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What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

Instructions for Cataract Surgery Patients

  • Have the prescription for your eye drops filled.
  • Make a comprehensive list of all medications you are taking including dosage and frequency of use.
  • If you are taking a blood thinner such as Coumadin or Warfarin, please have your INR checked 1-2 weeks prior to surgery. You will need to bring a physical copy of the INR results with you to the surgery center the day of your surgery. Do not stop taking your medication prior to having cataract surgery. IF THE RESULT OF THE INR IS HIGHER THAN 3.5, PLEASE CONTACT THE OFFICE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS.

Begin all prescribed eye drops the day before your surgery as directed. Please space multiple bottles at least 5 minutes apart from each other and shake your bottles prior to instilling the eye drops. If you take glaucoma medication please do not stop taking your eye drops, continue using them as you normally would.

Please anticipate being at the surgery center between 3-4 hours. Your check-in time does NOT directly reflect your surgery time. So please plan accordingly. YOU MUST BE FASTING! Please see your cataract surgery folder for your specific eating and drinking restrictions.

  • If applicable instill your morning glaucoma medications the morning of your surgery.
  • Please take your normal morning medications prior to your arrival at the surgery center with a sip of water.
  • For diabetic patients, please refer to your cataract surgery folder for instructions on when to take your diabetic medication.

You must have a responsible driver over the age of 18 to bring you to and from the surgery center the day of your surgery and to and from your one-day post-op appointment. You cannot use a public mode of transportation i.e. taxi or bus unless a responsible adult accompanies you.

  • Your driver must remain with you at the surgery center. For any exceptions please see the receptionist or intake nurse.
  • If possible, please bring only the person that will drive you home due to limited seating in the waiting area.
  • A comprehensive list of all eye drops and current medications with dosage.
  • Bring a pair of dark sunglasses with you to wear home following your surgery (if you purchased the post-op kit, there will be a pair of sunglasses inside of the kit).
  • Current Insurance Card.
  • If you use oxygen, even if just nighttime use, please bring a portable tank of oxygen with you to the surgery center. You will need enough portable oxygen for approximately 4 hours.
  • If you use an inhaler, use it as normal and bring it with you to the surgery center.
  • If someone else makes medical decisions for you, please bring a copy of the Power of Attorney paperwork.
  • A responsible driver over the age of 18.
  • Wear button-up shirt and comfortable clothes/shoes.
  • You can wear your dentures or hearing aids.

Please do not wear makeup or jewelry to the surgery center. You will be given instructions at the surgery center on how to continue using your eye drops until your 1-day post-op visit.

  • Please begin using your eye drops in the morning prior to your 1-day post-op appointment (unless you were instructed to leave your eye patch on from the surgery center).
  • You will need a driver to and from this appointment.
  • Bring all eye drops that you are currently using with you to your 1-day post-op appointment.
  • You are likely to have some mild irritation and discomfort during the first few weeks following cataract surgery. You may use artificial tears/lubricating eye drops to help alleviate some of the discomforts. If at any time (including after normal business hours) you have extreme pain or pressure that is not resolved by the use of Tylenol or Ibuprofen please contact the office.
  • It is normal for the vision to be blurry, foggy, cloudy, or fluctuating for a few days following surgery. You may also notice some shimmering, flickering, fluttering or a half-moon temporally which is also normal and may take a few weeks to resolve. However, if at any time you are noticing vision loss please contact the office immediately.
  • You will likely be light-sensitive for a few days following cataract surgery so it is recommended to wear sunglasses when going outside until the light sensitivity resolves.
  • You will be using prescription eye drops for at least 4 weeks following surgery.
  • You will need to be seen 1 day, 1 week and 1 month following your surgery for post-op care.
  • You will get a new glasses prescription at the 1-month post-op appointment if your vision is stable.
  • You can resume showering/bathing as normal, try to avoid getting soapy water into the eye.
  • You can resume most of your normal activities, including activities such as, exercising, bending, lifting, and golfing.
  • There are no flying restrictions with routine cataract surgery.
  • No eye rubbing for at least 4 weeks following surgery.
  • No swimming or hot tub for 2 weeks following surgery.
  • No eye makeup for 1 week following surgery.
  • Wear your eye shield for 3 nights following surgery.
  • Wear sunglasses while outside until light sensitivity resolves.
  • Do not drive until your provider informs you that you have a legal driving vision (For many people this will be at your 1-day post-op, but maybe longer).