Surgery - dos and don'ts after cataract surgery

The most important thing following cataract surgery is to protect the eye from infection, so it’s important not to rub or touch your eye and avoid dusty, dirty or windy environments.


  • Wear your eye shield overnight and remove it the morning after your surgery
  • Start using your eye drops the morning after your surgery, in accordance with the instructions provided 
  • Continue using any eye drops you’ve been prescribed for other conditions e.g. glaucoma (although we recommend opening a new bottle after your surgery to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and waiting five minutes between administering each set of drops)
  • Bathe, shower and wash your hair as usual, but keep your eyes closed when washing your face and hair, and remember not to rub your eye. We recommend using a mild/baby shampoo. 
  • Read, watch TV and use a computer as normal. 
  • Continue with non-strenuous everyday activities, like cooking, when you get home. 
  • Use your sunglasses outdoors. 
  • Check whether you meet the legal requirements for driving (e.g. being able to read a number plate from 20 metres away) and, if you do, resume driving whenever you feel safe to do so.
  • Feel free to look after children, unless you were given a sedative before surgery, in which case you shouldn’t look after children alone for at least 24 hours. Rough play should be avoided.
  • Return to work the day after your cataract operation. If you have concerns regarding returning to work, please discuss this with your surgeon and the discharge team. Jobs that involve contact sports or elements of control and restraint should be avoided for a little longer (2-4 weeks) but are best discussed with your surgeon. 
  • Bathe your eye using the sterile swabs provided if it feels sticky or gunky. Make sure you wash your hands before and after bathing your eye and use water that has been boiled and cooled for sterilisation purposes.
  • It’s OK to drink alcohol following cataract surgery, UNLESS you had a sedative for surgery, in which case you should wait 24 hours before having a drink. 


  • Bend down for extended periods of time for at least one week after surgery
  • Attempt to do any gardening for at least one week after surgery
  • Wear eye make-up for at least one week after surgery
  • Fly until you’ve sought your doctor’s advice
  • Do any strenuous exercise for at least one week after surgery
  • Participate in contact sports for at least 2-4 weeks after surgery
  • Go swimming for at least two weeks after surgery


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