Cataract Surgery Instructions

Cataract surgery is most often performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The clouded lens is dissolved using a high frequency ultrasound and a 3 mm incision. An artificial lens is then implanted. The surgery continues to improve with such recent developments as no-stitch surgery, topical anesthesia, surgical correction of astigmatism and new lens designs. It takes a few months for the eye to heal completely, but the patient is able to return to normal activity soon after surgery. Please review the following Pre and Post-operative instructions.


Pre-Operative Instructions

  • HAVE NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK AFTER MIDNIGHT prior to the day of surgery, unless specified by your physician. This includes SMOKING and chewing gum! SURGERY WILL BE CANCELLED AUTOMATICALLY IF YOU EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING!
  • Start eye drops as instructed before surgery. One drop in the eye to be operated every day, as well as on the morning of surgery. Please do not waste the drops as you will be using them after surgery also.
  • Do not take any other medication after midnight unless otherwise directed. Any medication you are directed to take, you should take with the least amount of water necessary to swallow the pill.
  • Leave all valuables at home, including jewelry, money, etc.
  • Wear no make-up, nail polish, etc. on the morning of surgery. Please remove any nail polish prior to admission. This is so we may monitor your pulse from the blood flow in your fingernail.
  • Wear light, easy-to-wear clothing. You will be given a hospital gown to change into in the hospital outpatient department.
  • Make arrangements for a ride home from the hospital. You will not be permitted to drive yourself home because of the medication you have received. If you have not arranged for someone to take you home, the hospital will either have to cancel surgery or have you agree to pay for a taxi ride home. Please allow time for the recovery room stay, postoperative monitoring, discharge paperwork, etc.
  • An IV (intravenous) is required for all surgeries.
  • Family and support people will be shown to the family waiting area during your surgery. Alternatively, they may like to call the hospital, if they would like an estimate of when you will be ready to go home.
  • There are special considerations for our patients with diabetes, on coumadin or aspirin, as well as other situations. These will be discussed on an individual basis.
  • If you live alone, you may feel it comforting to have someone stay with you the first night, though this is not medically necessary, it is indeed comforting!


Post-Operative Surgery Instructions

Some of your friends may well try to help you with advice. The most important message that I can give you is that, since eye surgery is now performed with smaller incisions and more modern instrumentation, most of these restrictions no longer apply. For example, with the exception of straining, such as lifting very heavy weights during the first week, you may lift and stoop down. You may return to work as soon as you feel that your vision is adequate, though you should obviously avoid doing anything that might involve directly hitting the operated eye!

Soon after surgery, you will be ready to go home. You may feel a little unsteady, because of sedation used in surgery, so be careful not to stumble. Stand up slowly, or you may feel dizzy, and on no account may you drive until after the patch has been removed tomorrow, nor should you use power tools or sign legal documents until then.

You will have a patch over the operated eye. This stays in place until your visit to the office, so you do not apply any eye drops until the patch has been removed. It is applied firmly, so your eye is closed under the patch. As the anesthetic wears off, you will experience some mild discomfort. You may take any pain reliever, but you should contact me if you have any severe pain. Do not take sleeping pills or drink alcohol the first night.

Restart all your medications including blood thinners in your normal routine after you get home. If you take Coumadin in the morning, take that dose when you get home.

At your first visit to the office after surgery, the patch will be removed and you will receive a kit with eye drops in it. Please bring any eye medications that you are using with you to this visit. From that visit on, you will only need to wear the eye shield, not the patch, and only wear it when you are sleeping, so that you do not rub the eye while you are asleep. Stop wearing the shield after about 2 weeks.

The outside of the eye is healed over by the second day after surgery, so feel free to wash your hair by then. You may wipe the outside of the eye using facial tissue dampened with tap water. Wipe gently, just as you would the eye of a baby. Avoid cotton balls, as the cotton threads sometimes get hung up on the lashes and then get in the eye. Avoid directing a powerful jet of shower water directly into the eye for at least a month.

Do not expect the vision to be perfect at once. It is normal for the vision to be fuzzy at the beginning and it will also vary from day to day at first. New glasses will be needed when healing is completed, which may take as long as 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.

Specializing in Cataracts and Eyelid Surgery