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12 things you can safely do and not do after cataract surgery

Cataract surgery has come a long way in time and technology. We now stand on a large pile of evidence with which we are able to provide a better comfort level to our patients. The most common of our surgeries being cataract surgery, let me list out few DO’s and DONT’s of cataract surgery for your information. But remember, when in doubt, ask your doctor.

  1. Do not drive on the first day after you cataract surgery
    It is not recommended to drive immediately after cataract surgery. It’s not because it can affect your eyes but because your vision may be a little blurred. This can lead to a bit of imbalance between the eyes. It might get dangerous for you and your loved ones.
  2. Do not lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous activity for a few days
    You don’t want to do heavy lifting or strenuous exercise because these sorts of activities can lead to transmitted pressure from your chest or abdomen to your eye. An increase in eye pressure could lead to your small self-sealing wound in your cornea opening risking infection. Your eye is one of the fastest healing parts of your body, so the reopening wounds, surgical or otherwise is rare. With that said, avoid heavy weight lifting at the gym and prolonged treadmill running for at least 2 days.
  3. Don’t bend over immediately after your cataract surgery.
    You should not bend over quickly after cataract surgery for the same reason as over. Be that as it may, I do say that patients can ‘securely’ bend over after the first day as the weight transmitted to the eye is minimal.
  4. Avoid heavy sneezing or vomiting should be avoided.
    I appreciate that this is easier said than done, as these sorts of things tend to be beyond our control. I may discuss a delay to your cataract surgery if you are already sneezing due to allergy or a cold, or are unwell, to avoid the risk of a post-operative eye infection.
  5. Avoid strenuous sexual activities for a few days.
    I mention this because one of my private cataract surgery patients asked this exact question. Strenuous sex can lead to increased pressure in your abdomen and chest and lead to increased eye pressure. We advise abstinence for a few days to be safe.
  6. Avoid swimming and using hot tubs for 2 weeks.
    You’ll want to avoid indoor water sports in general, because swimming pools can harbor bacteria and you risk infection to the eye. Plus, there may be a tendency for you to rub your eyes inadvertently if water gets in them. I advise that if you must swim, wear goggles, that too after the 2 weeks.
  7. Avoid rubbing your eyes after cataract surgery.
    I advise against rubbing your eyes after cataract surgery to stop you from inadvertently opening the small self-sealing wound we make to gain access to your eye during cataract surgery. I advise wearing a clear shield at night for a week after cataract surgery to ensure you don’t rub your eyes in your sleep and cause problems.
  8. Avoid shampoo getting into your eye after cataract surgery.
    You can shower, bathe and wash your face as normal but try to avoid irritants such as soap or shampoo getting into your eye whilst doing so. This will reduce the chance of getting an infection and causing the small wound to open.
  9. Carry on using your eye to read and watch television as normal.
    There is no harm to the eye if you use it as normal. It will not slow the recovery after your cataract operation and it will not damage the eye.
  10. Avoid wearing make-up for 1 week.
    I advise against wearing makeup for a week to reduce your chance of bacteria getting into the eye from makeup brushes and products.
  11. Take at least a day off work after cataract surgery.
    “When can I get back to work?” is a common question patient ask me after cataract surgery. I generally say to return to work on the second day. If your job involves straining then it would be safer to leave work for 1 week.
  12. Don’t put any cotton wool balls on your eye or under the eye shield you wear at night.
    I advise against this because these materials can release fine fibers that irritate the eye and increase the chance of rubbing and infection.

I hope these answers solve most of the questions relating to the recovery period after cataract surgery, but if you have any others, no matter how silly they sound, please contact us and ask. Our eye specialist are here to help you.

4 Replies to “12 things you can safely do and not do after cataract surgery”

  1. sharon mclain says: July 22, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Can i get a Massage ( lay with my face down) a week after catarct surgary?

    1. harikrishnan vannadil says: July 22, 2019 at 11:06 pm

      As long as your recovery is normal, you can go ahead with the massage.

  2. Recently I saw my eye surgeon….where my cataracts are in the beginning stage, he insisted that I have the cataracts removed now .

    He said I would have to wear a patch after the surgery over the eye…
    however…I am near blind in my other eye after an idiot eye doctor misdiagnosed me so horribly…..that my macular was destroyed….I can only get some sparkling light in that eye.

    How could I manage with a patch on one eye ..and blind in the other …I have a job that is impossible for me to be absent from at this time ….now what ?

    Please respond .


    1. harikrishnan vannadil says: September 28, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      patch is not required in surgeries done under topical anaesthesia. Kindly speak to your Eye doctor or contact us.

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