Cataract surgery and after care

General Questions Related to Cataract surgery

You will be in the hospital for approximately 4 to 5 hours altogether. The surgery itself takes 25 to 30 minutes.

No. A gown will be provided for your time in theatre. Otherwise, dress comfortably.

Yes, you need to fast for 6 hours before your appointment time.  If your appointment time is before 12.00 Midday you need to fast from 12.00 Midnight.   This is in case you need a general anaesthetic. If you take any important medication, take it with a small sip of water.  We do not want to interfere with important medications for your blood pressure, diabetes or other health conditions.

Yes, you do not need to stop any blood thinners that you take every day

Topical anaesthetic:

Most people are awake but sedated for the surgery. You will be given drops to numb the eye and  sedation into a vein in your hand or arm to help with any anxiety you have. During the operation an eyelid speculum will also be used to keep the eye open. You will see a bright light that changes colour and you will feel cool water on your eye.

If you are nervous on the day and think you want a general anaesthetic, you can discuss this with your eye doctor or optometrist prior to surgery. Some people find the theatre light to be very bright and are unable to tolerate it. If this is the case, your eye doctor could decide to give you a general anaesthetic.

General anaesthetic:

If you decide you do not want to be aware of anything happening during the surgery will be need to have a general anaesthetic. This does not mean that you will have to stay overnight in the hospital but you may be in the hospital for an extra hour or so.

You will need someone to bring you and collect you from the hospital. The day ward nursing staff will phone that person for you when you are nearly ready to go. It is nice to have somebody to take you home and help you settle in.

Post-operative instructions for cataract surgery


Keep the eye shield on the eye for the first day then only at night-time for the first week. If you have a double pad and a shield, remove the pad at 6pm that evening but keep the shield on that night and then only at night for the first week.


  • You will be given a prescription for the post-operative steroid drops and are asked to put a drop in at 6pm and 10pm on the evening of surgery. These drops are usually used four times a day for the first week and then reduced down by one drop per day each week for the next three weeks (i.e. 4 drops a day first week, 3 drops a day second week, 2 drops a day third week, 1 drop a day fourth week). The Prescription also includes an antibiotic drop which is usually used four times a day for one week only
  • You can experience blurred vision or a gritty sensation in the eye for the first few days after surgery.


  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning the eye or applying your eye drops.
  2. If necessary, clean around the eye with previously boiled water that has been allowed to cool.
  3. Apply all drops and /or ointments as prescribed by Mark.
  4. Wear dark glasses if you feel your eyes are sensitive to light
  5. Wear the shield continuously if you feel you are rubbing your eye.
  6. Take life easy, taking particular care going up and down stairs
  7. Attend your post operative clinic appointment.
  8. Call if you have any problems or pain

Do not

  1. Get water into your eye for the first day.
  2. Rub the eye under any circumstances.
  3. Stoop, bend or lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for one week
  4. Undertake work or sports until advised by your eye doctor.

A day ward nurse will give you your post-operative instructions on the day of surgery. It is important to try to avoid any bending, stooping or heavy lifting for 10 to 14 days after surgery. Anything that will raise the pressure in your head should be avoided. Golf or cycling should be avoided for 2 weeks and swimming should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks (due to risk of infection). The post-operative review is generally 2 to 4 weeks after surgery, by that stage we normally give you the all-clear to return to most normal activities.

You should not drive on the day of your surgery, or the next day. But the eye should be settled by the second day following surgery. You should only return to driving if you are comfortable

The eye should be fully settled before you return to your optometrist to update your glasses. We usually recommend waiting until 2 weeks after you have stopped your drops.

If one eye only has been done, you can ask your optometrist/optician to remove the lens from the eye that has been done and replace it with a clear lens, until both eyes have been done