Discharge Instructions for Cataract Surgery

A surgeon removed the cloudy lens in your eye and replaced it with a clear man-made lens. Be sure to have an adult family member or friend drive you home after surgery. Here’s what you can expect following surgery and tips for a healthy recovery.

What to expect

It is normal to have the following:

  • Bruised or bloodshot eye for 7 days

  • Itching and mild discomfort for several days

  • Some fluid discharge

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Scratchy, sandlike feeling in the eye for 2 weeks

  • Feeling tired, especially during the first 24 hours

Activity level

  • Do not drive for 2 days or as instructed by your eye care provider.

  • Do not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours.

  • Avoid bending at the waist to pick up objects or lifting anything heavy for 2 days.

  • Relax for the first 24 hours after surgery. Watching TV and reading are OK and won’t harm your eye.

Eye protection

  • Do not rub or press on your eye.

  • Sleep on your back or on your unoperated side for 2 nights.

  • If instructed, wear a bandage over your eye for 2 days and 2 nights.

  • If instructed, wear a shield to protect your eye for 2 days and 2 nights.

Using eye drops

You may be given special eye drops or ointment. Here is one way to use eye drops:

  • Tilt your head back.

  • Pull your bottom eyelid down.

  • Squeeze one drop into your eye. Do not touch your eye with the bottle tip.

  • Close your eyes for a few seconds.

  • If you need more than one drop, wait at least 5 minutes before adding the next one.

Call your eye care provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Bleeding or discharge from the eye

  • Sudden worsening of your vision.

  • Pain that does not improve with the pain medicine that is recommended for you.

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Chills or fever over 100.4°F (39.1°C)