What Activities Should be Avoided After Cataract Surgery?
When preparing yourself for Cataract Surgery, it can be easy to focus on the procedure itself and forget about everything else. However, being as informed as possible about the days and weeks to follow is extremely important for a smooth recovery. That’s why we put together this guide to activities you should avoid (at least for a little while!) after Cataract Surgery.
But before we get into explaining what you can and can’t do after the procedure, let’s learn a little more about how Cataract Surgery affects your eyes.
Cataract Surgery and Your Eyes
If you have developed a cataract, you are probably getting used to changes to your vision affecting various aspects of your life. Thankfully, Cataract Surgery is a safe and effective treatment that can get you back to living your best life in just a matter of weeks. So, how does it work?
Well, Cataract Surgery involves removing the cataract from your eye. What many people don’t realise at first, however, is that this means removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial one – known as an intraocular lens (IOL).
In order to achieve this, your surgeon has to make a small incision on the surface of the eye. An ultrasound probe is then inserted into the eye to break down the cataract which can then be removed from the lens capsule. The IOL – which can be carefully selected to account for any refractive error in the eye – is then put in place.
Our eyes have incredible healing power and, for this reason, many people are able to see clearly again after just a few days. However, the procedure will cause some sensitivity in your eyes for a few weeks. This can include some discomfort and grittiness in the first few days as well as blurry vision.
Your eyes will also be more vulnerable to infection and other complications. Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid certain activities for a short period following your procedure. Below, we briefly explain what types of activities should be avoided, and why.
Exercise After Cataract Surgery
For the reasons mentioned above, it is recommended that you go light on any exercise for at least one week after your surgery. While you should be fine to go on short, light walks at this time, it is best to avoid any more strenuous activities during this period.
However, for more high-impact sports or exercises that will place additional pressure on your eyes – for example, yoga – it is best to wait for longer. We advise that you take a break of around 2-4 weeks from activities such as football, martial arts, or other contact sports.
Swimming After Cataract Surgery
As swimming pools and natural waters can contain bacteria, it is important to avoid swimming in the first two weeks after your surgery. This will give your eye a chance to heal and prevent it from becoming infected.
When returning to swimming, we advise wearing goggles to further protect your eye from infection.
Other Things to Avoid After Cataract Surgery
Slight swelling in your eye after Cataract Surgery is usually nothing to worry about. It is a completely normal inflammatory response and is part of the eye’s healing process. However, swelling can cause some side effects, including blurred vision.
You may experience blurred vision in the first few days after your procedure. You should, therefore, avoid any activities which require clear vision, such as driving and operating heavy machinery, until this subsides.
It is also important to avoid environments where your eye(s) will be exposed to dust, bacteria or other potentially harmful objects.
Your surgeon will discuss all of these points with you following your Cataract Surgery to ensure you are fully informed heading into your recovery. You will also be given more information about any medication – such as eye drops – you should take in the days and weeks following your procedure.