Surgery – Dos and don’ts after cataract surgery

Cataract surgery is a relatively short and simple procedure; the operation itself usually only taking around 10 minutes.

You’ll generally be able to go home within an hour or so after having cataract surgery.

You are fit to drive as soon as your vision meets the DVLA driving standards(1). This can be within 48 hours but can be delayed until your eyes are measured for your new glasses at 4 weeks after surgery. Before resuming driving, you’ll need to be fully recovered from your surgical procedure.

During the first 4 – 6 weeks, following these dos and don’ts after cataract surgery will help to reduce your recovery time.

For the first few weeks after surgery, do:

  • Remember to use the eye drops you’ll have been provided with by the hospital that carried out the procedure.
  • Ensure that you keep your physical exertions to a minimum for at least two weeks after surgery.
  • Wear your eye-shield for the rest of the day of surgery and that night.
  • Bath and shower as usual, but keep your eyes closed when washing your face and remember not to rub your eye.
  • Leave 24 hours before washing your hair and use a mild or baby shampoo.
  • Read, watch TV and use a computer as normal.
  • Use your sunglasses outdoors.
  • It’s OK to look after children immediately following cataract surgery, unless you were given a sedative before surgery, in which case you shouldn’t look after children alone for at least 24 hours.

Also, for the first few weeks after surgery, don’t:

  • Rub your eye.
  • Fly without first getting advice from your doctor or optician, although it’s usually OK to fly one week after your surgery.
  • Drive for at least 48 hours following your cataract surgery – your eyesight must meet the legal driving requirement: being able to read a number plate from 20 metres, with glasses or contact lenses if needed.
  • Get soap or shampoo in your eye.
  • Go swimming or use hot tubs.
  • Bend over and put unnecessary pressure on your eye, if you can help it.
  • Wear any eye-makeup for at least 4 weeks.
  • Expose your eye to dust, wind or other things that may irritate it.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly carried out procedures across the world and most people have excellent outcomes and no complications whatsoever. By following these simple dos and don’ts after cataract surgery, plus any specific advice you receive from your surgeon, nurse or clinician, you’ll ensure that you recover as quickly as possible.



  1. GOV UK: Driving eyesight rules


Other related questions

  • Glasses – Why do I need glasses after cataract surgery?

  • Surgery – What does an eye look like after cataract surgery?

  • Surgery – How is a cataract operation performed?

  • Near-sighted – Does cataract surgery correct near-sightedness?

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