Cataract surgery is the most wonderful surgery on the planet in that it restores one’s vision, sometimes even without the assistance of eyeglasses. Further, this is accomplished in a very short procedure and with very little pain. Nevertheless, one’s expectations must be reasonable in that it truly is a surgical procedure and some recovery period will be necessary.
Following your discharge from the surgery center or hospital, your first official post-operative visit with the optometrist or ophthalmologist will occur from a few to approximately 24 hours after the cataract surgery. Immediately following the procedure, you will be allowed to eat and drink and many patients treat themselves to a special meal. After this, it’s time to go home and rest and let the healing begin!
When you come to the office for your scheduled visit, remember to bring your surgical kit with all of the prescribed eye drops. Generally, you should have three types: an antibiotic drop; a steroid drop; and, finally, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drop.
After arrival in the office, the staff will remove your eye patch. Remember, although it is an exciting time and the expectations are high, it is normal for vision to be somewhat blurry. This is true for a number of reasons. Your eye will most likely still be dilated, there may be ointment on the surface of the eye and there is always some degree of swelling. Do not worry, however, because all of these issues will be resolved within a matter of hours to days and the vision that you anticipate will arrive!
Several other things will occur. The staff will check your vision, review your medications and check your eye pressure. Expectations will be discussed further and any limits on activity and work will be addressed. Patients will be able to use their eye and vision soon after the procedure and are encouraged to read, watch television and drive as soon as they are comfortable. Another concern of patients is the possibility of any post-operative pain. This is rarely an issue and the vast majority of patients do not even require any pain medication.
That’s it! You survived not only the operation, but the first post-operative visit. It’s time for further recovery and to enjoy your “new” vision. You will be expected to return home soon and initiate your first set of all eye drops. Remember, it is important to close your eye after the installation of drops and to space the drops apart by at least ten minutes. Your next visit will be scheduled approximately 5-7 days after the first. See you then!