Preparing For Laser Cataract Surgery? What To Expect During Recovery

If you've developed a cataract in your eye – a common occurrence among seniors – your eye doctor may have informed you that surgery is the only reliable way to restore your vision to normal. The thought of eye surgery can be upsetting to many people. After all, the eyes are a very sensitive area. However, modern lasers have helped to advance the procedure, and cataract surgery is now one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States, with the number of cataract surgeries performed increasing steadily as the years go by. Currently, cataract surgery is swift, safe, and effective. You'll only be in the surgeon's operating room for a short while. Often, patients are more nervous about the recovery period than the relatively fast surgery. If you're well-prepared, you should be able to count on a smooth recovery. Take a look at what you'll experience in the days and weeks after cataract laser surgery.

In the First Few Days

Immediately following cataract surgery, your eyes may feel itchy and uncomfortable and very sensitive to light or touch. Your surgeon will provide you with an eye patch that can be used to protect your eyes from sun, light, and irritation during the first few days. Your doctor may also require that you sleep with the eye patch on, and that you wear sunglasses when going outdoors.

The biggest thing that you'll need to remember after cataract surgery is not to bend over too much or to pick up heavy objects. You may not be aware of it, but these actions can cause internal pressure on your eyes, which can be dangerous in the days after cataract surgery. At your first checkup, your doctor will test the pressure in your eyes, and if he or she is unsatisfied, you may have to take medication to reduce the pressure. However, if your eye pressure is fine, your doctor may begin to allow you to resume some of your normal activities.

In the First Six Weeks

It takes about a month to six weeks to fully heal from cataracts surgery. During that time, your doctor will probably prohibit you from strenuous activities, like swimming, weight-lifting, or running. This is to prevent you from putting pressure on your eye and to allow your body time to heal. Some patients experience fatigue or depression after surgery, and you should report those symptoms to your doctor if you experience them.

On the bright side, you'll notice that you're starting to heal from the surgery during this time. Any bruising from the surgery will fade within the first few weeks after the surgery, and your vision will become clearer. It's not uncommon for patients to notice that their vision is clearer after cataract surgery than it was before the cataract began to form. During the recovery period, you'll return to the eye doctor several times for vision tests, and you may need to be fitted for new glasses if you wore them previous to the surgery.

Possible Complications

While cataract surgery is safe, complications do occasionally occur after surgery, and it's important to know what signs and symptoms to watch for. One relatively rare complication is retinal detachment. You'll recognize retinal detachment from the symptoms, which include a loss of vision or a visual interruption characterized by flashing lights. While retinal detachment sounds frightening, it's usually fixable, and the faster you seek treatment the more easily it can be fixed.

A more common cataract surgery complication is called posterior capsular opacification but is more widely known in layman's terms as After-Cataract. This complication involves diminished vision caused by the clouding of the lens capsule that supports your implanted lens. It can be treated with a second laser procedure that creates a small hole in the capsule.

Laser cataract surgery is a good choice because the recovery is easy for a surgery, and because, while most patients don't experience complications, the complications that some patients do experience are usually reversible. If you're living with cloudy vision, understanding what your cataract surgery recovery will be like should help you make the decision to go ahead with the surgery.