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What Activities Should Be Avoided After Cataract Surgery

Are you about to undergo, or have recently had, cataract surgery? Then you must read this. Cataract surgery is a normal and basic operation that necessitates postoperative care to guarantee suitable recovery. During the course of the procedure, the opaque lens of the eye is taken out and substituted with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to get back one’s clear vision. Despite its high success rate and swift recuperation time, it is essential for individuals to take certain safety measures during their healing period.

Engaging in activities that may put strain on your eyes can drastically affect the recovery process after a cataract surgery. To ensure a smooth transition back to your normal routine, it’s essential to understand what activities should be avoided in the post-surgery period. Ignoring this advice could lead to irritation of the eyes and even impede your recovery. Fortunately, our blog post outlines some necessary do’s and don’ts for avoiding such inconveniences.

What are the Risks Associated with Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is generally considered safe and highly successful. It’s important to note, however, that there’s a chance of certain risks occurring, though the likelihood is small. These potential complications may be managed or treated effectively if they do arise. Here are a few examples:

  • Though not common, complications such as infection can occur after cataract surgery. If you notice increased pain, redness, swelling or discharge from your eye, it is important to seek medical care immediately.
  • Sometimes, blood loss might happen during or after surgery. If too much bleeding occurs, it can affect vision and more treatment might be needed.
  • The eye can become temporarily swollen and inflamed, leading to discomfort and blurry vision. With the right postoperative care, these effects usually diminish over time.
  • Retinal detachment is an uncommon side effect of cataract surgery. Warning signs that should not be ignored include the sudden appearance of flashes of light, spots appear to float in the field of vision or a veil-like shadow over sight. It is imperative to seek medical help without delay if any of these symptom’s manifest.
  • Cataract surgery occasionally may lead to the aggravation of glaucoma or be its cause. Glaucoma is an eye disorder where pressure within the eye increases and thus must be monitored carefully for appropriate treatment and management.
  • Secondary cataract, otherwise known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO), is a condition which can cause blurred vision following cataract surgery. This condition is the result of the back part of the lens capsule becoming cloudy over time. Thankfully, PCO can be quickly treated with a YAG laser capsulotomy, a laser procedure.
  • Occasionally, the artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implanted during cataract operation may slip out of place, necessitating extra medical care to move it back or substitute it.

It’s essential to consult your ophthalmologist or surgeon ahead of cataract surgery. They will examine your individual circumstances carefully; answer any questions you have and take measures to reduce the possibility of possible risks.

Activities to Avoid After Cataracts Surgery

After cataract surgery, it is essential to prevent any actions that could put pressure on the eyes. These contain rubbing the eyes, putting on sunglasses or defensive eyewear, and using eye cosmetics. Furthermore, restrain from strenuous physical activity and avoid contact with dust or wind for at least seven days afterwards.

1. Working Out/Exercising

After cataract surgery, it is best to take a week off from more strenuous activities such as jogging, tennis, or weightlifting. Walking can be done a few days after surgery; however, it is important to avoid any unnecessary strain on the eyes and muscles.

2. Driving

After cataract surgery, it is important to follow the directions of your doctor for a successful recovery. This may include not driving for 24 hours following the procedure, abstaining from washing your hair or taking showers for a couple of days, and avoiding swimming pools and hot tubs to ward off infection.

3. Swimming/Bathtub Use

After cataract surgery, it is recommended to forgo swimming, baths or showers for the initial week. You should also steer clear of hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms during this period. If unavoidable to get your face wet, it is wise to put on goggles or a shower cap to shield your eyes.

4. Rubbing/Touching Eyes

Once you have recovered from cataract surgery, take care to not rub or make contact with your eyes. This could lead to discomfort and injury. If it is necessary to touch them, make sure you clean your hands properly before doing so.

5. Strenuous physical activity

It is advised to steer clear of activities which require heavy lifting, vigorous exercise or extreme physical activity for a certain period after surgery. This is due to the fact that such activities can cause an increase in intraocular pressure and put stress on the eyes, thereby hindering the healing process.

6. Applying eye makeup

It is recommended to leave off wearing eye makeup for a certain period after surgery, since this carries a risk of introducing bacteria or irritating the eyes. Consult your doctor to get informed about when it’s suitable to start wearing eye cosmetics again.

7. Direct sunlight and bright lights

When starting to recover, you may find your eyes are more sensitive to bright light, like the sun. To guard them from glare and UV rays, wear sunglasses or other protective eyewear when outside.

Tips for Recovery After Cataract Surgery

Once you have undergone cataract surgery, it is important to take good care of your eyes and follow all instructions from your doctor. Every individual’s recovery may differ but here are a few recommendations that may help promote successful healing:

  1. Strictly heed your ophthalmologist or surgeon’s advice: Your doctor will give you step-by-step postoperative guidance. Make sure you observe their instructions precisely and dutifully adhere to the treatment plan, eye drops, and any additional recommendations they make.
  2. Follow your doctor’s instructions for using prescribed eye drops; these medications can ward off infection, alleviate inflammation, and hasten healing. For optimal results, be sure to consistently take the dose and technique as prescribed while making sure your hands are clean before administering them.
  3. Ensure your eyes stay safe – Wearing sunglasses or goggles when outdoors or taking part in activities exposing them to danger, dust or bright lights, can protect your eyes and help reduce the chances of infection during the healing process.
  4. It is recommended to abstain from vigorous physical activity during the initial recovery period. Things such as heavy lifting, rigorous exercise, bowing over, or anything that would cause your eyes to be strained or rubbed should be avoided.
  5. Give yourself the rest you need to recover: Make sure that sufficient rest is part of your daily routine. Limit your use of devices, reading for long periods, or any other activity that could tire out your eyes. Have regular breaks and give your eyes a chance to rest.

It is essential to heed the particular guidance and suggestions of your eye doctor or surgeon. Don’t be bashful about getting in touch with them if you have any worries or queries during the recuperation phase.


Once cataract surgery is complete, it’s important to understand what activities you should avoid in order to reduce the risk of complications. To begin, heavy lifting and contact sports can be detrimental to your recovery and should be avoided; even everyday activities like enjoying direct sunlight and swimming in a pool with chlorine may bring discomfort, but wearing sunglasses and staying out of chlorine-filled water can alleviate this problem. Lastly, when using machines or tools always remember to wear safety goggles for full protection.


1. What should be avoided following cataract surgery?

Generally, it is important to abstain from physical exertion and lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds during the first week of recovery from surgery. Additionally, one should also refrain from pressing or rubbing one’s eye and swimming or any contact with water for at least two weeks.

2. What is the expected duration of my hospitalization following the operation?

Most people only need a brief hospital stay after surgery. You may be able to go home on the same day or there might be the need for you to remain overnight for monitoring.

3. How often do I need to see my doctor after cataract surgery?

Your doctor will likely check in with you the day after surgery and then again at one week, one month, and three months post-procedure. After that, annual checkups should suffice unless there are any issues with your vision.

4. Is it possible to have more than one cataract removed in a single operation?

If multiple cataracts are present in both eyes, then it is possible to have them removed at the same time. However, it is usually advisable to wait until the first eye has fully healed before undergoing surgery for the second eye.

5. After undergoing cataract surgery, will a person still require corrective lens wear?

It is possible that, despite a successful cataract surgery, you may still require glasses or contact lenses for reading, or other close-up activities. Bear in mind that cataract surgery does not fix other vision conditions such as myopia or astigmatism. Your doctor will advise you on the most suitable kind of lens to ensure you have good vision.

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