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Cataract - Post Operative Care

Cataract is a clouding of the usually transparent lens of the eyes. It typically occurs after the age of 40 when the eyes become opaque and the lens harden. This is known as age-related cataract. The common symptoms of cataract are blurring of vision, formation of double images, glare, and changes in colour vision. The only treatment for cataract is surgery. There are two major surgical options - extracapsular surgery where the lens are replaced and phacoemulsification where the damaged lens are implanted with either foldable or non-foldable lens.

No matter what the manner of surgery, certain precautions must be taken after operation:

  1. Eyes must not be rubbed or squeezed.
  2. Medicines and eye drops must be used as prescribed by the doctor.
  3. Direct exposure to bright light must be avoided.
  4. Eyes must be protected with dark glasses during daytime.
  5. Water must not be splashed into the eyes directly. A soft tissue or towel should be used to clean the face.
  6. Eye make-up must be avoided for at least six weeks.
  7. Shaving and bathing may be resumed immediately after the surgery although one must be careful not to splash water into the eyes.
  8. Sex life can be resumed a week or two after surgery.
  9. Driving must be avoided until the eyes are completely healed.
  10. There are no specific dietary restrictions but one must consume a high-fibre diet.

The eye drops must be administered through the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands first.
  2. Tilt your head backwards and focus on the ceiling.
  3. Pull down your lower eyelid gently.
  4. Pour one drop of the eye drops and release your lower eyelid.
  5. Keep your eye closed for 30 seconds.
  6. Take care that the nozzle of the eye drops’ bottle does not touch the eye.
  7. If more than one kind of eye drop is to be used in the same eye, the second drop must be used after five minutes of the first drop.

The eye ointment must be applied following these steps:

  1. Follow steps 1, 2 and 3 as mentioned under administration of eye drops.
  2. Hold the tube parallel to the eye in order to avoid injury.
  3. Squeeze ½ cm of the ointment to form a line on the eye without the tube actually touching the eye.
  4. Release the lower lid and blink.
  5. Excess ointment must be removed by dabbing a soft tissue near the eye.

Some of the normal symptoms after cataract surgery are mild redness and watering of the eye, slight irritation, and slight glare. Some of the alarming symptoms are pain, reduction in vision, and light flashes. In case any of these symptoms occur or the eyes are injured, the surgeon must be contacted immediately.

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