If you have cataracts, the thought of undergoing surgery can be daunting. But while facing down the prospect of a complete cataract removal may not sound pleasant, it’s often worth it. And with diligent postoperative care, your healing time and recovery process don’t have to take so long.
Cataract surgery is a standard and effective procedure that can help restore clear vision. While the surgery itself is relatively quick and straightforward, the recovery process can vary from person to person. For those eager to return to their daily activities as soon as possible, there are ways to promote faster healing after cataract surgery.
In this blog, we’ll tackle everything you need about cataract surgery recovery — how long typical healing takes, cataract surgery complications to watch out for and ideal practices for healing faster without compromising your health or safety. We’ll also discuss cataract surgery prognosis and why adhering to the doctor’s recommendations is essential.
Book a consultation with Dr Jimmy Lim today.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Cataract Surgery?
The recovery time after cataract surgery can vary from person to person. Still, most people experience significant improvements in their vision within a few days to a few weeks after the surgery. Following your doctor’s instructions carefully is a prerequisite to a smooth and successful recovery.
Immediately after the surgery, you may experience some discomfort, mild pain, or itching, and your eye may be red and sensitive to light. Your doctor may provide eye drops or medications to manage pain or inflammation and prevent infection. You will also need to wear a protective eye shield for a few days to prevent accidental rubbing or pressure on the eye.
Nevertheless, blurred vision clears within 24 hours of surgery and up to two to three days. After a month, most people are completely healed as long as postoperative instructions are followed. Further, adhering to follow-up consultations is crucial for the doctor to evaluate your recovery progress. This will also pave the way to determine if there are complications. From there, routine eye check-ups are recommended to ensure your vision is clear, and no new cataract formation has occurred.
After cataract surgery, you can ensure smooth recovery and healing by following these steps.
1. Follow Postoperative Instructions
You need to follow postoperative instructions after any surgery, whether minor or major, to ensure the procedure’s success and promote a favourable outcome for the patient.
There are various reasons why adhering to postoperative instructions is important.
Prevent complications. Cataract surgery is a safe and routine procedure, but there are still risks of complications like infection or bleeding. Complying with your doctor’s instructions can help reduce these untoward complications.
Promote healing. With proper postoperative care, you will heal faster and have a reduced risk of infection and other complications.
Optimise vision outcomes. Though cataract surgery is generally safe and effective, complying with your doctor’s instructions can help optimise the final vision outcome after the procedure.
Minimise discomfort. Lastly, following the doctor’s advice can help reduce pain after surgery.
Read: 6 Factors That Affect the Cost of Cataract Surgery in Singapore
2. Remember to Rest
Just like any other surgical procedure, you need to rest your eyes. Resting allows your body to focus its energy on healing the surgical site. Since cataract surgery can cause inflammation and discomfort, avoiding lifting heavy objects or performing strenuous activities for at least a few days can reduce the risk of complications. Your body needs time to heal, so getting plenty of rest is essential.
3. Protect your Eyes
After cataract surgery, you must protect your eyes to ensure proper healing and avoid potential complications. The eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens during cataract surgery. This process can cause swelling and eye irritation, increasing sensitivity to light and risk of injury. To protect your eyes, avoid activities that may put the eyes at risk of injury, wear ultraviolet rays (UV) protection glasses, and maintain optimum eye health.
4. Use Medicines as Directed
After cataract surgery, the doctor will prescribe eye drops, depending on the patient’s specific needs. Antibiotic eye drops and anti-inflammatory eye drops are some of the most commonly recommended medicines after surgery.
Following your surgeon’s instructions carefully regarding eye drops after cataract surgery is essential. Be sure to consult your surgeon before stopping using the drops. If you experience any discomfort, redness, or vision changes after using your eye drops, contact your surgeon or healthcare provider immediately.
5. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet after cataract surgery can help promote healing, reduce the risk of infection and inflammation, and support overall health and well-being. A healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help promote healing. These nutrients support tissue repair, reduce the risk of infection by boosting the immune system, and reduce inflammation.
6. Attend All Follow-up Appointments
Attending all follow-up appointments is crucial after cataract surgery to ensure the eye is healing properly and to detect and address potential complications. During these doctor visits, the surgeon will monitor the progress of your recovery, detect complications, adjust your treatment plan, and maximise the outcomes of the surgery. Following up with your eye doctor after cataract surgery can help augment your chances of a successful outcome. Regular check-ins ensure you are healing correctly and that any issues can be addressed promptly to prevent further complications.
Here’s a quick overview for you:
If you want to learn more about the 3 types of cataract surgery, check out my blog about it.
Read: 7 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Cataracts
Possible Cataract Surgery Complications and Risks
Cataract surgery has long been accepted as a safe and effective procedure with a low risk of complications. However, like any surgery, there are potential risks and complications that patients should be aware of. Cataract surgery’s possible complications and risks include infection, bleeding, inflammation, glaucoma, retinal detachment, a. Nevertheless, these complications are rare; most patients experience a successful outcome after cataract surgery. The doctor will discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure with you before the procedure. They will also provide tailored care to reduce these risks.
Your Road To Recovery
Cataract surgery can be a daunting process, but the recovery process can go smoothly with the proper care and steps taken before and after the operation. Cataract surgery has come a long way over the years, and patients can expect to experience improved vision after treatment.
As always, remember to consult with your doctor to ensure you are taking all the necessary steps to have a successful recovery following the procedure. Also, be sure only to follow their instructions and understand that it is vital that you take some time for yourself during this healing process. Lastly, take the proper precautions to protect your vision.
Please schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about cataract surgery. Our medical director, Dr Jimmy Lim at JL Eye Specialists, will help tailor your treatment plan.