Cataract surgery recovery time – the dos and don’ts

Cataract surgery recovery time

It takes a few days to recover from cataract surgery, you are usually able to go home on the same day.

You will be asked to wear an eye shield over your eye after your surgery has finished and you can typically remove the protective shield the day after your surgery.

It can take up to a few days for your sight to return however, the feeling in the operated eye will return within a few hours after the surgery.

Some of the expected symptoms you will experience are:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Grittiness
  • Red or bloodshot eye
  • Watering eyes

A full recovery generally can take up to 4 – 6 weeks but, these side effect usually get better within a few days.

A time frame of 6 weeks is usually given if you need new glasses due to the eye healing process.

Due to the very high success rate of eye cataract surgery in improving your eyesight, you should be able to get on with your habitual activities such as driving.


When to go get help

Eye problems are a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly. You should get in contact with your eye doctor as soon as possible if you experience some of these eye conditions:

  • Decrease in vision
  • Increase in pain and/or red eye
  • Increased stickiness

Dos and Don’ts

Some of the practices you should follow after the first few weeks of surgery:


  • The use of eye drops as instructed
  • Go easy on yourself for the initial 2 to 3 days
  • For at least a week, use your eye shield at night
  • Take your usual baths or showers
  • When washing your hair, use your eye shield
  • Be active. Read a book, watch TV or use a computer
  • If you are experiencing pain, take pain killers


  • Rub your eye
  • Until your doctor has cleared it for you, avoid driving
  • Allow soap or shampoo to get into your eyes
  • Participate in any exercise or housework
  • Use eye makeup for at least 4 weeks
  • Take any flights without the go ahead from your doctor

If your sight in the other eye is poor, then you can arrange for someone to come and take care of you whilst you recover.

Depending on the type of job you have will determine how soon you can get back to work.


How to use your eye drops

After you are done with the surgery, you will be given eye drops in order to assist in helping your eye heal and prevent any infections.

Eye care is very important and should be taken seriously. Using your eye drops according to the advice given by the doctor is crucial. Some good practices to implement are:

  • Begin using your drops the morning after the operation
  • Use only on the eye that has been operated
  • Before using the eye drops, remember to wash your hands
  • Unless your doctor has advised otherwise, do not stop the use of your eye drops.
  • Do not let anyone else use your eye drops

When you have your post-operation, which will be in a 1-4 weeks time, you will be advised with further details on how to use your eye drops.

Check out this guide on how to use eye drops.

House work after cataract surgery

Cataract surgery recovery can sometimes feel overwhelming however, it does not necessarily stop you from anything at all.

In fact, doing light housework is totally okay however, your doctor may advise to refrain from heavy lifting and bending over for up to a week after surgery. You should put aside any intense physical activities up until you have fully recovered.

Cooking after cataract surgery

Post surgery, it is quite normal to feel sluggish and lethargic which can have an influence on how often you cook. You may come to realise that it can get difficult whilst you are still in the healing phase.

You should give yourself some time off from cooking and possibly pre-prepare your meals before your surgery or you can buy pre-cooked meals which does not require much effort to prepare.

Check out these healthy recipes for healthy eyes


Exercising after cataract surgery

Swimming pools tend to be breeding grounds for diseases, it is something you definitely need to stay away from when your eye needs healing. If swimming is in your routine, then you should take a short break of about a week to allow your eye to heal. Saunas and hot tubs are other activities you should avoid.

See how exercise can improve your eyesight!


How long are you off work after cataract surgery?

Although a large number of the patients that have cataracts are usually retired. However, this does not mean that it can not happen to younger patients.

After an operation, everyone needs some time off, but you do not want to take too much time off as it can get in the way of you getting back to normal.

There are a few factors that depend how soon you can get back to work:

  • The speed of your recovery
  • Your response to surgery
  • The line of work you are in

For example, if a person has a strenuous outdoors job, it can take longer for them to get back into work in comparison to someone who has an office job.

Recovery times tend to vary as every person is different. Typically, cataract surgery has a quick recovery time and many people who are in office jobs are usually back into work within a couple days.

However, physically demanding jobs that expose a person to frequent dust or liquids must take their time getting back to work.

Further to this, if your jobs involves driving then your eye must meet the required DVLA standards. This time frame can vary as you can be back at work within a few days or your return could be delayed until your glasses are tested which can take up to 4 weeks.

Here you can find more details on what cataracts are.


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