Keeping Eyes Safe During Haircut After Cataract Surgery

Keeping Eyes Safe During Haircut After Cataract Surgery

There are some things which definitely want to be avoided after cataract surgery (such as bending over, strenuous activity, swimming), there are other things which pose little issue. Haircuts fall into the latter category.

Fortunately, there aren't major eye risks to getting a haircut; even right after cataract surgery. As soon as the following day after surgery, you can safely attend your hair appointment. Be sure to let your hair stylist know that you recently had cataract surgery and to take extra special care to avoid the eyes.

But there ARE a few things to note; so here is what to pay attention to as you visit your hair salon.


Probably the biggest risk to your eyes when you go to the hair salon is getting some chemicals in the eye.

Although its important to avoid getting chemicals in the eye at any time, it is more important right after cataract surgery. This is because after cataract surgery, you will already have some extra inflammation on the surface of the eye.

The eye after cataract surgery

There are multiple things that add extra irritation and inflammation during cataract surgery.

  • Before cataract surgery, the eyes are dilated with eye drops. Any eye drops containing preservatives (which are most of them) will cause a small amount of extra irritation to the eye.
  • During cataract surgery, betadine antiseptic is used to clean the eye and skin surrounding the eye of any bacteria. In addition to being toxic to bacteria, betadine will have some toxicity to the cornea and eye.
  • Also during the procedure, the eye can dry out a little bit more causing some dry eye damage and increasing the amount of inflammation on the surface of the eye.
  • Finally, after the procedure is done, you will more than likely be on eye drops for the next month. These eye drops serve all sorts of benefits such as controlling inflammation and preventing infection, but these eye drops and preservatives again will cause a small amount of irritation to the eye.

In short, the eye will be more inflamed, dry and irritated for a short while after cataract surgery. For many, this can cause the eye to be slightly more red and / or cause an aching or throbbing pain around the eyes. Using preservative free artificial tears after cataract surgery is helpful to speed up the recovery from this extra inflammation and dry eye.

But it is also important to AVOID things which can inflame and irritate the eyes further: such as chemicals.

Where do you encounter chemicals at the hair salon?

Having your hair washed

Getting shampoo in the eye stings. You don't need to have cataract surgery to experience the burn from shampoo in the eyes. Shampoo contains detergents and soaps and chemicals to make it foam up; all of which can irritate the eyes and delay your recovery.

But in addition to the shampoo, it is also important to avoid getting water in the eye after cataract surgery. Water increases the risk of getting bacteria in the eye and increases the risk of infection.

When the hair stylist washes your hair, be sure it is done while your head is tilted back to allow all the water and shampoo to wash off of your hair away from your eyes and into the sink.

Check out Tips For Showering And Washing Hair After Cataract Surgery for good techniques for washing your hair at home after your haircut.

Having your hair dyed

Hair dyes contain all sorts of different ingredients. As a general rule, these ingredients are very bad for the eyes, can cause blindness and should be kept away from the eyes at all costs. This means wearing gloves and not touching the eyes if applying yourself. This means avoiding the eyebrows or eyelashes (there is one FDA approved ingredient for eyebrows and eyelashes, silver nitrate, but best still avoided directly after cataract surgery).

But if you are going to an experienced hair salon, your stylist will already know all this and should take all the necessary precautions to avoid getting hair dye in or around the eyes.


Another common chemical encountered in a hair salon is hairspray.

Hairspray consists of a bunch of polymers that bind the hair together. These polymers are stored in a solution until the hairspray sprays the polymers all over the hair and the solution dries up.

The typical solution for hairspray is alcohol-based because it dries very quickly.

Getting hairspray in the eyes can cause extra irritation. Alcohol is toxic to the eyes and will increase the amount of inflammation.

Now, unless you are facing the hairspray can, you are unlikely to get a significant amount in the eyes. But the solution is pretty simple. Just close your eyes when your hair is being treated with hairspray.

Two More Situations To Avoid

Other than chemicals, there are just a few other ways the eyes can become more irritated during your hair appointment. And again, these are relatively easy to avoid.

  • Blow dryer. Just as how the hot dry air from a blow dryer dries your hair out, it can also dry the eyes out more. When your hair is being dried, close your eyes to keep the hot dry air out of your eyes.
  • Hair clippings. When the hair stylist is cutting hair near your eyes, close your eyes to prevent any of the hair clippings from getting within the eyes. Hair in the eye can be very irritating. If you do get some hair in the eye, wash out using preservative free artificial tears or sterile eye wash.


Getting a haircut after cataract surgery carries little risk to the eyes and there are no issues having your hair appointment even the next day after your cataracts are removed. The important thing is to avoid getting chemicals, hot air or hair clippings in the eye. Most of which can be avoided by keeping your eyes closed and letting your hair stylist know that you just had cataract surgery.

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