What To Expect When Recovering From Cataract Surgery

What To Expect When Recovering From Cataract Surgery

A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens that leads to vision impairment. It can appear as though the eye has a layer of fog or a sheet of ice impeding vision. Cataracts often develop slowly over time and while they do impair vision, they do not negatively impact the health of the eye. Because of this, many people will partake in cataract management, including regular eye exams and updating prescriptions for eyeglasses, before cataract surgery is required. Once the surgery is complete, there will be some recovery time required, although the healing process is typically quick and not especially inconvenient. If you will be undergoing cataract surgery, here is what recovery may look like for you.

Cataract Surgery Recovery Timeline

Although this is the general timeline, follow any instructions your eye doctor has given to you. This is a general overview of what you can expect after cataract surgery

The Day Of Surgery. Cataract surgery is a quick day surgery. Immediately after the surgery is done, you shouldn’t feel pain in your eyes, but you may feel as though your eye is sticky, scratchy, or otherwise uncomfortable. Your eyes may also water more than usual, but this is a normal part of the healing process. Try not to rub your eye even if there is discomfort. To help you avoid rubbing or irritating your eye doctor may send you home with an eye patch, bandage, or clear shield over your eye that they recommend wearing for the first day or only at night. You will also be sent home with eye drops to help you heal. You will be able to see immediately after your surgery, although it may be blurry. 

1 to 3 Days After Surgery. At this point, you should be able to resume your regular activities other than any heavy lifting or high-impact physical activity. You should be able to read or watch TV without issue by this point, although you may still need prescription glasses to do so. You may have difficulty judging distances at this point, so be careful and move slowly when on stairs or when pouring hot liquids. The first day after surgery, it is safe to shower, although be careful to not get any shampoo or other product in your eye.

1 To 2 Weeks. Eye makeup and face creams shouldn’t be worn for at least 1 to 2 weeks following surgery. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous, or high-impact activity for 2 weeks after cataract surgery. For 2 weeks you should also avoid swimming, hot tubbing, gardening, dusting, or other activities that might get dust or chemicals in your eyes. Hair colouration and perms should be avoided for at least 10 days for the same reason.

3 to 10 Weeks After Surgery. At this point, you should be completely healed from your surgery. Continue to wear sunglasses on sunny days for a year after the surgery, but UV blocking sunglasses should always be worn on sunny days anyway to protect your overall eye health.

Have A Seniors Eye Exam At Specs In The City In Calgary

Whether you suspect you have cataracts or if your cataracts have already been confirmed, you need to have an experienced and high-quality optometrist working with you on a comprehensive cataracts management strategy. For cataract management both before and after your cataract surgery, visit Specs in the City in SE Calgary. At Specs in the City, our team of experienced optometrists monitor for cataracts during our seniors’ eye exams, so we can detect cataracts early and immediately work on a cataract management plan that is customized for each individual. If you have already been diagnosed with cataracts and you want to know what steps to take next or if you have any questions about cataract management or surgery referrals, contact our office by calling 1-403-252-2020 or by filling out our contact form.


Q: Will untreated cataracts make me go blind?
A: No, cataracts are a clouding of the lens that makes it difficult to see and it may impair your vision, however, cataracts do not impact eye health. Cataract surgery will restore your vision, and the health of your eye will be unaffected.

Q: What will my senior eye exam include?
A: Our specialized senior eye exams include the following tests:

  • Vision testing
  • Eye muscle coordination testing
  • How your pupils respond to light
  • Peripheral vision testing
  • Measuring pressure levels of the fluid in your eye

In addition to the above, our specialized senior eye exams also screen for any of the age-related conditions we’ve previously noted. Our Calgary optometrist will also work with you to chart any changes your eyesight may be experiencing due to prescription medications.

Q: Does Alberta Health cover seniors’ eye exams?
A: The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) provides coverage for annual eye exams for those between the ages of 0-18, or over 65. The provincial plan can also be used in times of an emergency should you require an immediate appointment with an eye doctor.

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