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How to Prepare for Cataract Surgery

If you’ve been told you have cataracts and have scheduled cataract surgery to remove your cloudy lens, you’re probably looking forward to having clearer vision soon. But while excited, many patients also feel a little bit of nervousness about what to expect, and how to prepare for the procedure. In order to help you feel completely comfortable as your surgery date gets closer, here are some tips for optimal preparation for cataract surgery.  


Set your Expectations

First, it’s important to remember that cataract surgery is extremely common and is generally a safe procedure. The risk of any complications increases if you have another eye disease or medical condition, so people who are mostly healthy with healthy eyes usually don’t experience any.

Second, understand how your recovery is likely to go. Many cataract surgery patients see vision improvement in just a few days, although your eyesight might be blurry at first as healing begins. And, you might feel itchiness or mild discomfort in your eyes for a day or two after the procedure, but as long as you don’t rub them, it should go away quickly. Also, expect colors to appear brighter in the days following the procedure, and for your doctor to give you an eye patch or protective shield to wear the day of the surgery. 

Third, expect to have several follow-up visits. You’ll likely see your doctor the day after your surgery, the week after and then a month after so they can ensure your eyes are healing properly.


Understand the Procedure

There are some different approaches to cataract surgery, but all procedures break up the cloudy lens, remove it and then insert an artificial lens (known as an intraocular lens or IOL). There is a traditional type of cataract surgery as well as a laser-assisted version, so your surgeon can discuss with you which option is best for your eyes and your situation. Both procedures remove the cataract, help you see more clearly and reduce the risk of blindness that cataracts pose.


Specific Preparations

In preparation for cataract surgery, you’ll likely need to follow a calendar similar to this:

  • 3 days prior: Patients need to stop taking blood thinners 3 days prior to the procedure unless cleared by the surgeon to continue taking them.
  • 7 hours prior: You’ll be asked to fast before your surgery, so make sure to follow your doctor’s orders on the timeframe for this.
  • Day of procedure: Patients receive all measurements the day of their cataract evaluation, unless otherwise directed by the doctor. An ultrasound is only used for extreme cases, however the measurements needed to pick the lens is very exacting as well.


On the morning of your procedure, dress casually and avoid wearing makeup or putting on any type of perfume or heavily-scented cosmetics. Make sure to know your arrival time, arrive early and have a ride home arranged. Make sure to understand your doctor’s instructions for recovery, as well, so you know what to do and what not to do after the procedure. At Horizon, we give our patients a bubble chart eye drop schedule to help them keep track of their post-operative drops. We suggest to hang the chart on their bathroom mirror or on the fridge in preparation for the many drops they will need to use post-op.

Cataract surgery is generally a safe and effective procedure that can fix the eye troubles cataracts cause, and even shield you from blindness. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us anytime.