Written by Dr. James Lehmann on 03/7/18

Restrictions after Cataract Surgery, by James Lehmann, MD

Cataract surgery involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with a clear, artificial lens.  The surgery takes 20-30 minutes and is usually done under local anesthesia with IV sedation.  The majority of patients have very little pain or discomfort after the surgery, and often ask us when it is safe for them to exercise, drive, etc.

Here’s a list of our postoperative rules:

For one week after surgery, no lifting heavier than 30 lbs, no swimming, and no eye make up like mascara or eyeliner.  It is okay if the eye gets wet during a shower, just lightly pat it dry.  Regarding exercise, light aerobic activities (like walking or using an elliptical) are fine after surgery, but refrain from intense work outs for a week.

Regarding driving, this depends on each patient’s vision in the other eye and use of glasses, but generally, most patients can drive 1-2 days after surgery.  Please ask your surgeon about this question as it pertains to you.

Common misconceptions:

Many patients think that they can’t bend over after cataract surgery.  With modern cataract surgery, this is not the case.  Also, a patch is only needed full-time for the first day after surgery.  Lastly, you can’t get another cataract once you’ve had cataract surgery.