Eye health tips: The dos and don'ts after your cataract surgery

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
May 27, 2022 12:22 PM IST

Cataract is the most common cause of reversible blindness. Operation is the only treatment as no medication or eye drops can cure it. While everyone's recovery time is different and eye doctor will give specific instructions, let's go over some of the general do's and don'ts after cataract surgery

Cataract is an age-related process and the most common cause of reversible blindness for which operation is the only treatment as no medication or eye drops can cure cataract. Cataract operation is carried out in a sterile and sophistically equipped environment and the actual procedure takes 5 minutes but the preparation makes your hospital stay for 2-3 hours.

Eye health tips: The dos and don'ts after your cataract surgery (Image by Paul Diaconu from Pixabay )
Eye health tips: The dos and don'ts after your cataract surgery (Image by Paul Diaconu from Pixabay )

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Kamal B Kapur, Medical Director and Co-Founder of Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, shared, “Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove a cloudy lens to improve your vision. It is a safe and a routine procedure. In most cases and good hands it may be over in a couple of minutes or max 20- to 30-minutes and has over a 99% success rate across the globe.”

He added, “In cataract surgery, your cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens. Being a short painless the surgery, the recovery is also surprisingly fast. However, there are some things you should keep in mind during this period.” He listed the dos and don'ts after your cataract surgery:

Dos -

1. Apply the eye drops as per the schedule and method as described by the ophthalmologist. Don't touch or rub the operated eye.

2. You may resume light day-to-day activities such as watching TV, reading, writing and walking light exercise after a couple of days, or as advised by your doctor. Always keep your physical activities light.

3. Wear your protective eye cover , be very careful when you are sleeping . And always sleep on the side that hasn’t been operated on.

4. Taking a SHOWER or bathing is usually allowed after 5-7 days or as your doctor permits .

5. The doctor will provide you with a protective shield or protective glasses and you have to wear it on your operated eye for the duration advised

Don’ts -

1. Never rub your eye or apply anything to your eyes, even water. This will increase the chance of infection.

2. Avoid touching the operated eye in early post operative period also avoid lifting heavy weights as This prevents putting extra pressure on your eye.

3. Avoid swimming or use a tub bath , at least for three weeks after the surgery.

4. Do not drive at night for few days after surgery and don't indulge in any strenuous physical activity after surgery.

5. Do not wear any eye makeup until your ophthalmologist allow you to.

6.And in case of any redness, Pain or any decrease in vision and watering . Please contact your doctors immediately.

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Prakash Kumar Jain, MBBS, DNB, DO, FRCS (UK), FAGE at Ayu Health Hospitals, revealed:

Do’s after cataract operation -

1. Do wash your hands with soap and water before you apply any eye medications

2. Use the prescribed safety goggles during the day and the eye shield while sleeping.

3. Avoid taking a head bath. Instead, you can have the bath below your neck the next day.

4. On the 3rd day, you can resume watching TV or mobile but do not stress your eyes.

5. If you are a working professional, you can resume your office duties after the doctor's consent

6. If you feel any pain, redness, discharge, decreased vision, swelling, please contact your eye doctor immediately

Don’ts after cataract operation -

1. Do not rub your eye with your hands. This can impair the healing process after surgery. Also, it can cause eye infections.

2. Do not indulge in activities that might cause damage to your eyes. Do not play with children, drive two wheelers or engage in contact sports/activities like swimming for a month to avoid any chances of infections or injuries.

3. Do not sleep on the operated side till your doctor suggests.

4. Do not lift heavy weights. If possible, avoid deep and straining cough, sneezing and straining hard for stools for a month. These activities might increase the pressure in your eyes.

According to Dr Neeraj Sanduja, MBBS, MS - Ophthalmology, Ophthalmologist and Eye Surgeon, “Cataract surgery entails removing the opacified natural eye lens and replacing it with an artificial lens known as an intraocular lens (IOL). Phacoemulsification is the most common method of cataract surgery. MICS (minimal incision cataract surgery) is a newer stitch-free cataract surgery that aids in a faster and gentler recovery. Nonetheless, cataract surgery necessitates some post-operative precautions.”

He asserted that following cataract surgery, a patient is expected to follow a list of dos and don'ts. While everyone's recovery time is different and your eye doctor will most likely give you specific instructions for your eye, let's go over some of the general do's and don'ts after cataract surgery, starting with what you can do, as suggested by Dr Neeraj Sanduja:

1. You can watch television.

2. You can be working on your computer.

3. You can take a bath, but avoid getting water in your eyes directly.

4. You could read a book.

5. You could go for a walk.

6. You should use your eye drops exactly as directed. Instill eye drops on a regular basis, as directed by your eye doctor.

7. Before applying any eye medications, wash your hands with soap and water.

8. You should rest for at least a few days.

9. You should sleep with your eye shield on and wear sunglasses outside.

10. After surgery, you should have someone drive you home.

11. 2-3 times per day, clean your eyes with clean boiled water and cotton.

12. Remember to consult your eye surgeon immediately if there is any problem.

Now, consider some of the things you should not do following cataract surgery:

1. Avoid rubbing your eyes with your hands. This can dislodge stitches if any have been used or impede healing after stitch-free surgery. It can also cause eye infections. If your eye is watering or itching, gently wipe it with a clean tissue or a sterile, moist cotton swab.

2. For the first 10 days after surgery, avoid taking a shower or bath. You can bathe only below the chin and wipe your face with a wet towel.

3. Normal eye washing is not permitted for 10 days.

4. Don't drive until your doctor says you can.

5. Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided.

6. Avoid deep and straining coughs, sneezing, and straining hard stools for a month if possible.

7. These activities may put additional strain on your eyes.

8. To avoid infection, avoid swimming and hot tubs.

9. For at least a month, refrain from wearing eye makeup.

10. Do not travel by plane.

11. Avoid bending over after surgery to avoid pressure buildup.

12. Avoid dusty areas to avoid getting irritants in your eyes.

Dr Neeraj Sanduja advised, “Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods, leafy green vegetables, and lean protein, for example. To avoid rapid increases in blood sugar, avoid foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. A healthy diet provides your body with the nutrients it requires during the recovery process.”

Everyone's recovery time is unique, so listen to your eye doctor and carefully follow their detailed instructions. If you're careful throughout the recovery process, your eyes will heal quickly and you'll have a better vision before you know it.

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