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Recovery

You should be able to go home on the same day as your cataract surgery.

You may have a pad and plastic shield over your eye when you leave hospital, which can usually be removed the day after surgery.

Feeling should start to return to your eye within a few hours of surgery, but it may take a few days for your vision to fully return.

It's normal to have:

These side effects usually improve within a few days but it can take 4 to 6 weeks to recover fully.

If you need new glasses, you won't be able to order them until your eye has completely healed – usually after 6 weeks.

Cataract surgery has a high success rate in improving your eyesight and should allow you to return to your normal activities, like driving.

When to seek help

Contact your eye surgery department as soon as possible if you experience:

Dos and don'ts

For the first few weeks after surgery:

Do:

Don't:

You could arrange for someone to help take care of you until your vision returns, particularly if the vision in your other eye is poor.

If you work, how soon you can return will largely depend on your type of job and if you need new glasses.

Using your eye drops

Before you leave hospital, you'll be given some eye drops to help your eye heal and prevent infection.

It's important to use your eye drops as instructed by your doctor. Unless told otherwise, you should:

You'll be advised further about the use of eye drops at your follow up appointment, usually 1 to 4 weeks after your operation.

At this appointment, you may be given advice on when to stop using your eye drops and when to apply for new glasses.

How to apply eye drops

  1. wash your hands
  2. tilt your head back
  3. look up at the ceiling
  4. gently pull down the lower lid
  5. squeeze the bottle until a drop goes into your eye
  6. close your eye and wipe away any excess liquid
  7. don’t let the bottle touch the eye

If you run out of the drops, contact your local GP for more. You’ll need to bring your eye drop bottle and discharge letter to your appointment.

How to clean your eye

During the first 2 weeks, you may need to clean your eye twice a day because the drops and the healing process can cause slight stickiness.

For more on cataracts go to the RNIB website.