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Before and After Cataract Surgery

Vision is a precious commodity. God gave us one pair of eyes and we need to take good care of them since we cannot navigate without them.

When our vision is blurry, the lens in our eyes get cloudy; hence, cataracts begin to form and need to be removed at some point. 

While cataracts are more dominant in older people or as I prefer to say “aging teenagers”, people in their 40’s and 50’s also have cataract surgery.

I recently had cataract surgery in both eyes. My vision was blurry. I also had a damaged optic nerve, plus borderline glaucoma since my eye pressure was 28 and the accepted pressure is 16 or lower.

Before Cataract Surgery
You will be given an eye exam by your ophthalmologist and measured for lens.

You will be given a date for the surgery and three weeks prior to the cataract surgery, the ophthalmologist or, as I (old school) prefer to say eye-doctor sends Presurgical paperwork to your physician for specific blood work. An EKG is also required.

You will receive a call from the hospital indicating the time and location of the surgery. Leave all jewelry at home, including dentures. No eating or drinking after midnight. I am certain you are familiar with this drill.

The Day of the Surgery – Left Eye
Arrive at least 30 minutes ahead since you need to be admitted as an outpatient. Bring Health Insurance Card and I.D. (Driver’s License is fine).

Bring someone with you since you will not be able to drive for 24 hours.

Once you are admitted and directed to the surgical area, you will be greeted by a team of RN’s (Registered Nurses) where you will be given a bag for your clothes and have you change into a dressing gown and get into bed. You will be given a few rounds of eye drops to numb the eye as well an eye antibiotic.

Once the drops have taken effect or, as we say, ‘kicked-in', you will be taken to the surgical holding area where you will be given an IV which includes anesthesia plus a very mild sedative to calm you. When ready, you will be transported into the operation room.

You are awake throughout the procedure. Not to worry, your eye is numb and you do not feel anything, I promise.

The entire process takes about 15 minutes and the eye-doctor is talking to you and describing the removal of the old lens and insertion of the new lens step-by-step.

A transparent shield will be taped over the eye to keep it free from dust and water. You must keep the shield on for the entire day and overnight then dispose of it the following morning. I removed the tape from the top to administer eye-drops, then re-taped it. You can also remove the tape completed and add fresh tape after administering the eye-drops.  

After surgery you are transported back to the Recovery Area to rest. You will be offered a cup of coffee and some cookies.

The RN will sit with you and review the sample eye-medications to be taken when you get home. You will have a kit which includes the eye-drops, extra tape, plus Discharge Instructions which includes the do’s and don’ts for post-surgery. 

Above - the day of cataract surgery instructions. What to do when you arrive home. 

Above - How to apply eye-drops for each day of the week post cataract surgery. 

Depending on the eye-doctor; some doctors see their patient in their office a few hours post-surgery, just to check the results. I was asked to see my eye-doctor the next day.

For the Ladies
If you are like me, I go nowhere without makeup. Unfortunately, while the eye is healing, absolutely no makeup for one week, albeit the instructions do say light makeup after 48 hours – better safe than sorry. 

Feel free to apply eye makeup between surgeries. One week after the left eye is healing and before the right eye has surgery.  

Most importantly, ,when you do resume your eye makeup routine, purchase fresh eyeshadow and brushes. Who woulda thunk, right? The eye is vulnerable to bacteria and dirt so you want to begin fresh with everything.

I purchased my favorite eye shadow and new brushes weeks before I had the surgery.

Three weeks Later – Right Eye
Okay, Round Two –
The same drill applies. Except this time in the Operating Room, your left eye will be covered so that it is not exposed to the light.

After surgery, your right eye will have a shield placed over it for the day and overnight. You will start eye-drops for that eye as well. The entire eye-drop regiment lasts for two months; four weeks per eye.

You now have new lens or medically described as implants. Everything looks sharper and colors look brighter.

Depending on your situation, you may or may not require prescription glasses for reading, driving, etc.  

Your eyes are the windows of your soul. Take care of them and God bless!


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