When cataracts affect your vision and quality of life, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to remove the lens of your eye and replace it with an artificial one. Although that might sound brutal, cataract surgery is a very safe and common procedure that is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Your vision will be compromised for a few days after surgery, so prepare these aftercare needs before you go under the knife.
Purchase an Eye Patch
An eye patch is important to protect your eyes after surgery. You can usually remove it within a few hours of arriving home, but you will need to continue wearing it at night to avoid scratching your eyes while sleeping. You should also wear your eye patch when performing any activity that could introduce debris into your eye, such as cooking, dusting or gardening.
Pick Up Your Prescriptions
Your doctor will probably prescribe you several medications to use after your cataract surgery, including painkillers, antibiotics, and eye drops containing sustained release cataract surgery steroids to reduce inflammation. Remember to visit the pharmacy before your procedure so you can have all your medications ready to use.
Have a Driver on Call
You won’t be able to drive for several days following cataract surgery, so find a friend or family member who can come over to help when needed. If no one is available, keep the number of your local taxi service on hand or make sure you have a ride sharing app on your phone. Consider purchasing an emergency call button to wear in case you experience an accident or medical emergency following your surgery. Your doctor will tell you when you’re safe to drive again.
Clean Your Home
Dust, dirt and hair can cause major complications if they get in your eye before it heals completely. Because your vision will be impaired, clutter can also pose a safety hazard. Give your home a thorough cleaning several days before your surgery to reduce the risk of injury and infection. If you’re not up to cleaning, ask a loved one to help or call a maid service.
While your vision will continue to adjust for several months following your surgery, you should be able to resume most everyday activities within two or three days. Remember to avoid strenuous activity, swimming, driving and wearing makeup until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. Most cataract surgery patients make a full recovery with a return to normal vision.