Can You Fly After Cataract Surgery?
Living with cataracts can be an extremely disruptive time. While it goes without saying that your vision will be affected, it’s easy to overlook how much this can affect almost every aspect of your life. From simple, everyday tasks such as reading and writing to making special memories such as relaxing on a beautiful beach or taking in stunning vistas on a family holiday, impaired vision can add frustration to almost anything.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys jetting off to other parts of the globe, being able to see your new surroundings in all their glory is essential. Luckily, Cataract Surgery is a safe and effective way to restore your vision so you can once again take in as much of the world around you as possible. But how soon can you fly after Cataract Surgery?
What are Cataracts?
As we get older, we inevitably begin to notice a lot of less-than-ideal changes but changes to our eyes and vision can be among the most troublesome. The fact is, our eyes undergo an ageing process just like every other part of our bodies, and in many cases, this can mean the formation of cataracts.
Cataracts form as proteins in the once-clear lenses of the eye begin to break down and clump together. Over time, this clumping creates cloudy obstructions in the lens that can soon affect vision significantly. This is an entirely natural part of the eye’s ageing process – but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating! The good news is that cataracts can be removed and your vision restored with a routine minor procedure.
Cataract Surgery has become the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the world, with an estimated 450,000 carried out by the NHS each year in England alone. It involves removing the clouded lens from the eye and replacing it with an artificial one, known as an intraocular lens (IOL). These artificial lenses come in several varieties and, in some cases, can be used to correct a number of existing refractive errors.
Cataract Surgery Recovery
Cataract Surgery is typically an outpatient procedure which means you can return home on the very same day. The recovery period is usually short with most patients able to resume their usual tasks and activities within a few days to a few weeks.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this. For example, you may be advised to wait longer before performing potentially dangerous tasks such as driving or activities that could cause damage to your healing eyes, such as contact sports.
But let’s get back to the question at hand: Can you fly after Cataract Surgery?
If you’re worried about whether Cataract Surgery will prevent you from heading out on the trip you’ve been planning for months, or you’re travelling from abroad for the procedure – don’t be!
Thanks to the incredible healing power of our eyes, it won’t be long before they are as ready to jet off as you are. It can take around a week (sometimes more) for your vision to return to its previous clarity; however, travelling on a plane doesn’t pose any risk to your recovery. Generally, patients are able to fly the day after their procedure, but there may be some exceptions. Your eye doctor will assess your specific situation during your follow-up appointment and will be able to advise you further.
How soon you can fly may also depend on the regulations of each individual airline so it’s important to check this before booking. Furthermore, there are some potential side effects which may be exacerbated by the conditions on the plane.
Dry Eyes and Flying
Anyone who has been on a plane is more than familiar with the dry conditions of the cabin. Some of us may experience dry skin and even sore throats after having spent a long time on a plane, but the dry air can also affect our eyes. This is even more likely following an ocular procedure such as Cataract Surgery.
Dry eyes is a common side effect during recovery from Cataract Surgery. This is usually a temporary symptom that is easily managed with the help of lubricating eye drops. So, if you’re planning on heading out of the country in the days or weeks following your procedure, it is recommended that you make sure to carry a trusty bottle of eye drops with you on your travels!
So, there you have it! Scheduling your Cataract Surgery treatment doesn’t have to mean you have to cancel or change your travel plans. You can still be jetting off on your family holiday or business trip just as planned.