If all goes well with the cataract surgery, a patient can then expect some minor residual irritants. Slight discomfort and itching, for example, are perfectly normal side effects of the operation, and may also be accompanied by things like fluid discharge and sensitivity to bright lights.
These symptoms should disappear within a couple of days and can be alleviated, if necessary, through the use of prescribed eye drops. Generally speaking, patients of cataract surgery also wear a patch of some kind on the one eye, if applicable, or some sort of special shielding eyeglasses for a few days afterwards, if they have had both eyes operated on.
Common Sense Practices and PCO
Patients should refrain from applying pressure on their eye(s) as well as rubbing it. Less obvious perhaps is the fact that bending down to pick up things can also put pressure on the eyes, and this should be avoided. Although full healing from cataract surgery can take as long as eight weeks, patients should expect to return to their normal routines within about a week or so.
Occasionally, cataract surgery patients encounter a post-op condition known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO).Also known as a “secondary cataract,” this condition involves the supportive back of the lens capsule in a person’s eye(s) becoming cloudy. The very minor complication is treated by means of a five-minute procedure, yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy. A small laser punctures a microscopic hole in the capsule so that light can shine through. After this correction is performed, patients are usually monitored in the doctor’s office for the next hour, to ensure that pressure on the eye(s) does not increase.
Sometimes, though rare, cataract surgery post-op patients must deal with infection, bleeding, loss of vision, double vision, inflammation, and a variance in eye pressure. Each one of these can usually be quickly remedied with a doctor’s visit. The “after-cataract” mentioned above can be a little more troublesome, only because it can develop suddenly months or even years after the original surgery.
National Eye Institute – Facts About Cataracts, Retrieved June 9, 2011 from http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp#4g
Mayo Clinic – Cataract Surgery Results, Retrieved June 2, 2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cataract-surgery/MY00164/DSECTION=results