Getting cataract surgery is life-changing for millions of people. The surgery to remove cataracts only takes about ten minutes, is very simple, and has an extremely high success rate. While the surgery isn’t complicated or time-consuming, the recovery process requires much more time, patience, and care to ensure that your vision is fully restored. Here is everything you should do after cataract eye surgery to improve your recovery process.
Take Precautions to Avoid Infection
After the surgery, your doctor will prescribe special eye drops that will help lower the odds of infection and reduce inflammation. Follow the directions your doctor gave you on when to administer the drops. Protect your eye from bacteria by using an eye patch, bandage or eye shield. Avoid swimming, using hot tubs, and sleeping without an eye covering. Don’t rub or scratch your eye.
Ask Someone to be Your Caregiver
The more you’re able to rest, the faster and better your recovery will be. In order to get as much rest as possible, you’ll need someone to help you out. Before your surgery, request a friend or family member to act as your caretaker for a few days to a week. You’ll need someone to drive you home after the surgery and provide you with transportation to and from follow up appointments. Your doctor should be the one to provide you with the green light to drive again once you’ve recovered enough. Your caregiver should also help you with tasks like cleaning, dressing your wound, caring for pets, and more.
It’s especially important to let your caregiver handle any tasks that require heavy lifting or bending over. Exerting yourself and shifting your head forward too much puts pressure on your eye, increases inflammation, and may even cause damage to the incision.
Stay in Dim Lighting
Exposure to bright lights will put undue strain on your eye. Stay in a dimly lit room for at least 24 hours following your cataract surgery. In addition, keep your computer, tablet, phone, TV, and any other device with a brightly lit screen off for a few days. If you really need to use your devices, lower the brightness on the display a little, and limit your usage time. Always take a long break if your eye starts to bother you while using a device. If avoiding bright light isn’t possible, wear dark sunglasses.
Be Careful While Bathing
You should avoid any form of water coming into contact with your eye for several weeks, but you can’t avoid the need to bathe. You can shower or bathe as soon as a few hours after surgery, but you should take precautions in order to prevent infection, damage, and irritation to the incision. Baths are preferred over showers during recovery since the water isn’t flowing and there’s a much lower chance of soap or water getting on your face and into your eye. To wash your face, use a damp face cloth with a little cleaner and wash everywhere outside of a few inches from your eye. Use a different damp face cloth to remove the cleanser carefully.
Place everything that you’ll need to bathe, such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, brushes, or loofahs within arm’s reach before you start bathing.
Get your caregiver to help wash your hair extremely slowly and carefully. Don’t suds up the shampoo too much, rinse slowly with a bowl or cup of water instead of a sprayer, and lean your head back to prevent soap and water from flowing down your face.
Contact Your Doctor When Complications Arise
Many people make the mistake of avoiding contacting their doctor when they experience unusual side-effects or complications after cataract surgery. Toughing it out when it comes to negative symptoms like sharp and persistent pain, vomiting, unusual redness and swelling, worsening vision, discharge in the eye, and flashes of light appearing in your vision is ill-advised. The longer you go without seeking professional medical attention on these complications the more likely you are to develop even worse complications that could potentially lead to permanent vision loss. Don’t be afraid to reach out and admit when you need help.
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