Dos and Don’ts After Cataract Surgery | Precautions After Cataract Surgery | Visual Problems After Cataract Surgery | Cataract Surgery Complications in Elderly
In most cases, cataract surgery goes very well without any complications. You end up with improved and better vision without any long term problems. But like other surgeries, there are risks and complications involved in many cataract patients, and you end up with problems after cataract surgery; especially when you have some other eye issues and chronic medical conditions like Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension.
What is Cataract?
Cataract is a disease of your eye in which a normal lens becomes cloudy or opaque. Changes in the lenses of your eyes typically develop gradually and start affecting you in your 50-60s years of age. These changes increase with the age and may lead to Cataract which causes diminished vision. Cataract surgery is done to correct and improve your vision.
Symptoms of Cataract
- Blurred vision
- Diminished vision
- Difficulty with glare often with bright light
- Dull colour vision
- Increased nearsightedness
- Frequent changes in eyeglasses number
- Occasional diplopia (Double vision) in one eye
Types of Cataract Surgery
- Phaco – Phacoemulsification
- MICS – Minimal Incision Cataract Surgery
- ECCE – Extra Capsular Cataract Extraction
- ICCE – Intra Capsular Cataract Extraction
- Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery
Dos and Don’ts After Cataract Surgery
- Do not rub your eye with your hands. If your eye itches, you may wipe it gently with a moist swab or cotton.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights after surgery to avoid problems after cataract surgery
- Avoid deep cough, sneezing and straining almost for 30 days. These activities might increase pressure in your eyes and cause complications after cataract surgery.
- Playing with children or swimming can harm your eyes after surgery, do not do such activities for 30 days minimum.
- Do not wash your eyes with normal water at least 10 days after surgery
- Avoid a shower at least 10 days after cataract surgery.
- You may take a bath below the chin and can use wet towels to clean your face.
- Do not shave in the first 3 days of cataract surgery; you may shave after three days.
- You can resume your routine household activities and other normal activities like shopping, watching TV and using a mobile phone after 3 days of cataract surgery.
- Do instil your eye drops regularly as advised by your ophthalmologist doctor
- Clean your hands preferably wash with soap water before applying eye ointment or other eye medication.
- Wear Protective eye cap at night for 7 days minimum
- Do wear dark glasses after surgery for a week
- Clean your eyes 2-3 times a day with boiled water or sterile water using a cotton swab
- Do contact your eye doctor/ophthalmologist immediately if there is any problem after cataract surgery like itching in the eye, swelling around eyes, redness, severe pain, double vision or vision loss.
Complications and Problems after Cataract Surgery
Feeling that Something in Your Eye
This is a very common problem in many patients after cataract surgery. The patient feels like there is something in the eye or that the eye is very itchy and scratchy after surgery. This is a very normal sensation that is caused by a small incision in your eye.
Ideally, these symptoms go away and heal within a week or so but if you have dry eye, it may go longer up to 3 to4 months.
Infections after cataract surgery are very rare. Eye infections can be treated with the help of antibiotic drops or oral/Intravenous antibiotics. You might feel sensitive to light, pain in the eye, redness and vision problems if you have an infection.
If you find any infection symptoms after cataract surgery, call or meet your doctor right away.
Blurry Vision After Surgery
It’s very common in many patients to have blurry vision after cataract surgery. Blurry vision may take days to weeks to get cleared depending on your medical condition. In most cases, this is caused by a normal swelling that occurs due to surgery.
Prescribed anti-inflammatory drops improve vision in a week period of time. If vision does not improve after a week time, consult with your doctor without further delay.
Almost all cataract surgery patients experience some level of dryness that remains for weeks to months. The cause of eye dryness after cataract surgery is damage to the small nerves during surgery. These nerves help in producing tears and lubrication of the eyes. Damaged nerves heal in about 3-4 months until dry eye cause discomfort to you with blurry vision and sensitivity to light.
Your mild symptoms of dry eye can be relived with the help of artificial teardrops. But if it doesn’t work, reach out to your eye doctor.
Red Eye or Bleeding from Eye
It is very rare and happens due to damage of small blood vessels that supply to the retina during surgery. it’s called a subconjunctival haemorrhage. A little bit of blood is not an issue but a larger amount of blood can cause loss of vision.
Eye drops may help in relieving the symptoms, and the doctor can advise bed rest for a few days. If symptoms are not relived and blood is not drained can lead to high pressure in the eyes and you might need surgery.
Droopy Eye or Ptosis
Ptosis or Droopy eye is a condition when your upper eyelid dropped down. It’s a neurological condition but happens after cataract surgery in a few cases. Ptosis goes away on its own within a few weeks and can last up to 6 months.
If it lasts for more than 6 months; consult with your doctor, you may need surgery for ptosis.
It is very common and normal after cataract surgery. But if it lasts for a longer period of time more than weeks, call your doctor. Most of the time sunglasses help, you may need to wear dark sunglasses for weeks.
But photosensitivity after cataract surgery should not be ignored as this can be due to other underlying conditions which can lead to complications.
Flashes of Light or Floaters
Many cataract surgery patients experience clouds in vision like moving spider webs along with flashes of life. Floaters are caused by detachment of the posterior vitreous during surgery.
Generally, it improved on its own within a few weeks or a month but if not gets better, call your eye doctor right away.
Unwanted Images, Halos and Glare
It’s also called postoperative dyphotopsia. Patients experience unwanted visual images after cataract surgery. Glare or halos occur more frequently at night or in dim light. You can notice these effects in between surgery on one eye and second eye.
If you experience such symptoms, call your doctor. These can be corrected with the right glasses prescription.
It’s an emergency condition and can lead to sudden vision loss. Retinal detachment can be a complication of cataract surgery. If you feel like a curtain has fallen over part of your eye, new floating spots, and flashes of light; call your doctor immediately.