Eye surgery is a serious matter, regardless of the cause or condition. The recovery period depends on the type of surgery you had. But whether it's cataract, retinal, corneal, or other types of surgery, you'll need to rest your eyes for them to fully heal.
Method 1 of 1: Protecting Your Eyes
Step 1. Keep water away from the newly operated eye
Washing your face is refreshing, but it can also spread infection and post-operative discomfort. Depending on the type of surgery, the amount of time it will take for your eyes to stay out of water will vary. For example, after LASIK surgery, you should wear waterproof goggles while showering for about a week. Talk to your doctor to understand more specific instructions.
- This does not always apply to all types of surgery, so check the condition with your doctor. For example, after retinal surgery, it may be possible for your eyes to get a little water after a day after surgery.
- Also be careful when you dry your face.
Step 2. Change your bathing routine
Instead of splashing water on your face, dampen a piece of cloth and wash your face with gentle pressure. You will find it difficult to shower after surgery, as you need to avoid getting water droplets in your eyes (except in the case of retinal surgery). This will make it easier to shower from the neck down until the doctor allows it. To wash your hair, tilt your head back so that only your hair is wet and not your face.
Step 3. Avoid using cosmetic products around the eyes
You should avoid applying any foreign products to the skin around the eye area until your doctor allows it. This includes not only cosmetics, but also oils and lotions that you use regularly on your face. Eye irritation from these products can escalate to an infection that can harm your eye health.
Of course, you can use lipstick or lip balm, but avoid using any form of cosmetics around your eyes
Step 4. Protect your eyes from direct sunlight
After surgery, the eye cannot adapt to light quickly. Bright light can cause extreme light sensitivity and pain. Because of this vulnerability, protect your eyes from anything that could hurt them.
Wear sunglasses when you go out during the day for the time specified by the surgeon. This is usually done for about three days to a week, but the duration varies depending on the type of surgery. Follow your doctor's instructions
Step 5. Wear eye protection while you sleep
In some cases, the surgeon will advise you to wear eye protection while you sleep for a few days to two weeks after surgery. These glasses will prevent you from accidentally rubbing or rubbing your eyes while sleeping.
Step 6. Avoid dust and fumes
For at least the first week after surgery, avoid potential eye infections. Wear protective eyewear if there is a risk of dust getting into your eyes. Smokers should stop smoking for a few weeks, but always wear protective eyewear and avoid smoke if possible.
Step 7. Don't rub your eyes
Your eyes may itch after surgery, but resist the temptation to rub them. Scratching the eye can cause small incisions and damage the surface of the eye. In addition, rubbing your eyes can also transfer bacteria from your hands to your eyes.
- The doctor may provide eye protection in the form of gauze patches or protective glasses. You can remove the shield when you apply the prescribed drops.
- Make sure that you wear eye protection for the time prescribed by the surgeon. While sleeping, be careful not to put pressure on your eyes and be sure to maintain the sleeping position your doctor recommends.
Step 8. Watch out for bacteria
Wash your hands whenever there is a risk of bacterial infection: in the open, in the bathroom, while traveling, etc. Don't be around people for the first few days after surgery. Stay indoors to reduce the chance of getting sick.
Step 9. Immediately report severe symptoms to the doctor
Reporting the symptoms experienced after surgery and undergoing follow-up treatment is the best way to avoid problems. If common postoperative symptoms persist, you should still report them to your doctor. If possible, record the time the symptoms occurred. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following severe symptoms:
- Cataract surgery: worsening pain, loss of vision, flashes of light, or dark spots in vision/floaters.
- LASIK surgery: pain that gets worse, or vision worsens within a few days after surgery.
- Retinal removal surgery: You will still experience flashes of light, but these symptoms should gradually disappear. If flashes of light or dark spots in your vision/floaters increase, or you lose vision, contact your doctor immediately.
- All other types of surgery: excessive pain, bleeding, or loss of vision.
Take care of your body condition.
To maintain good health after surgery, eat a balanced diet of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk, and raw juices. Stay hydrated to speed up the healing process. “The Institute of Medicine” suggests an intake of 13 glasses (3 liters) of water per day for men, and 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water per day for women.
Take vitamins during recovery. While not a substitute for a balanced diet, a multivitamin can help improve your diet. In particular, vitamin C can aid healing; vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin protect new tissue from free radicals that can damage the body; and vitamin A is important for vision. The following are FDA recommendations regarding daily vitamin intake levels:
- Vitamin C: 90 mg for men; 75 mg for women; with an additional 35 mg for smokers
- Vitamin E: 15 mg vitamin E from natural sources or 30 mg vitamin E from synthetic sources
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: 6 mg
Limit yourself to viewing electronic screens. Depending on the surgery and recovery required, the doctor will give you specific instructions regarding the time limit for viewing the electronic layer. For example, you should not look at any electronics for at least 24 hours after LASIK surgery. Talk to your doctor about restrictions on viewing these electronic screens, based on your own surgery and healing process.
Using Medicine Correctly
Use eye drops as directed. Your doctor will usually prescribe one or two types of eye drops: antibacterial and anti-inflammatory drops. Antibacterial drops protect the eye from infection, while anti-inflammatory drops prevent inflammation. If you have trouble taking care of your own eyes, ask a friend or family member to help.
Your doctor may prescribe drops that maintain the dilation of your eye, such as atropine, to help prevent injury to the pupil and relieve pain. The doctor will also prescribe eye drops to help reduce pressure in the eye, especially if gas or oil was injected into the eye during surgery
Use prescribed eye drops. Tilt your head back and focus your eyes up, and don't blink. Pull the lower eyelid down with your finger to open the lower eye bag. Close your eyes and don't rub them. Wait at least five minutes after applying the drops before applying the next drop.
Avoid touching your eyes with the tip of the eye drop bottle
Learn how to apply eye ointment. Using eye ointment is the same as using eye drops. Tilt your head back and carefully pull your lower eyelid down to reveal the pouch. Aim the tube of ointment under your eye and carefully press it until the ointment enters the eye bag. Close your eyes for about a minute for the ointment to spread over your eyes and work.
Clean your eyes as directed by your doctor. Your doctor will likely recommend that you clean the area around your eyes twice a day. For example, you have to boil water and dip a clean cloth in the water to sterilize it. Wash your hands to make sure they are clean, then carefully wipe the top and bottom of your eyelids and eyelashes with the cloth. Make sure the tip cleans the corner of your eye.
Wash the cleaning cloth in boiling water or choose a new, clean cloth for each use. The cloth must be sterile, because the eye that has just been operated on is susceptible to infection
Back to Normal Daily
Do light activity. You can do light movements when you go home after the surgery. However, avoid strenuous activities, such as weightlifting, jogging, cycling, or swimming, for as long as your doctor recommends. Lifting and straining can increase the pressure in the eye. This pressure can slow down the healing process and can even damage healing tissue.
Ask someone else to help when doing anything that's too strenuous. Your friends and family will be happy to assist you in the recovery process
It is best to avoid sexual activity. As with sports, don't rush into sexual activity. Any strenuous activity can cause increased pressure in the eye and slow the healing process. So, first ask your surgeon when you can return to these activities.
Do not rush to drive after surgery. Blurred vision after surgery will endanger your safety while driving. You should avoid driving until your vision is completely restored or your surgeon has allowed you to drive. It's best to start driving again once your eyes are able to focus and are no longer sensitive.
Make sure that you have someone who can pick you up after the surgery
Ask your doctor when you can start working again. Again, recovery time depends on the type of surgery and your recovery. Some types of surgery usually require up to six weeks to recover. On the other hand, cataract surgery has a shorter recovery period of just one week.
Keep yourself away from alcohol while recovering. You may crave a glass of wine to feel better, but alcohol can increase your body's tendency to retain fluids. If fluid builds up during this recovery period, it can also increase pressure in the eye. As a result, it will also slow down the healing process or increase injury to the eye.
Recovery from Other Eye Surgery
Rest for at least 24 hours after cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is the removal of the cloudy layer of the eye that usually forms due to aging. In this surgical procedure, the surgeon will insert an artificial lens that is implanted into the eye. After cataract surgery, patients often complain of a “foreign body” feeling in the eye. This usually occurs due to dry eye symptoms caused by stitches or cut nerves, or irritated surface/irregularity/dryness of the antiseptic agent used after surgery which dries the surface of the eye during surgery.
- Nerve recovery usually takes several months, during which time your eyes will feel uncomfortable.
- To combat these symptoms, your doctor will prescribe moisturizing drops and antibiotics to prevent infection.
Be patient after undergoing retinal removal surgery. Symptoms that caused you to have surgery at that time can take some recovery time after surgery, but these symptoms will go away on their own. Surgery is needed to prevent blindness. These symptoms include a gradual loss of vision, such as a "curtain" being lowered before your eyes; a flash of light in the corner of the eye; and the appearance of many dark spots in the range of view/ floaters.
- The recovery period from this surgery usually lasts one to eight weeks.
- You will feel some pain after the surgery, but this can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers or an ice pack.
- You may also experience floaters or flashes of light that will gradually disappear. If you experience new flashes of light that you haven't experienced before surgery, call your doctor right away.
- You may also see black or silver stripes in your gaze. This happens because there is a gas bubble that is "trapped" in the eye. The gas will be absorbed in your eyes over time, so these symptoms should go away as well.
Be prepared to undergo a lengthy recovery process from LASIK surgery. Although the procedure is quick, the recovery time is approximately 2-3 months. LASIK is corrective surgery for those who wear glasses or contact lenses. This surgery is performed with a laser that changes the curvature of the eye's lens to improve vision. After surgery, it is normal for your eyes to function abnormally as they normally would, or if you experience halos or blurred vision. You may also experience burning or itching, but it's important to refrain from touching your eyes. It's a good idea to tell your doctor if you can't stand the problem.
- Your doctor will usually schedule a follow-up examination 24-48 hours after surgery to test your vision development and check for infection. Tell your doctor if you have any pain or other side effects at that time, and make an appointment for your next check-up.
- You will gradually be able to return to your normal activities, but follow your doctor's advice. After two weeks, you can return to using cosmetics and lotions on your face. After four weeks, you can return to vigorous activity and exercise.
- Avoid rubbing your eyelids or soaking in hot water or pools for 1-2 months, or follow the advice of your ophthalmologist.
- Some postoperative symptoms that you should watch out for are redness, blurred vision, watery eyes, a feeling of a foreign body in the eye, or flashes of light. All these symptoms should disappear in no time. If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.
- Get plenty of rest. If your eyes feel strained or very tired, rest them by closing them or wearing an eye patch.
- If you experience excessive pain, bleeding, reduced vision, or see dark spots, consult your doctor immediately.
- If postoperative symptoms occur and do not go away, you should also consult a doctor. If possible, note when the symptoms started.
- Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Carotenoids. Institute of Medicine, 2000