Can You Drink Alcohol After Cataract Surgery?
If you are considering or awaiting Cataract Surgery, you may well spend more and more time researching all the ins and outs of your treatment. You may start with questions such as, “How long will the surgery take?”, “Does Cataract Surgery hurt?“, or “Can cataracts return after surgery?“.
Once these bases have all been covered, you may begin to wonder about more practical things concerning your lifestyle. For example: “Can you drink alcohol after Cataract Surgery?“.
For many of us, enjoying an alcoholic beverage is an unconscious yet apparently integral part of our social lives. Whether enjoying a glass of wine at home with your partner or meeting your friends for a pint at your local, you might be wondering when you’ll be able to schedule a celebratory drink after a successful procedure.
When Can You Toast a Successful Procedure?
The good news is that most patients don’t have to wait for too long before toasting their cataract-free vision with the tipple of their choice. As is also the case following Laser Eye Surgery, it is generally, it is advised that you avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours following your procedure. Of course, there will be some exceptions to this rule.
Your ophthalmologist will be able to give you tailored advice for your specific situation and recovery plan. Still, it shouldn’t be long before you can crack open that bottle of champagne, beer, or any other drink!
But why exactly should you abstain from alcohol immediately following your procedure?
How Can Alcohol Affect Your Recovery?
Cataract Surgery is the most commonly performed elective procedure in the UK. It is a minor procedure that, in most cases, is completed under local anaesthetic. This means that the area under treatment (the eye) is numbed but the patient is not put to sleep as is the case with general anaesthetic.
The procedure is typically completed in under an hour with patients able to return home the very same day. While local anaesthetic is generally associated with fewer side effects and a faster recovery, alcohol can still influence the effectiveness of the anaesthesia.
Furthermore, alcohol can interact with medications, such as antibiotics and painkillers, that may be prescribed during your recovery. Consuming alcohol while taking these medications could increase your risk of infection and reduce the effectiveness of your pain medication.
Alcohol can also cause dehydration and thinning of the blood, both of which are associated with an increased risk of complications following surgical procedures.
In most cases, the recovery process for Cataract Surgery is relatively short. For example, most side effects such as blurry vision and any discomfort tend to resolve themselves within a few days. However, it can take around 4-6 weeks to recover fully from the procedure.
It is therefore essential to follow any guidance from your eye doctor regarding your recovery period, including when you will be able to drink alcohol again. This will ensure that you have the smoothest and most comfortable recovery possible.
What About Before Surgery?
As mentioned above, alcohol can interfere with the effects of the anaesthesia following Cataract Surgery. However, consuming alcohol before your procedure can also affect the safety and effectiveness of the local anaesthetic. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will need to avoid alcohol completely in the days leading up to your surgery.
A pint of beer or a small glass of wine on the night before the procedure is generally fine; however, if you have any concerns, it is important to discuss this with your surgeon or ophthalmologist as they can offer advice that is tailored to your specific needs.
Can Alcohol Cause Cataracts?
The formation of cataracts is considered a natural part of the eye’s ageing process. Having said that, there are thought to be a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of cataracts and potentially increase the speed of their development. One of these factors is excessive alcohol consumption.
According to past studies, heavy alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly increased risk of age-related cataracts. Drinking responsibly and within government-recommended guidelines is therefore highly recommended to maintain the health of your eyes as well as the rest of your body.