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Do’s and dont’s following Cataract Surgery

Patients booked for cataract/clear lens exchange surgery

At your first visit you will see Mr Anandan, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, who will give you a full eye examination which will involve the use of dilating drops so you would not be able to drive yourself home after this consultation. You will need either a GP or optician referral for this appointment, or your last prescription from your opticians if you are looking to get rid of your spectacles. This appointment takes around 30 minutes when all your questions will be answered.

If you wish to proceed to surgery, you will be sent an appointment to see our optician within the next few weeks for your A scan (which measure the eye and shows which lens will be used at the time of your surgery) and your stage one pre-assessment done by the Nuffield nursing team. You will not have drops in at this visit so can drive home afterwards.

Once Mr Anandan has seen your scans, he will decide on the type of lens for your eye. You may have decided you wish to go for a premium lens (which Mr Anandan will have discussed with you at your initial visit) which will be ordered in specially for your surgery.

Mr Anandan’s secretary will book your surgery date accordingly. If you have any holidays booked or dates you cannot make, please let Mr Anandan or the optician know when you are at the Nuffield Hospital. Mr Anandan mainly operates on Thursday evenings at the Nuffield Hospital. You will go home the same day.

If you are having both eyes operated on, your surgery is normally 1 to 3 weeks apart. Following the second eye surgery, you will see Mr Anandan four to five weeks post-surgery or, if you have had a premium lens, you will see our optician four to five weeks post-surgery then Mr Anandan the following Thursday for final review.

Immediately after cataract surgery

Before you leave the day surgery, you will be prescribed eye drops or other medication to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. You will need to have a family member or friend with you to take you home. Once you get home, it is recommended that you rest your eyes and relax. Several hours post surgery, most people are able to watch some television or look at a computer screen for a short period of time. Because cataract surgery is only performed on one eye at a time, you may notice an imbalance in your vision until the second eye is operated on.

Days after cataract surgery

It is normal for vision to be blurry in the beginning – your eye needs to heal and adjust. Vision will normally begin to improve within a few days of the surgery. It’s also normal for your eye to feel itchy and to experience mild discomfort for a couple of days – your doctor will ask you to wear an eye patch or protective shield at night to ensure you don’t rub your eye while you sleep for up to 3 weeks. This discomfort should disappear after a few days.

Tips for post cataract surgery

Although most people can resume everyday activities 24 hours after cataract surgery, there are a few instructions that you will be asked to follow. They include:

  • Don’t do any strenuous activities for a few weeks. Avoid rigorous exercise and heavy lifting for up to 4 weeks.
  • Don’t drive. The length of time after cataract surgery before you can drive depends on a number of factors – your doctor will tell you, if you are safe to resume driving at the 4-week post-op follow-up. It is recommended not to drive at least for a week following surgery. After that, if a definite confirmation is needed, to know if you are legal to drive, your optician can quickly check. Glasses should not be prescribed until 4-6 weeks post op.
  • Follow your doctor’s orders regarding any antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops. These are important to prevent infection and inflammation and ensure proper healing. If you have difficulty in administering them, get a friend or family member to help you out.
  • Stay away from dusty areas. It’s a great idea to have your house vacuumed and cleaned before surgery, as your eyes will be sensitive to airborne allergens such as dust.
  • Don’t rub your eye. Eye rubbing is a quick way to develop a nasty infection. It’s never a good idea, even when you aren’t recovering from surgery.
  • Don’t swim. Avoid swimming for 4 to 6 weeks
  • Don’t wear make-up. At the very minimum, most patients should not wear any type of make-up (powders, foundation or eye make-up) for at least one week after surgery. It is recommended to wait one month after surgery.
  • Bathing and showering. You may bath and shower as normal but make sure you do not get any soap or shampoo in the operated eye for at least 2 weeks.
  • Work. You can return to work, depending on your type of employment, after about 2 weeks. You can also resume normal daily activities almost immediately.
  • Flying after cataract removal surgery will not harm your eye. Most people could fly in few days after cataract surgery, if that was needed. The recirculated and dry air in an airplane may cause some irritation after eye surgery.

It is safe to

  • Shave or bathe from the neck down the day after surgery. Use a clean wet towel to wipe your face. Do not let water splash into the operated eye
  • Read, watch TV and use the computer within a few hours
  • Perform gentle exercises and normal household activities
  • Consume your usual diet
  • Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors. Protect your eye from dust, soap water and wind even when indoors.

You can contact the nursing staff at the Nuffield hospital on (01332) 540100 and ask for the ward – if you have any of the following symptoms after discharge:

  • A sudden reduction in vision
  • Excessive redness
  • Pain
  • Stickiness
  • It is important to remember that it is normal to experience a gritty, foreign body sensation in the eye.

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