After Cataract Surgery
WARNING! The following information is intended for my patients who are having cataract surgery. It may not be relevant if you are under the care of another ophthalmologist.
AFTER THE OPERATION
You will be escorted back to your room where you can get dressed and have a cup of tea or coffee, and a sandwich.
I like to see my patients again, as soon as I have finished my last operation. Meanwhile, your nurse will start your eye drops before you leave the Hospital. Your next appointment will then be arranged.
Back to Top
You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home; or the Hospital can arrange a taxi for you upon request.
Back to Top
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER I RETURN HOME?
In the first day after the operation patients usually notice blurred vision and haloes around lights. This is because the pupil is still dilated from the pre-operative drops. This rapidly improves over 2-3 days as the pupil returns to normal size. The eye takes some time to heal after the operation and the vision may be quite blurred for a few days as the eye settles down – this does not mean there are complications. It is sensible to have a few quiet days after the operation, but you can get back to normal daily life virtually immediately and, for instance, you will be able to dress, cook and go out to shop unaided. If you do more vigorous activities such as golf or swimming, please discuss this with me before you resume them. If you want to drive please discuss this with me first so I can be sure you meet the legal requirements.
Please remember though:
- You can wipe your eye (using a tissue) but do not press or rub it.
- You can bend over to pick things up; but please avoid straining, or lifting heavy weights (e.g. over 20 lbs or 9 kg), for the first two weeks. (It is an old wives' tale that you cannot bend over after the operation).
- You can wash your face, or shave, as usual. You can have your hair washed, but ask the hairdresser to put your head backwards into the bowl, and be very careful to keep shampoo and water out of the eye for the first week after the operation.
- Bright light may bother your eyes and you can wear sunglasses if you wish. (There is no need to buy expensive ones).
- You can wear your spectacles if these help, but they will need to be changed 2-4 weeks after the operation.
- You can watch television or read as you wish.
Your eye takes 2-4 weeks to heal up from the operation. You will need to take prescribed eye drops during this time. These drops will be given to you upon leaving hospital. Make sure you use them as directed.
They are easy to use and the nurse will show you how to put them in (or a friend or relative can help). You will need to see me for check-ups after the operation and the first appointment will be given to you on leaving the hospital. The eyelids sometimes get a bit crusty after the operation. Never let your eye get sticky. If this starts to happen, bathe the lids with cold boiled water and cotton wool to remove any crustiness or discharge. Do not use a handkerchief or an eye bath, or put anything else in the eye apart from the drops prescribed.
The eye may be a little sore or gritty after the operation, but this soon settles down. Take aspirin, Neurofen or Panadol, if necessary, but if the eye starts to get red and painful, or if the vision suddenly worsens, please contact me. My consulting rooms number is 020 7935 6174. Out of office hours, call my home phone number (with which my practice manager will provide you). I am always happy for patients to phone me at home if they are worried.
You will need to see me for check-ups after the operation. The first check-up appointment will be given to you upon leaving the hospital.
Back to Top
HOW TO PUT DROPS IN YOUR EYES
- Remove your glasses and stand in front of the mirror.
- Look up and tilt your head back.
- Pull the lower eyelid gently down with a finger.
- Shake the bottle.
- Hold the bottle above the eye and squeeze 1-2 drops into the groove between the eyeball and the lower lid.
- Make sure some drops go in! You cannot overdo them, as any surplus will just spill out onto the cheek.
Back to Top
I like to see everyone for a short check-up the day after surgery, and then about 3-4 weeks later.
Back to Top
An artist's impression of Cataract Surgery
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist,
ex-patient Joan Dalley. (© Joan Dalley)
All content copyright © Professor David Spalton 2001