What Are The Restrictions After Cataract Surgery?
One of the amazing things about cataract surgery, and one of the main reasons why the recovery after cataract surgery is so quick, is that cataract surgery doesn't require any stitches. The tiny little incisions used to remove the cataract and to implant the new intra-ocular lens are self-sealing. Gradually what follows over time is that the incision further seals up with a slight amount of scarring. Until that happens, however, there are a few restrictions in place after cataract surgery to ensure that the eye heals exactly the way we want.
Restriction #1: Heavy Lifting / Activity / Bending Over
Pressure from the rest of the body affects the eye. And not just blood pressure; when pressure around the eye becomes high, pressure is placed onto the eye. If you've ever hung out in a gym, you will see weight-lifters that are struggling to lift weights. If they strain too much, you can see their face turn all red.
As they strain to lift those dumbbells, they may also be causing a pressure increase in their body through something called the Valsalva maneuver. This pressure increase can transmit to the eye. While in normal times, the Valsalva maneuver can cause small (and typically harmless) bleeds on the eye; after cataract surgery, that increase in pressure can potentially cause leaking from the cataract wound!
To help the wound heal up quickly and prevent any infections from developing, we want to prevent any leaks through the cataract wound. For this reason, strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoiding in the first week after cataract surgery to avoid increasing the pressure in the eye. This includes any activity which is going to cause you strain. This also includes bending over since blood rushing to the head can also cause the pressure within the eye to increase. Annoying? yes. But best to prevent any issues following surgery.
Restriction #2: Water / Swimming
Let's face it; most water isn't clean. Oceans and lakes are pretty obvious but even tap water carries a risk of infection. Until the cataract incision fully heals up, we want to make sure that dirty water doesn't get into the eye. And so, avoiding water is required for the first few weeks after cataract surgery. And when you do return to swimming, its best to use goggles to continue to protect your eyes until you get about one month out from the surgery.
But what about showers and washing the face? You don't have to go weeks without showering after cataract surgery (thankfully). When you are washing your hair in the shower, it's important to just be aware and close your eyes whenever water may splash into the eyes. Your eyelids will protect any splashes from getting into the eyes.
Two main restrictions. Not too bad..A little bit of prevention goes a long way to make sure everything after cataract surgery remains in top condition.
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