What Is Recovery Like After Cataract Surgery?

Middle-aged couple enjoying life after cataract surgery.

June is Cataract Awareness Month, which I realize may not be as exciting for you as it is for me and my fellow ophthalmologists. Here in Charleston, SC, I specialize in cataract surgery, so I’d like to take the opportunity to address some of the questions and concerns that many patients have surrounding the procedure, including pain, sensitivity, and safety.

Many of my patients look forward to the results of their procedure, but are concerned with the recovery process. They want to know, “What is the recovery really like?” Fortunately, cataract surgery recovery is a simple process and most patients experience little to no pain, with manageable care for their eyes following surgery. You’ll rest easy knowing that these concerns are manageable with the support from my staff and adherence to the recovery guidelines, laid out in this Procedure Information Guide.


You may feel some slight discomfort a few days following your surgery. However, this can be managed with over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol. Additionally, you may notice some redness on your eye, change in pupil size, and blurred vision for those first few days after surgery. However, none of those symptoms should interfere with your daily activities or cause you additional discomfort. They’re all part of a normal healing process.


Like any part of your body that receives treatment, your eye will need time to heal after the procedure. Keeping the area around your eye clean using a wet washcloth is important, and you should avoid wearing makeup to prevent any particles from causing irritation. You may still take normal showers, but don’t let soap or shampoo near your treated eye. You’ll also want to avoid swimming in pools and lakes for a week or so after surgery, to prevent dirty water from entering your eye. Despite these limitations, you should not experience any sensitivity to light or other elements, so enjoy your regular routine, with some slight modifications as necessary.


For the first week after your procedure, make sure to wear your prescription eyeglasses and avoid contacts. Avoid touching or rubbing your eye for any reason, and wear the protective eye shield we’ll provide you with when you sleep. You should also take extra care to avoid strenuous activities or lifting heavy objects for a week following your procedure. If you care for pets or children, you may want to consider finding alternate care for them during the first few days after your procedure. It’s best to be cautious and avoid the risk of them touching or irritating your eye.

The cataract surgery process can be a pleasant experience, as I’ve described in a previous blog post. You can learn more about the process on my website. Do you have more questions about cataract surgery you’d like answered? Share them in the comment section below!

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Kerry Solomon, MD

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Our renowned ophthalmologist serves Charleston, and the entire state of South Carolina. Dr. Kerry Solomon's ophthalmology practice is located in Mt. Pleasant, with an additional location in West Ashley. Our practice specializes in refractive lens exchange, PRK, LASIK, laser cataract surgery with multifocal IOLs and toric lenses, and other eye surgery procedures. Dr. Solomon's patients come to Charleston from areas such as Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Goose Creek, Johns Island, and Kiawah Island, SC; Asheville, NC; and Savannah, GA.

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