Blog post by: Eye Physicians of Long Beach

If you’ve had or are about to have cataract surgery, it’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare for the procedure. Many cataract patients have questions regarding physical activity following cataract surgery, and how quickly they can expect to resume normal activities.

What guidelines exist regarding physical activity, and what can you expect once you have cataract surgery? Keep reading to learn more!

Your vision may be blurry or distorted after cataract surgery

Blurry vision

After having cataract surgery, you may not have perfect vision, at least not right away. Your vision may seem blurry, distorted, or unstable for a few days. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about! However, this is one of the biggest reasons why you should do your best to take it easy after having cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery may be one of the most common surgical procedures in the country, but it’s still just that: a surgery! The first day, the only thing you may want to do is rest and sleep once you get home. If your vision is unstable, you’ll see it start to improve in the next day or two, and then continue to get better and better. It’s a process but the journey to clear vision will make it more than worth it!

Avoid any strenuous activity

If you want to have the most successful cataract surgery recovery possible, you must avoid any strenuous activities. What’s strenuous for one person may not be as intense for someone, right? To be as safe as possible, stick to light aerobic exercises such as:

Man and woman on treadmill

● Walking
● Working out on the elliptical
● Jogging on the treadmill

The good news is that you can enjoy these activities during the first week of your recovery period. After the first week, you can start adding in more intense exercises, once your eye doctor has cleared you, of course.

Avoid swimming for at least a month after cataract surgery

Although you’ll be able to get back into much of your normal routine as you continue healing after cataract surgery, one thing you need to stay away from for a bit longer is water. If you love to swim, this is something that you shouldn’t do for at least a month after you have cataract surgery.

exercise class in swimming pool

This includes any and all bodies of water like the ocean, rivers, streams, lakes, and even hot tubs and pools! Natural bodies of water are perfect places for bacteria to live and thrive. If you get bacteria in your eye while it’s still healing, it could cause an infection, as your eye is more sensitive than normal after a procedure like cataract surgery. You’ll want to stay out of hot tubs and pools because of the chlorine, which can not only burn but it may cause serious damage to your eye as it continues healing.

Your eye doctor will let you know when you can safely get back in the water and go swimming again!

Don’t lift heavy objects for the first two weeks after surgery

older man lifting weights

Strenuous activity (like lifting something) can increase your eye pressure levels. Elevated intraocular pressure is one of the most frequent complications for patients that have cataract surgery. For most patients, these levels go down, but in the ones whose eye pressure levels stay high, they become more likely to develop glaucoma later on in life.

As there is no cure for glaucoma, it’s important to keep eye pressure levels as normal as possible. Though it may be quite tempting, don’t try to lift anything that’s over 10 pounds in the first week after cataract surgery. If you consider yourself a weight lifter, avoid this exercise for at least 5 weeks to be safe. Ask your eye doctor to confirm when it’s safe to lift weights again after cataract surgery.

What if I have cataracts in both eyes?

healthy lens vs cataracts

If you have cataracts in both eyes, the process is quite similar to what’s described above. The only difference is that you will have to follow your eye surgeon’s recovery guidelines twice.

Although you may think it makes sense to have both cataracts removed at the same time, this is not the safest solution. If you had both removed at the same time, it would make it almost impossible to see.

Instead, for patients that have cataracts in both eyes, what usually happens is the cataract that’s causing the most vision loss is removed first. Most cataract surgeons will wait about two months between removing the first cataract and the second cataract. This is to ensure that you have enough time to heal between procedures and that you have one eye that you can already see clearly out of.

Some patients may feel that having cataract surgery on both eyes is not necessary, but it is! If you want to be able to see clearly, having both cataracts removed is the only way to regain clear vision. Once you have your second cataract removed, you will have to limit your physical activity again. It may be frustrating to have to recover twice, but it’s beyond worth it when you can finally see the world with clarity!

Ask your eye doctor any questions you may have

woman asking eye doctor questions

If there are other activities that you enjoy, make sure to ask your eye doctor to see if they are allowed! It’s important to know what you can and cannot do so that you can properly prepare. This is the safest way to recover when you have cataract surgery.

If you have other questions about what cataract surgery is like, don’t forget to ask those questions as well! Your eye doctor is there to help you get through this procedure so you can see with crystal-clear precision once more!

Ready to have cataract surgery? Schedule a cataract screening at Eye Physicians of Long Beach in Long Beach, CA today! Don’t let cataracts hold you back from the life you love any more!