Recovery From Cataract Surgery: What To Expect

As you age, you will have a good chance of developing a cataract. In some instances, you will never need corrective surgery because the cataract does not drastically affect your vision. For many other Americans, a cataract will limit their vision so much that surgery on one or both eyes is necessary. Although this surgery is generally safe and greatly improves vision, the recovery process does take some time. If you are having cataract surgery, you need to prepare yourself for the aftermath.

Lots of Drops

Even when things go smoothly, recovery from the operation usually means a potentially confusing schedule of eye drops. You will be asked to use an antibiotic drop to prevent infection and possibly a steroid eye drop to reduce inflammation. Doctors also prescribe non-steroid anti-inflammatories. Since these drops are used for several weeks to a month or more after surgery, you need to prepare a schedule. Some drops need to be used multiple times a day while other may only be used once.  Also, doctors tend to wean you off of these drops, so the frequency and dosages change. Keeping up with the schedule is a bother, but you will heal faster and be less likely to have problems if you use your medication correctly.

Common Complications

Most cataract patients recover quickly and without problems. However, if you have glaucoma or another eye conditions, you may struggle more. Also, a  posterior capsule opacity or secondary cataract can develop. This condition isn't really another cataract. Instead, it happens when the lens capsule becomes cloudy after surgery. This condition only happens in about 20% of patients, but it can be upsetting to have your vision slowly return to pre-surgery levels. Fortunately, correcting this condition only takes about ten minutes in the ophthalmologist's office. It's treated by Yag laser, and your vision should clear up quite quickly. In a day or so, you should have you vision back to where it was before the condition developed. 

Occasionally, patients develop swelling or edema in the eye that must be treated. Also, the lens itself can be dislocated and need to be replaced. In extreme cases, your retina can become detached. 

Generally, cataract surgery goes off without a hitch. You spend a few weeks taking eye drops, visit your doctor several times, and then you are done. In a few instances, complications develop that require more treatment. Even though these complications are unpleasant, going without cataract surgery can lead to blindness. You need to be prepared for a hiccup or two, but you should expect a great improvement in your eyesight. 

For more information, contact Northwest Ophthalmology or a similar location.