans. Again, it is a matter of bacteria in the water, and these things often contain considerably more than the potable water from your shower.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Rita, I don't know eye specialists in other part of the world so I can't help you. Ask your doctor or your optician.

    • profile image

      rita malhotra 

      5 years ago

      HI MARISSA

      CAN YOU SUGGEST ANY EYE SPECIALIST WHO CAN I GO TO. BECAUSE I WANT TO TAKE SECOND ADVISE BEFORE I GO FOR THE LASER SURGERY AGAIN AND MESS UP MORE OF MY EYE

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      That is an odd outcome. Definitely go back to your surgeon and ask for an explanation. It may be possible to have lasik surgery rather than another cataract op to improve things.

    • profile image

      Nicky 

      5 years ago

      Marisa - many thanks for your comment. No, I mean I can see well for middle distance and the rest of the time I need glasses. I guess you're right I should go back to my surgeon but what can he do other than to do another op and isn't that risky? I'm also a bit disappointed in my optician, who doesn't seem to be interested in the outcome.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Hi Reeree, so relieved to hear your vision has improved so much, even if it is at a cost. You've had such a traumatic time! I suggest writing to DoM again, sometimes messages get lost in the spam filter.

    • profile image

      Reeree 

      5 years ago

      Hi- back again. Finally got my scleral lens- realize just How Much I've missed seeing in the last year. Now I need only minor driving glasses and +1 reading glass. Still need to work on comfort but finally something helps- these are not a long term solution as they are VERY expensive to get and to maintain on a day to day basis and they do take a lot of work and effort but, for now, at least I can function. I did write to Daughter of Maut but have not receved any further input. Thank you for your long distance support and info.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Rita, if you have distance lenses in both eyes, you have to wear reading glasses to see anything close up - to eat, to read, to put on make-up, even to see the face of someone you're talking to. It's a bad idea. So what you have is the best thing - one eye for distance, one eye for close. It's a very normal way to do cataract surgery.

      The tissue from the cataract is a different thing, if it is making your vision cloudy then it needs to be removed. If you're worried, it would be worth seeing another doctor.

    • profile image

      rita malhotra 

      5 years ago

      hi Marisa

      when i had catract surgery , we discussed with doctor, that she will put distance lens but when she did surgery I could not see far, I could not drive but i was able to see close clearly, than she did second surgey , than I can see distance fine, when i went back she told me a tissue from catract surgery left, means she had to do laser surgery and when she put the lens in first eye, made mistake in surface, please suggest

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Nicky, I'm a bit confused. Do you mean you can see well for middle distance but need glasses for both distance and close-up work? Or do you have one eye which can see close up, and one eye which can see long distance?

      If you have one eye for reading and one eye for distance, then that's called "monovision" and it's one of the most common ways of doing cataract surgery. You don't need glasses: you just need to give your brain time to get used to using one eye for distance and one eye for reading.

      If you're still confused, go back to your surgeon and ask him to explain what he's done. You paid him a lot of money, you're entitled to an explanation.

    • profile image

      Nicky 

      5 years ago

      I have the same problem as Rita. After cataract surgery I have to wear glasses for watching TV and driving and reading glasses for reading. This is very inconvenient, especially when watching TV or going to lectures as I have to constantly be changing my glasses. My optician said they are far too different to get verifocal glasses and he's never seen such a difference before. What to do?? I feel pretty sick about it, especially as the surgeon and I had discussed what sort of vision I wanted before the operation on both eyes. In fact I only had a cataract on the one eye but I had the other eye done specifically to make them even!!

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      5 years ago from Sydney

      Rita, I strongly advise you to go to another doctor and get his opinion before you get any more surgery.

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