How Should I Prepare for Cataract Surgery?

Cataract Surgeons

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S. It is outpatient surgery with an easy recovery. Even so, things will go more smoothly if you are properly prepared. Your cataract surgeon will give you specific preoperative and postoperative instructions, and you should follow them to the letter. In the meantime, here are some of the things you should do to prepare.

Talking to Your Surgeon Ahead of Time

About a week before your surgery, your surgeon will measure your eye to make sure your new intraocular lens (IOL) will fit properly. There are several things you should discuss with your cataract surgeon.

  • Tell your surgeon about all of the drugs and supplements you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins herbs and other supplements, recreational drugs, and any eyedrops you use.
  • Discuss your options for IOLs to make sure that you choose the best type for your needs and goals.
  • Get your preoperative and postoperative instructions, and make sure you understand them. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Your surgeon may instruct you to stop taking certain medications and to start using special eye drops a few days before surgery.

Planning for Your Surgery

Recovery from cataract surgery is pretty quick and easy, but you will still need some help. You will not be able to drive for about 24 hours after your procedure. You’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home on the day of surgery and to take you to your follow-up appointment the next day.

You also need to schedule at least one day off work. You need to avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activities for at least a week. Depending on what you do, you may need to schedule more than one day off.

The Day Before and Day of Cataract Surgery

Double check your pre-operative instructions the day before your surgery. The following are typical recommendations:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before your procedure is scheduled. If you normally have a drink with lunch, you’ll need to skip it the day before surgery.
  • Avoid any meds you have been instructed to stop taking.
  • Have a good dinner.
  • Do not eat anything for 12 hours before your surgery, unless your surgeon specifically tells you otherwise. That includes no breakfast the morning of surgery and no midnight snacks the night before.
  • Wash your hair the morning of your surgery.
  • Do no wear makeup on the day of surgery.
  • Think about closing the curtains or blinds in your home. Your eyes may be sensitive to the light for a short while after your surgery.

Learn more about your eyes and eye health by talking to your ophthalmologist. Search this directory for a list of ophthalmologists near you.