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Discharge Instructions for Cataract Surgery

A surgeon has removed the cloudy lens in your eye and replaced it with a clear manufactured lens. Be sure to have an adult family member or friend drive you home after surgery. Here’s what you can expect after surgery, and some tips for a healthy recovery.

What to expect

It's normal to have the following:

  • Bruised or bloodshot eye for 7 days

  • Mild floaters

  • Itching and mild pain for several days

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Scratchy, sandlike feeling in the eye for several days

  • Feeling tired, especially during the first 24 hours

Activity level

  • Don't drive for 2 days or as instructed by your eye care provider.

  • Don't drink alcohol for at least 24 hours.

  • Don't bend at the waist to pick up objects or lift anything heavy for 1 to 2 weeks.

  • Relax for the first 24 hours after surgery. Watching TV and reading are OK and won’t harm your eye.

Eye protection

  • Don't rub or press on your eye.

  • If instructed, wear a bandage over your eye for  2 days and  nights.

  • If instructed, wear a shield to sleep to protect your eye for 1 week .

  • While you’re healing, your eye health and vision will be watched. Ask your provider how often you will need to be seen.

  • After your eyes have fully healed, your eye care provider can evaluate if you need eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Using eye drops

You may be given special eye drops or ointment. Here is one way to use eye drops:

  • Wash your hands before and after using the drops.

  • Tilt your head back.

  • Pull your bottom eyelid down.

  • Squeeze 1 drop into your eye. Don't touch your eye with the bottle tip.

  • Close your eyes for a few seconds.

  • If you need more than 1 drop, wait at least 5 minutes before adding the next one.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these:

  • Bleeding or discharge from the eye

  • Your vision suddenly gets worse

  • Flashes of light or a lot of new floaters

  • Pain that doesn't improve with the pain medicine that is advised for you

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Chills or fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Haupert MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Whitney Seltman MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2022
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