A lot of us lead busy lives, and needing to pause our usual activities for an extended cataract surgery recovery period isn’t always appealing. However, there are steps you can take to minimise how long you need off after a cataract surgery procedure. Find out the typical answers on how long does it take to recover from cataract surgery, and what you can do to make the cataract surgery post-operative period as uneventful as possible. 


How Long Does It Take to Recover from Cataract Surgery?

Most people will have completed their cataract surgery recovery by 4 to 6 weeks. However, it’s important to note that everybody’s healing response is different, and you may take a little more or less time before you feel your sight is back to normal. 

After cataract surgery, your vision may feel sharp as soon as several hours after the operation. If you don’t find your sight to be that clear so quickly, give it a week or two. As you recover from the procedure, the body’s natural healing process in those early weeks of cataract surgery recovery can cause your sight to fluctuate and blur. 

Cataract surgery is also known to induce a degree of dry eye due to disruption of the corneal nerves during the procedure. Dryness can impact your vision, but will often resolve within a couple of weeks. For some people, the sensation of dryness can persist for a few months.

 Immediately after your cataract surgery operation, you can expect the eye to feel slightly gritty and sore. The whites, or sclera, will probably also be red and bloodshot, but all of this should gradually resolve within a week or two. 

how long does it take to fully recover from cataract surgery melbourneFor many, the concern behind the question of how long does it take to recover from cataract surgery relates to returning to work.

This largely depends on the nature of your occupation.

If your job just requires you to sit behind a desk in an office or at home, you’re likely to be able to return to work within a couple of days after your cataract surgery if you feel up to it.

However, if your occupation exposes you to environments that pose a risk to your eye during the cataract surgery recovery period, your ophthalmologist will advise you to take some extra days off work. It’s important to avoid dirt, dust, debris, or other contaminants to your eyes, and any risk of facial trauma during this time. Examples of high-risk jobs include the police force, construction work, cleaning, swimming pool lifeguard, or professional athlete in a contact sport. 


Tips for Cataract Surgery Recovery

Your ophthalmologist is going to give you some instructions to follow during your cataract surgery post-operative period. The purpose of these guidelines is to give your eye and vision the best opportunity to heal and recover without complications. Always follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions, and if anything is unclear, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Here are some general tips on optimising your recovery from cataract surgery. 

Take a break. 

Allow your body to direct its energy into recovering after a surgical procedure. If you can delegate your routine household chores to someone else, including cleaning and cooking, this would be ideal. You always want to avoid lifting any heavy objects during this time, which includes weights at the gym or even overloaded shopping bags. 

Use your eye drops. 

Depending on your cataract surgeon and how your operation went, you may be prescribed up to 3 different medicated eyedrops. The frequency and duration of how long you need to use these drops can vary, so it may be helpful to use some sort of tracker to ensure you’re using each one properly as prescribed. If your eye feels normal sooner than the prescribed duration of using the drops, keep using them as directed. Stopping your medications too early can cause any residual inflammation to flare up, or for your eye to become exposed to infection before it’s fully healed. 

Protect your eye.

Outside the risks that come from your work environment, there are also other precautions you may need to take around the home or during leisure activities. Try to avoid any lotions or soaps around your sensitive eye area for the first week or so, or any aerosols near your face. If you enjoy any activities that may pose a risk of contamination, these may also need to be put on hold until your ophthalmologist gives you the all-clear. These activities can include swimming, using the sauna or spa, gardening during a windy day, or entering very dusty areas of the house, such as the basement or attic. Activities that come with a risk of facial trauma like contact sports should also be avoided in the days and weeks immediately after your cataract surgery. 

Be vigilant.

Although some discomfort and blur are to be expected immediately after cataract surgery, you should anticipate these symptoms to gradually improve. If you ever feel your sight is deteriorating, or your eye is becoming more red or painful, contact your ophthalmologist immediately. Any other visual symptoms such as seeing flashing lights or floating specks, or a sudden loss of part of your sight, should also not be ignored. 


Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.



Recovery, cataract surgery. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cataract-surgery/recovery/

8 tips to reduce cataract surgery recovery time. https://www.allaboutvision.com/en-au/conditions/cataract-surgery-recovery/

What is Cataract Surgery and How Does It Work?
what cataract surger melbourne

Cataracts are a normal, common part of ageing. Because Read more
What to Expect After Cataract Surgery? Discover How The Surgery Works
what to expect after cataract surgery melbourne

The thought of any surgical procedure, including cataract surgery, Read more