FAQ on Cataract Surgery
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When can I drive?
It depends on what is the vision on your other eye and degree of imbalance between eyes. Please get your ophthalmologist's advise before you commence driving.
When can I fly?
You can fly anytime after your post op follow up appointment with your ophthalmologist. Please inform your travel insurance provider and to be ready to see an ophthalmologist abroad in case of any emergencies.
When can I go swimming?
Avoid swimming for three weeks to ensure the eye is fully healed.
When can I resume physical activity?
Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting – lifting up light shopping is fine, but you will want to avoid activities such as moving heavy furniture
When can I wear makeup?
When your ophthalmology team is happy that your eye has fully recovered.
How can I wash my hair?
When you wash your face or hair be careful not to get soapy, dirty water into your eye when you’re washing.
Do I have to wear my eye shield while sleeping?
The greatest danger to your eye following surgery is poking or rubbing, and a lot of people do this while sleeping, so please wear your eye shield at night for two weeks post-surgery.
Do I need someone at home with me in the first 24 hours?
It is best to have someone take you home following the procedure, ideally in a car and NOT by bus, train or walking. You may feel a little disoriented and out of focus, especially if you’ve only had one eye operated on so far. It is recommended to have someone stay with you while you feel like this, but not a necessity once you’re safely home.
OTHER ADVICE TO REMEMBER
You may see a semi-circle in the corner of your eye following surgery. This is the edge of the lens, and will settle once your brain gets used to the new lens. Everything may appear very bright at first and colours may appear whiter or bluer – this is normal and will settle.
You may also notice a few floaters in your vision. This is nothing to worry about, you probably had these previously and couldn’t see them due to the cataract.
Eyes can be itchy/gritty after using your eye drops, which is normal. If this becomes really uncomfortable for you, we recommend purchasing some preservative-free artificial tears and using these 15 minutes after your prescribed drops. You can purchase these from opticians, pharmacies or online.
It is important to clean and bathe your eyes with cooled boiled water and a cotton wool pad. This should be done at least once a day in the morning, and more often if required.
Risks and benefits of cataract surgery
The main aim of the cataract operation is to improve the quality of your vision. It may also help your doctor to see the back of your eye, if you have a condition affecting your retina which needs to be checked regularly.
We will try to reduce your need to use glasses as much as possible, but you may still require distance glasses for best vision and you will probably need reading glasses. In either case your glasses prescription will change after the operation.
Complications are rare and in most cases can be treated effectively. Rarely, a further operation may be required.
1 person in every 2,000 may lose sight in their operated eye as a direct result of the operation. 1 in 10,000 will lose the eye itself. There is a minimal risk to the eye not being operated on.
Details of the most common specific complications are given below:
Bruising of the eye or eyelids (quite common)
Posterior capsular opacification (PCO)
This is a clouding of the thin back wall of the cataract after surgery, causing blurred vision. It is treated with a laser during an outpatient appointment.
This is a severe and usually painful infection inside the eye. It would require a stay in hospital and treatment with eye drops.
Posterior capsule rupture and/or vitreous loss
A split in the thin back wall of the cataract (lens) can allow the gel (vitreous) from the back chamber of the eye to come forward into the front chamber. Additional surgery would be required (at the time of the cataract operation) to remove the vitreous gel from the front chamber of the eye
This is a rise in the eye pressure for the first day or so after surgery, which may require temporary treatment with extra eye drops.
Cystoid macular oedema
This is the production of inflammatory fluid in the central part (macula) of the retina. It is often mild and requires no treatment, but we will watch it closely for any changes. More severe cases may require a long-term course of treatment and observation.
A significantly different prescription need for glasses after
surgery, than that which was expected.
Allergy to eye drops
This can cause itching and irritation, which goes once the
eye drops have stopped or changed to an alternative.
This is when part or all of the cataract falls into the back chamber (vitreous) of the eye. This would require further surgery.
This is bleeding inside the eye, which may require the
surgery to be completed on another day.
This is when the back inside layer of the eye (the retina)
peels off. This condition will require further surgery.
This is clouding of the normally clear front window (cornea) of the eye. This condition is usually treated with eye drops. In the very worst case, a corneal transplant may be required.
Dislocation of the implant
This is when the new intra-ocular lens implant moves out
of position. This would require further surgery.