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Do’s and don’ts after cataract surgery

What you can do and not do after cataract surgery

Alas, there are certain things that you cannot do immediately after cataract surgery. You cannot swim or go into a steam room for a month. You can not drive until an ophthalmologist has passed you as having good enough vision, or you know that you can read a number plate at the required distance.
You have to ensure that you meet the DVLA standard. It is not the ophthalmologist’s responsibility to stop you from driving, but they will advise you if they think that your vision is below the standard required for driving, and meanwhile you have to have a look to see whether you can see a number plate at 20 metres.
You will also have to wear a clear shield at night for two weeks after surgery to stop you rubbing your eye or inadvertently touching the pillow while you are asleep. You are not meant to do heavy exercise or heavy carrying of bags or shopping or to strain and lean down.
You do not want the pressure to go up in the eye, although this is less important with current small incision phacoemulsification techniques than it was before when larger incisions were made, you still have to be reasonably gentle in the first couple of weeks after your cataract surgery.
You also need to be aware of possible complications and call your surgeon if you experience any problems within the first week before your appointment with them. This can be pain despite using your eye drops, new onset blurred vision, increasing painful redness, light flashes or spot or floaters in your vision. If you have any of those during the first week, you must urgently contact your clinic, Clinica London.
Otherwise, cataract surgery really is ambulatory outpatient or day case surgery. You will be in the hospital for 2-4 hours. When the procedure is over, and you have had your drops and post-op instructions you can go straight home, best accompanied by a member of your family/good friend or in a taxi.

Specific do’s and don’ts

On days one to 14 post op you must avoid dusty environments, not go swimming and not lift heavy objects or strain or do heavy exercise. You are certainly advised not to drive for the first few days until you are adjusted to your new vision, and you know that you can see the number plate at the required distance. Any travel plans involving flying should be discussed in advance with Ms Crawley or Mr Khan.
Flying is possible, but you must be available for the follow-up appointments and must take your drops with you.
We recommend that you wash your hair very carefully for the first five days to avoid the soapy water getting into your eye. Others can start running gently from about five to seven days after the operation, but they must not do weights or yoga with the head down. After about one to two weeks you can resume regular activity. Your surgeon will advise whether you can go back to regular activity in one week, or whether you have to wait until the second week. Complications can occur with cataract surgery, and they will be the subject of the next blog.


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