Light passes through the lens located behind the iris, the colored part of the eye, sending a signal to your brain of the image you are trying to see. Cataracts form when protein builds up over the lens of a normally clear eye causing cloudiness or blurry vision. When cataracts cover the lens, the image is distorted as the eye cannot focus light as it should. Vision changes depending on the cataract’s location and size. Cataracts also form due to diabetes, steroid use, radiation treatment and other eye conditions and injuries to the eyes. Cataracts are quite common and develop due to age. More than half of all Americans over the age of 80 have cataracts and require cataract surgery. 

Once it is determined by your ophthalmologist that cataract surgery is necessary for the quality and preservation of your vision, one would naturally ask, “how long does it take for my eye to heal after cataract surgery?” Blurry vision or double vision after cataract surgery is common in the first 24 to 72 hours. These side effects usually improve within a few days, but complete healing can take up to 8 weeks. Inflammation will subside within 1 to 2 weeks post-surgery and vision will become clearer. Prescription steroid or antibiotic eye drops may be given by your doctor to aid with any pain, itchiness or discomfort. One month after surgery, you should be able to resume normal activities without any pain or discomfort.

After cataract surgery, resting and ensuring you do not put any pressure on the eye is the best way to promote healing. You will likely be sent home with a protective shield over your eyes that you should continue to wear for a week post-surgery to prevent an injury to the eye. You should also wear sunglasses on the drive home where someone will need to drive you. Avoiding strenuous activity including heavy lifting or bending over is necessary for a quick recovery. You should also avoid rubbing or touching your eyes. Be sure to take any medication or eye drops prescribed by your doctor. Apply your eye drop medications as instructed to control inflammation and reduce the risk of infection.

Recovery from cataract surgery can vary among patients but your healing will include several follow up appointments with your doctor to ensure you are healing properly. For those you will require another cataract surgery for the other eye, it is important to follow proper protocol to receive clearance for the next surgery date.

Cataract progression is gradual, meaning it can take years before surgery is necessary. Over time, experts estimate that visual disability associated with cataracts accounts for over 8 million physician office visits a year in the United States. Pendleton Eye offers comprehensive eye exams to diagnose and monitor cataracts. Contact our office by 760-758-2008 or WEBSITE for better quality vision.