Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed today, but your surgeon’s expertise is only one component of a healthy outcome. You as the patient are responsible for following your doctor’s care instructions as well as coordinating a support system so you can enjoy clear vision again. Here are some useful guidelines to help you as you prepare for recovery from your cataract surgery:
- Request a loved one to be your caregiver. As much as we like to be independent and not ask for help, cataract surgery requires some assistance from a family member or friend. The removal of the cataract takes only moments, but the sedative will make you groggy for hours. You need a caregiver to drive you home from the procedure and help you get comfortable.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops to prevent infection and help the healing process. Make sure that you adhere to the usage recommendations as well as the dosage. You may also need to wear a protective eye shield at night for the first few weeks when you sleep. Even if you feel that you do not need to wear it after the first few days, trust that your doctor has a reason for this precaution.
- Remember your restrictions. After cataract surgery, you should not bend at the waist or lift heavy items for a specific amount of time. You may want to ask your caregiver to lend a hand with housework or other responsibilities for the first few days following your surgery.
- Go natural for a few days. Ladies, this may be difficult, but you will have to put aside your favorite cosmetics and face products for at least one week following surgery. Makeup, lotions and soaps can cause irritation and infection.
- Attend all scheduled follow-up visits. After your procedure, your eye doctor will want to see you to verify that your eyes are healing and that no infection has set in. You also may find that your eyeglass prescription needs altering after surgery. A follow-up visit will allow your doctor to clear you to drive and perform all your other daily activities.
When it comes to having clear, healthy vision, cataract removal is only the first step. Your post-surgery decisions are just as essential. Following your doctor’s recommendations will help you preserve the precious gift of sight for years to come.