Using Eye Drops After Cataract Surgery (And Why It’s Important)

14 December 2023

By Author: Amir Hamid

Eye drops after cataract surgery are used to aid in the postoperative healing process and prevent any potential complications. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens. The treatment can cause inflammation, and eye drops for cataracts typically include anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics.

At Optegra, we are true cataract surgery specialists, performing over 40,000 procedures each year from one of our dedicated eye hospitals and clinics.


The Importance of Using Eye Drops After Cataract Surgery

The use of eye drops after cataract surgery is crucial for the success of the procedure and the patient’s overall eye health during the recovery period. The postoperative eye drops serve several purposes, primarily to minimise inflammation and prevent infections. Inflammation is a natural response to the surgery, and eye drops are a defence against this.


What Type of Eyedrops Are Prescribed?

After cataract surgery, various types of eye drops are typically prescribed to aid in the healing process and minimise potential complications.

Antibiotic eye drops are commonly prescribed to prevent infection and ensure a sterile environment following the surgical procedure. These drops help protect the eye from bacterial contamination, reducing the risk of postoperative infections. Anti-inflammatory eye drops, often containing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids, are used to manage inflammation and swelling that can occur as a natural response to surgery. By reducing inflammation, these eye drops contribute to patient comfort and facilitate a smoother recovery process.

Lubricating eye drops may also be recommended to alleviate dryness and discomfort, which can be exacerbated by the surgical procedure or pre-existing dry eye conditions. The combination of these eye drops addresses different aspects of the healing process, ensuring proper postoperative care and optimising the chances of a successful outcome after cataract surgery.


How To Put Eye Drops In After Cataract Surgery

Administering eye drops after cataract surgery requires careful attention and hygiene to ensure a smooth healing process and minimise the risk of infection or complications.

Before applying the eye drops, it’s crucial to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry completelyto maintain cleanliness. The bottle tip should not touch the eye or any other surfaces to prevent contamination.

Patients often lie down or tilt their head back, looking upward, to create a stable platform for the eye drops. With one hand, they gently pull down the lower eyelid, creating a pocket to receive the drops. Holding the eye drop bottle with the other hand, aim for the centre of the pocket without touching the eyelashes, eyelids, or surrounding areas. After instilling the prescribed number of drops, patients are advised to keep their eyes closed for a brief moment to allow the solution to spread evenly across the eye’s surface.

Woman applies eye drops to mans eye

How Long Do You Use Eyedrops After Cataract Surgery?

The duration of using eye drops after cataract surgery can vary based on individual factors and the surgeon’s specific instructions. Typically, patients are prescribed a regimen of eye drops to be used for several weeks following the surgery.

Commonly, antibiotic eye drops are prescribed for the initial postoperative period to prevent infection, while anti-inflammatory eye drops, including steroids, may be used to manage inflammation during the early stages of recovery. Lubricating eye drops may also be recommended to address dryness and promote overall comfort.

The specific timeline for using eye drops will be outlined by the surgeon during postoperative appointments. It’s essential for patients to follow the prescribed schedule and complete the entire course of medication to support proper healing and reduce the risk of complications. Some patients may need eye drops for a few weeks, while others may require them for a more extended period, depending on individual healing patterns and any existing eye health conditions.


Are There Any Side Effects in Using Eyedrops After Surgery?

While eyedrops prescribed after cataract surgery play an important role in promoting healing and preventing complications, it’s essential to be aware of the potential side effects associated with their use. Antibiotic eye drops may cause temporary blurred vision or mild irritation in some individuals, but these effects usually subside quickly.

Anti-inflammatory eye drops, including steroids, may have side effects such as increased intraocular pressure, elevated eye pressure, or delayed wound healing, particularly if used for an extended period of time. However, these risks are generally considered minimal under proper medical supervision.


What Happens If You Don’t Use Eye Drops After Cataract Surgery?

Prescribed eye drops can help in the overall cataract surgery recovery process. Not using them after treatment can lead to several potential complications and hinder the optimal healing process. The primary purpose of postoperative eye drops is to prevent infections, manage inflammation, and promote overall eye health. If these medications are neglected, the risk of infection increases significantly, as the eye is vulnerable during the immediate post-surgery period. Infections can lead to vision loss, discomfort, and redness.

Furthermore, the absence of anti-inflammatory eye drops, including steroids, may result in prolonged inflammation, causing discomfort, pain, and delayed recovery. Inflammation can also lead to complications, such as increased intraocular pressure. Additionally, not using lubricating eye drops may contribute to dryness and discomfort, affecting the quality of vision and overall eye comfort.


You’re in Safe Hands: Meet Our Cataract Surgeons

Our cataract surgeons are renowned experts in their field. At Optegra, we carry out tens of thousands of successful cataract surgeries each year, with 99.6% of cases uncomplicated. Learn more about additional cataract recovery tips on our blog.


What Next? Contact us to discuss your cataract removal requirements

If you suspect you may be suffering from cataracts or are searching for cataract surgery, set up your free virtual consultation with one of our experts, and we can guide you further.

Amir Hamid Headshot

By Author: Amir Hamid

Mr. Amir Hamid is a Clinical Lead for Vision Correction and an expert refractive surgeon, based in London.

Medically Reviewed Date: 14th December 2023


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