Your Pre- And Post-Op Checklist
If you’re preparing for cataract surgery, you’re probably eager to get back to seeing better and looking forward to life with clearer vision. The side effects of cataracts (both short-term and long-term) can have a devastating impact on your quality of life (check out these early signs of cataracts), and it’s important to treat the issue as soon as possible so that you can return to better vision.
To help you better prepare for cataract surgery, we’ve created a simple before and after checklist to help you navigate the procedure safely and effectively.
Pre-op checklist for cataract surgery
There are several things you can do to prepare for cataract surgery that will help make the days and hours leading up to the surgery easier on you and your family.
One week before your surgery
- Your doctor will perform tests to identify which lens to use for your surgery. You should let your doctor know if you are taking any medications and be sure to schedule follow-up appointments and discuss any additional day-of preparations that may be needed.
- Your doctor may give you eye drops for future use.
- Plan to take off 1–3 days from work.
- Find someone who will be able to drive you home after your surgery.
The night before your surgery
- Use the eye drops as prescribed by your doctor.
- Do not eat or drink after midnight (this includes water and alcohol).
- Confirm your ride home for after the surgery.
- Consider prepping your meals for the next few days (after your surgery, you will want to avoid any splatter, heat, or steam that might come from cooking).
The day of your surgery
- Do not eat or drink before your surgery. (You can brush your teeth, but use minimal water.)
- Do not wear makeup or facial creams.
- Arrive at your appointment early.
Post-op checklist for cataract surgery
While you can typically return to normal activities within 48 hours, total cataract surgery recovery time is between 6–8 weeks. Here are a few things you may experience during that time, including a few do’s and don’ts after cataract surgery. Keep these in mind as you’re preparing for cataract surgery.
Within the first 24 hours
- You might experience minimal discomfort or blurred vision after cataract surgery.
- You should avoid rubbing your eyes, applying makeup, or using facial creams.
- You should avoid strenuous activity (this includes exercising).
- You should avoid watching TV and operating a vehicle.
24 hours and beyond
- Use any prescribed medications or eye drops to your doctor’s specifications.
- Don’t worry about how you sleep post-procedure.
- You can sleep however if you choose, but if you’re still concerned, you can avoid sleeping on the side where you had the surgery. Either way, you should be fine.
- You can resume light exercising (avoid lifting more than 15 pounds for the first week).
- Swimming after cataract surgery is considered a risk — it’s recommended that you wait at least two weeks post-surgery before taking a dip or submerging in water.
- Make sure you attend any post-op appointments set with your doctor. If you experience any lingering discomfort, call your doctor.
How long does it take for my vision to stabilize after cataract surgery?
While recovery time can take anywhere between 6-8 weeks, your vision could stabilize before that (between 3–6 weeks). However, this will definitely depend on your individual situation. Check out our article, “What to Expect After Cataract Surgery: Side Effects and Timing” to learn more about the recovery timeline.
Have more questions about how to prepare for cataract surgery?
At Eye Center of Texas, we’ve performed over 80,000 successful cataract surgeries, and we’d love to help you see better, too. If you’re wondering what the cataract surgery cost is or wondering, “What do cataracts look like?” We are here to answer these questions and more. If you’d like to request an appointment, call 713-797-1010 or contact us online today.
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