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Resources for Independent Living with Vision Loss

American Foundation for the Blind® | Reader's Digest Partners for Sight

How Long Is the Recovery Time After Cataract Surgery?

By Tina D. Turner, M.D.

Some patients see very well the day after cataract surgery. Other patients see well a few days after surgery, and still others may need a full month to reach their maximum vision improvement.

The First Week after Surgery

During the first week after surgery, it generally is recommended that the patient keep his or her eye covered at all times, either with eyeglasses or an eye shield, to protect it from being bumped or rubbed. A small amount of pressure can easily open the incision, and protecting the eye prevents this.

Also, it is recommended that the patient refrain from (a) bending with the head below the waist, (b) lifting more than 10 pounds, and (c) straining (on the toilet, for example) to the point of holding one's breath. All of these activities increase the pressure inside the eye and can open the incision.

Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops are used in the weeks after cataract surgery to help prevent infection and control inflammation.

Read Paul and Dorothy Johnson's Personal Story, Told by Their Daughter

Paul and Dorothy Johnson, sitting on a deck, smiling

Read Paul and Dorothy Johnson's story, written by their adult daughter. Dorothy had cataracts and Paul had macular degeneration and diabetes. Learn how the Johnsons and their daughter made the decision to live together in their daughter's home. "Truly," says their daughter, "the five years I had with them at the end of their lives were a happy, rewarding time for all of us."

Learn more about helpful and easy adaptations for at-home daily living skills:

A Few Weeks after Surgery

A few weeks after the surgery, the patient is checked for eyeglasses and given a final prescription.

Artificial lenses last for a lifetime, and with newer types of lenses, it is very rare to experience a lens-associated complication. Occasionally, an artificial lens can dislocate (move out of its intended position) and result in blurred vision. This usually occurs as a result of trauma to the eye and the doctor should be contacted immediately.

Personal Stories

  • Paul and Dorothy Johnson
    Read Paul and Dorothy Johnson's story, written by their adult daughter. Dorothy had cataracts and Paul had macular degeneration and diabetes. Learn how the Johnsons and their daughter made the decision to live together.

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