When can I get back to normal life after cataract surgery?

Interview transcription:

In an interview, Alex Shortt reveals how long it takes until you can get back to normal life after your cataract surgery.

Interviewer: Assuming I had a cataract operation yesterday, how soon can I get back to normal life and do the things I want to do?

Alex Shortt: The variables here are that we don’t want you rubbing or putting pressure on the eye. So, we ask you to wear a protective shield in bed at night for five nights. Additionally, you should not get tap water or any water which potentially could have bacteria in it, into your eye for a week after surgery. But they’re the only two restrictions. All other things, such as reading, watching television and physical activity, are fine, as long as you’re not putting any pressure on the eye. The recovery is relatively quick.

Since we switched over to doing keyhole surgery with incisions that seal themselves and don’t need stitches, we don’t see problems that used to happen after cataract surgery as a result of rubbing the eye or getting damage to the eye.

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In the early days of cataract surgery, we used to have to make very large incisions, which lead to very large wounds in the eye. The eye was very delicate after these, and we had to put stitches in to hold the wound closed. We used to live in fear of the patient breaking these stitches or of the wound opening.

Historically, patients have always worried about cataract surgery. Doctors and nurses even have this anxiety that, after cataract surgery, rubbing the eye or something could go wrong. But in reality, since we switched over to keyhole surgery with incisions that seal themselves and don’t need stitches, we don’t see these problems that used to happen after cataract surgery as a result of rubbing the eye or getting damage to the eye.

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About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.

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