What to do after having cataract surgery? Can I wash my face with water after cataract surgery? What are the things that I should not do after the operation? What is the “after cataract”?
All these questions and many others might have been wandering in your mind after you have read or heard about them from a relative or a friend. On this page, I hope that you find some answers for your questions and concerns, so let’s begin.
What Will Happen Immediately After My Cataract Surgery Is Finished?
You will be returned to your room where you can have some rest, until your surgeon is finished with his work. The surgeon will then come to see you and examine the eye which was operated on to make sure that everything regarding the operation is fine. A schedule of follow-up visits will be arranged, and you will be told about the post-operative eye drops and their schedule of usage.
What Are The Post-Operative Eye Drops That I Will Be Using And How To Apply Them?
Usually, the regimen of post-operative eye drops consists of:
- Anti-microbial eye drops to guard against the incidence of post-operative endophthalmitis.
- Corticosteroid derivative eye drops to prevent incidence of inflammatory reaction.
- Cycloplegic eye drops to decrease the unpleasant sensation due to photophobia (photophobia means increased sensitivity to light. It is a normal symptom after cataract surgery).
The correct method for applying eye drops is by tilting the head slightly upwards like when you are looking at the ceiling then gently pulling the lower lid downwards. This will create a gap between the eye and the lower lid in which one or two drops should be instilled without the tip of the dropper touching the eye or the lid.
You can then close your eye for one or two minutes and then wipe the excess drops that spill outside the eye using a clean tissue. It is easier if you can have someone to help you with applying the eye drops (post surgery).
The common precautions that you should be considering when using eye drops include:
- Avoid allowing the tip off the dropper to touch your eye or your lid.
- Don’t use the eye drops of anybody else even if they are the same as those prescribed by your ophthalmologist.
- Don’t allow anybody to use your eye drops.
- Don’t use the eye drops after the expiry date indicated on the bottle.
- If you use multiple eye drops, allow yourself a period of 5 to 10 minutes after each instillation, to avoid the washing of one type of eye drops by another one.
- You should immediately recap the bottle after each usage.
My Eye Is Red And Watery, Is This Normal?
Yes, it is completely normal to find your eye somewhat red and watery after surgery, especially during the first one or two days after the operation. If these conditions persist, you should contact your ophthalmologist.
My Vision Is Blurred And I See Halos Around Light, Is This Normal?
Yes, it is completely normal to find your vision blurred and to see halos around light because the preoperative eye drops that were used to dilate your pupils during surgery have effects that may last for a few days after surgery. If these conditions persist, you should contact your ophthalmologist.
I Found Some Crusts Over The Eye Lids The Morning After Surgery, Is This Normal?
Yes, this is normal. These crusts are the residues of your eye secretions that accumulated over the previous day and night. Your nurse will usually wipe off these crusts when you come for your follow-up visit the next day after surgery, using sterile cotton wool soaked with sterile saline.
If you still find these crusts after heading home, you can gently wipe them away using cold boiled water and a sterile cotton wool. If this condition persists, you should contact your ophthalmologist.
What Are The Alarming Signs For Incidence Of Complications After Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is considered one of the safest surgeries in medical science with minimal incidence of complications, but like any other treatment modality, it is not completely devoid of complications. If you experience one of the following symptoms, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately to inform him.
- Your eye becoming red and painful.
- Feeling a continuous pain that worsens with passage of time.
- A sudden drop and worsening of your vision.
- Seeing flashes of light.
- Feeling a severe headache that worsens with passage of time.
What Are The Things That You Should Not Do After Cataract Surgery?
You should not:
- Rub or squeeze your eye.
- Introduce anything in your eye other than your eye drops.
- Allow water to enter into your eye while washing your face or during having a bath.
- Allow situations in which you are vulnerable to being hit in the face or the eye.
- Bend over to grab something. You should also avoid face-down positions.
- Perform any vigorous activity until approved by your ophthalmologist.
- Drive until approved by your ophthalmologist.
When Will My Eye Recover Completely After Cataract Surgery?
This varies according to the type of surgical technique used in your operation. If your operation was performed using phacoemulsification technique, the usual period of recovery to allow complete healing of your eye is about 3 to 4 weeks. If your operation was done using a larger incision and stitches, your eye might take up to 2 to 3 months to achieve complete recovery and healing.
What Is The “After Cataract”?
This is the most common and easiest complication to manage after cataract surgery. Many patients suffer from gradual diminution of vision once again months after the surgery giving them the impression that the cataract is coming back. This is why it is called the “after cataract”.
The scientific name of this condition is “Posterior capsular opacity”. This condition is due to regrowth of cells on the posterior capsule upon which the synthetic IOL is resting. This condition can be easily managed using an outpatient procedure in which the ophthalmologist uses a certain type of laser called the YAG laser. The ophthalmologist directs the laser beams to clear the central part of the opacified thin membrane behind the IOL. This leads to immediate regaining of vision.