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Cataracts: Eye Care After Surgery

Topic Overview

After surgery to remove a cataract:

  • Use eyedrops as prescribed by your doctor. Wash your hands before putting drops in your eye. Be careful not to touch your eye with your hands or the tip of the medicine dropper.
  • Protect your eye. Do not rub or press it. You may need to wear a rigid shield over your eye.
  • You can use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. It is common to have a scratchy feeling in the operated eye and pain or soreness in the jaw on the operated side. If pain is not relieved, contact your doctor immediately. Pain may be a sign of complications.
  • Notify your doctor if you have loss of vision, nausea, vomiting, excessive coughing, or pain in the eye. These may be signs of a complication from the surgery.
  • Watch for signs of infection (redness, pain, and swelling) in the eye.

The day after surgery, you will most likely be allowed to return to your normal activities. But you need to take certain precautions:

  • Wear your glasses or sunglasses when you are outside.
  • Do not get anything in the eye from which the cataract was removed.
  • Carefully clean around the eye from which the cataract was removed. Use warm water and do not use soap. It is normal to have some drainage around the eye.
  • Do not let water run over your eye or into your face. Shampoo your hair by leaning your head back.
  • Do not swim for about 3 weeks.

It is normal to have blurred vision after surgery. Most likely you will need to wear glasses to have clear vision.

Contact your doctor promptly if you notice any signs of complications following cataract surgery, such as:

  • Decreasing vision.
  • Increasing pain.
  • Increasing redness.
  • Swelling around the eye.
  • Any discharge from the eye.
  • Any new floaters, flashes of light, or changes in your field of vision.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Carol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology
Last Revised August 8, 2013

Last Revised: August 8, 2013

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