You have got your eye operated on for cataracts with a choice of Intra-Ocular lens (IOL) in your eye today. Your surgeon has done to the best of his ability to give you a perfect sight. Now what can you do, what else should you do to make your eye “normal” as early as possible…
So in this article, I am going to give you 8 precise tips on what you should do to achieve your goal of a healthy recovery after cataract surgery.
1 Understand your Medicines perfectly :
The most common and underrated cause of late recovery post-surgery is a lack of understanding of how to use your medication post-operatively. Usually, a patient has to put 2-4 eye different eye drops for some time after cataract surgery. Understanding each medicine and noting down their timings is the most important part. These medicines are required to reduce post-surgical inflammation, rate of infection, and eye pressure and give comfort to your eye. Understanding the importance of each drug and compliance is the very 1st step in recovery after cataract surgery. We usually see that patients are either confused or choose the drug they want to put more. It has 2 disadvantages – 1st is that drugs in higher doses can be harmful rather than beneficial to the eye. 2nd is the reduced frequency of more important drugs as compared to less critical drugs.
2 Take Rest:
However short or quick your cataract surgery may be, it’s still an important surgery for a very vital organ of your eye. Making your procedure quick is an attribution to the great advances in technology and their understanding and implications by your performing surgeon. Finishing your surgery in 10-15mins requires a labor of 10-15 years of hard work and diligence. Being stitchless, a self-healing wound is created during the surgery, giving the patient a feeling of non-invasive surgery. But that’s not the actual case. There are 2-3 wounds ranging from 0.9mm to 2.8 or 3mm. So they need time and rest to heal properly. If dealt with grossly by the patient, e.g. vigorous rubbing, splashing of water, etc, it can lead to minor leaks or opening of these wounds causing an infection inside the eye. So adequate rest (not bed rest, of course!) is to be taken for at least 2-3 days and up to 7 days before getting a little careless about your surgery.
3 Avoid cough, sneezing etc: –
Coughing, sneezing, vomiting, etc all cause raised upper thoracic pressure. This increases pressure on your eyes. So any such activity can be violent for those wounds of surgery in your eye. This should be avoided for at least 2 days post-surgery. Take medicine if you feel even the slightest of these things happening to you post-surgery.
4 Avoid Excercise/Weights/Power yoga:
Although bed rest is not advised to any patient, but strenuous work, lifting heavy weights, running, jumping, Power yoga poses, any yoga pose involving lowering your head, forceful expiration, etc must be avoided for about a week. One can definitely stroll for 1st 2 days, then can go for long walks, do meditation, mild yoga asanas like pranayam, etc in the 1st week. One can also read, write, and watch Screen (TV, Computer, Mobile phones, etc) up to a comfortable limit, avoiding at any stage strain and rubbing of eyes. In between take some rest, then continue with your activity when your eye is sufficiently relaxed. Remember you may be seeing very well (because of the new optics), but your eye is still in trauma and recovering. Give it the time it needs and it will stay with you forever!
5 Proper hygiene:
Any wound needs sterility and rests to recover fully. The inside of the eye is kept sterile by topical antibiotic drops given to you by your doctor. But keeping the surrounding area of eye clean is one’s own responsibility. Generally, we recommend not taking bath from the head for 3-5 days. One should take bath from the neck below for 1st few days. For the operated eye area, sterile eye wipes are recommended for cleaning the lids and corners of the eye twice daily. The rest of the face can be wiped with a wet towel. If someone needs a head bath, a salon-style head bath can be given at home with the head tilted back and water flowing backward from the forehead.
6 Healthy Diet:
After your cataract surgery, your eye needs nutrition to recover and heal. Giving your body a healthy and balanced diet restores the essential vitamins and minerals required for good healing of wounds. Avoiding fried, spicy foods help in circumventing unnecessary gastric upset which can lead to vomit and forceful coughs. Always prefer a home-cooked meal for a few days after your surgery.
7 Control your Blood Sugar(diabetes) and blood pressures:
This is very important for people having Diabetes(Sugar) or Hypertension (BP). It is always stressed by your surgeon to control these parameters before surgery only, for a successful outcome. But it becomes even more important to control this post-surgery. Diabetics tend to have slower wound healing which is inversely proportional to their blood sugar levels (the higher the sugar level, the slower the recovery). So more time it takes to heal, the more chances are there for it to get infected. Being a closed structure, an eye is a very susceptible medium for the growth of infections, especially when you put in more sugar for the microorganisms to grow! For people with hypertension and also on anti-coagulants (blood thinners), there are always chances of a bleed inside the eye (as the blood vessels of the eye are one of the most fragile in the body!). So keeping your body parameters is of utmost importance even after the surgery.
8 Timely Follow ups and reporting in case of emergency:
Last but the most important tip for a healthy recovery from cataract surgery is regular and timely follow-ups. Your doctor is calling you regularly for 2 reasons. 1st is to detect any abnormal activity on time and preventing before it becomes a risk to your eye. 2nd is to titrate your eye drops dosages depending on your recovery. Giving your doctor a timely follow-up is the simplest thing you do to retain that beautiful eyesight.
Also equally important is to understand the emergency situations/symptoms, if you get them. Generally, these are sudden redness, pain, swelling of the eye, diminution, or loss of eyesight. If you get any of the above symptoms, you should immediately call your doctor on the emergency number provided to you on your discharge card (if NOT, plz ask for an emergency number from your doctor before taking discharge). Dealing with any problem at an early stage definitely increases the chances of a good recovery. Never ignore any unusual symptom or any sudden change in the status quo of your operated eye.
Author Details: –
Dr. Neeraj Gupta
PHACO FELLOWSHIP(HVD.Pune)EYE SPECIALIST & PHACO SURGEON