My Experience With Cataract Eye Surgery and Recovery

Updated on July 7, 2018
ethel smith profile image

As regular readers will know, I underwent cataract surgery at a fairly young age. This article is based on my experience.

My Experience With Cataract Surgery and Recovery
My Experience With Cataract Surgery and Recovery | Source

On March 4, 2010, I underwent cataract surgery for my left eye. As I recovered from the procedure in the following weeks, I wanted to detail my experience—discussing things that went wrong and things that went right.

Hopefully, others who are about to undergo the same procedure can be reassured by my experience with cataract surgery. As you will see, there is really nothing to fear about this surgery.

Preparing for the Surgery

I arrived at the hospital for my 1 PM appointment. After being admitted by the receptionist, I made my way to the day surgery unit.

I had my blood pressure and demographics checked as I was checked in. I also received a wristband with my name on it and was given two eye drops in my left eye. Both eyes are never operated on at once so that, in the worst-case scenario, only one eye would lose its sight.

After the check-in procedures, I was taken to meet with my consultant. I had every faith in this doctor. She did some routine checks and made sure the eye to be operated on was clearly marked. These preparatory procedures have been tightened recently in order to prevent errors.

When I got back to the waiting room, I received two more eye drops meant to dilate the pupils for the surgery. I was instructed to change out of my normal clothes into a hospital dressing gown and some slippers.

I then got the final two eye drops in my left eye before the anaesthetist final pair of eye drops and the anaesthetist arrived. I was rather nervous about the surgery, to say the least, and had opted for sedation. Even so, I couldn't help but feel anxious, and I was unsure what to expect.

Some, much-needed, light-hearted banter accompanied the administration of fenthion via a cannula in my hand. Local anaesthesia ensures that the patient feels no pain. Paralytic eye drops are also used to make sure the eyeball remain perfectly still while the doctor performs the surgery. As I was moved to the operating room, I felt squirt of the sedative and went blank.

I really had nothing to worry about.

Going Into Surgery and Waking Up After

Some, much-needed, light-hearted banter accompanied the administration of fenthion via a cannula in my hand. Local anaesthesia ensures that the patient feels no pain. Paralytic eye drops are also used to make sure the eyeball remain perfectly still while the doctor performs the surgery. As I was moved to the operating room, I felt squirt of the sedative and went blank.

The next thing I knew, I was in the surgical theatre with a light covering over me. I calmly replied, "Yes" when the consultant asked me if I felt alright. She said that everything had gone really well and that the cover would be removed shortly.

In what seemed like a flash, I was in the post-operative wing—on my feet and walking back to my hubby with assistance from a lovely nurse. The whole process only took about 25-30 minutes.

I had a large patch over my eye, but there was no pain. As I tried to brush my hair, I realised that my head and face were still numb from the local anaesthesia.

I had to wait just over an hour—during which time I had a drink and a snack—before my eye was checked. As the patch was removed, I could see nothing out of my left eye. However, I was told that the surgery appeared to have been successful.

A smaller patch was applied. Armed with a supply of eye drops, my hubby and I made our way home.

I felt no pain after the surgery.

At Home, Post-Operation

I had to remove the patch before bed that night to administer my first eye drop. My hubby helped remove the very sticky patch. Once it was removed, I found that I could see again. Already, my sight was so much better. By the next day, the sight in my left eye was near perfect.

The Cataract Surgery Was a Success

My sight is already so good in my new eye that I feel sure I will not need spectacles in the future. However, I will probably still need reading glasses, as most patients do.

The Only Problem Was the Poor Vision in My Right Eye

One of my only problems was that the vision in my right eye was still very bad. Although I can manage to use my computer a little, my right eye's poor vision has limited my activities activities. I have also not been able to read comfortably.

I have tried wearing old specs around the home with one of the lenses removed. Because many of my recent spectacles have been varifocals, this has not really worked. In the end, I bought some cheap reading glasses. I was advised to get the mildest strength I could manage so that I did not damage the good work that the operation did.

I have also bought some decent sunglasses. Because there is a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) after cataract surgery, it is vital to protect your eyes.

My Recovery From the Cataract Surgery

Another check-up is usually scheduled about a week after the surgery. This is when you and your doctor will set a date for cataract surgery on the other eye. An eyesight test will usually follow. You usually have to finish your eye drops for the first eye (lasts about four weeks) before undergoing surgery for the other eye.

Recovery Tips

  • In the week following the surgery, try to refrain from using your computer too much.
  • I was also told not to lift or bend.
  • Maintaining good hygiene is very important—especially when administering the eye drops—to prevent infections.
  • Take time off work for as long as you need. It was nice to have a week away from work, but it was also tediously boring. Convalescing can be that way. However, I chose to stay on leave for another week to avoid getting an infection.

I have to thanks the NHS and the excellent care I received. I'm also grateful for my husband. When the going gets tough, he always pulls out all the stops—and he has been brilliant.

I can honestly say that I cannot wait to have cataract surgery on my left eye.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

  • How quick were you able to drive after your cataract eye surgery?

    I do not drive, but I believe most patients can drive within a day or so of surgery. You should follow your health professional’s advice as everyone responds differently to surgery. In most cases in the U.K. cataract surgery is performed under local anesthetic which speeds up recovery time.

    One thing to bear in mind is your sight may be impaired but differently if for example you still need surgery on your other eye.

  • I have had amblyopia in my left eye since childhood and have always worn glasses to correct this. I have a large cataract on the my right eye and a small one on the left eye. Will I still have to wear glasses after surgery in both eyes?

    An interesting question. This link has some background information

    The results of cataract surgery can vary depending on other eye conditions, your age and your general health. I think you may be spectacle free or may not be, to be honest. Even without your condition some patients find they still need to wear reading glasses after cataract surgery, plus over time the aging process kicks in and glasses are often needed even after successful surgery.

    You will need to discuss all options with your optician, orthoptist and or ophthalmology surgeon. It may be that you will only need reading spectacles.

    Overall the outcome of cataract surgery is good.

© 2010 Ethel Smith


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      19 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      My surgery was in my 50s a fair while back and how they do things keeps changing. My husband is just on the waiting list for cataract surgery in one eye so we will see how it goes. Thanks Kirti

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      Thanks for sharing Ethel. Both my parents had cataract surgery about 20 years ago and I remember how difficult the first week was for them. Glad that I was there to help them out. They weren't able to bend and not used to having bandages on the eye it was difficult for them to get around.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      20 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Hopefully it will be fine. But to be on the safe side I would ask advice from either an optician or your doctor.

    • profile image

      Diana Laberge 

      20 months ago

      I just had cateract surgery e couple days ago upon awakening this morning I caught myself rubbing my eye that I just had surgery on what should I do

    • profile image

      Stacy Hicks 

      2 years ago

      I have dry eye from cataract in my right eye. I'm scared to have the surgery. I need a great Dr whom takes Medicare and United Health Care.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi ethel so glad to hear that your surgery went well, so did mine(check hub i wrote about it,if you like) It is so awesome to be able to see good again !

      Vote up !!!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Iðunn I hope you get your eye probs sorted. I obeyed doctors orders for the first week and intend to do the same next time. Your story is a good warning.

      Wildt I am sure you will be up and running in no time. Thanks for the visit and kind comments.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      wow, ralph, that really sucked for your family. :( I'm so sorry. I had one eye done and everything went well. I rather liked it because I had one close eye and one far and I never had to wear glasses and I could still read.

      then the other eye went. a couple of things went wrong and one was my fault and the other nothing I could help. I didn't follow doctor instructions. I lifted my grandchildren, laundry all kinds of things. It never healed properly and is weaker. And the other thing, now I had two 'far' eyes and no near. It sucks to read now and I love to read. :(

      ethel, grand hub and hello again~

    • wildt profile image


      10 years ago

      wow very very good hub. i just started but this is a rolemodel hub.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks my friend for the kind wishes

    • mdlawyer profile image


      10 years ago

      Kudos for the excellent hub. May God bless you to regain your normal eye-sight!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. I have left your link Marissa as readers needing such surgery need all the info possible.

      Wordscribe I know what you mean about wincing but that's why I hope this hub helps calm people's fears. If I can breeze through it anyone can.

      Yes money it is great seeing again but I just need my other eye done. Not long though. In the UK they always leave at least a month between in case any complications happen.

      Roll on 15th April.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      10 years ago from Texas

      Welcome back and thanks so much Ethel for sharing your experience with this eye surgery. I am so glad that all went well. I've heard that it is exciting to be able to see clearly again. Have a great rest of the weekend, my friend :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Any surgery having to do with EYEBALLS makes me wince, Ethel. I was wondering what you meant about your eyes in a forum post you made. I'm glad your surgery was successful. How was your appointment yesterday, by the way? Were you given the "all clear"? Thanks for this highly informative hub, as always.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      Ethel, my husband also waited until he couldn't legally drive before "taking the plunge". He's unlucky because he has a high risk of retinal detachment than most - but when it's a choice between not seeing and not seeing, what can you do?

      He also struggled when he had only one eye done because of the huge difference in sight - like you, he couldn't use his old glasses even for one eye. Unfortunately the surgeon put his back out, so the second op ended up being a whole month after the first one! He has now had the second eye done.

      He's having some difficulty getting used to taking reading glasses everywhere, because he's worn multifocals all his life, but he's adapting.

      I wrote a Hub about what to do after cataract surgery, you may find it helpful (feel free to delete this comment if you'd rather not have the link on your Hub):

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Paradise you are so sweet. Yes I am limiting my computer time just now.

    • ParadiseForever profile image


      10 years ago from Chennai, India.

      Hi Ethel,

      First of all I am so happy you are recovering soon from your eye surgery. But even then, do not use much of your time on the computer until doctor is advising you for that. My congrats to you for crossing 100 hubscore. My prayers are always there for you to get well soon fully, become normal and write more for us.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I know exactly what you mean. In your position I would be the same. If surgery becomes the only course for you though I hope it goes well. Hopefully disasters are rare

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Ethel, I didn't mean to be quite so pessimistic. I'm glad your first surgery turned out well and I wish you well for the second. Until my brother's and sister's unfortunate experience I'd considered cataract surgery routine and minor. Now I'm quite a bit more wary of it.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks so much hello x

      I will be getting back into reading and writing next week I hope

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, ethel, I am so glad to hear from you. I was thinking of you many times - no lies - but didn't want to email in case you are tempted to get to the computer to soon. I am glad all went well and all the best wishes.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Hi Ethel, I just finished your excellent hub detailing your surgery. Thanks for taking the time to do so as I have always wondered what was involved. So many have this surgery and I am sure they will want to read about your very positive experience to steady their nerves. Well done and I'm glad you have your next appointment in April and that your check up was fine.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. I am so sorry Ralph that all did not go well for your relatives. I do not drive anyway but if I did my eyesight would have been too bad to. I am glad I did not read your stories before surgery.

      It is true that such surgery should not be taken lightly. However hopefully my tale will help steady the nerves of those embarking on this path.

      My check up was fine and I now have the date for my next eye. 15th April. Not long at all.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Oh ethel it is good to have you happy and well again. So remember not too much eye strain you said. We can wait for you to get back to top condition again. Great explanations and this should put peoples fears to rest. Thanks for sharing

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      10 years ago from US

      I will be there in about five years they say, good to know it wasn't so bad.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      10 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I'm glad it went well.

    • loveofnight profile image


      10 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      i am happy to know that all is well with you and hope that things continue on the right path.we never know just how much we depend on a thing until it is not available to us.thanks for sharing this with us because i know that there are those of us that need to hear some positive things about something as delicate as eye surgery.....thx 4 share

    • jgw899 profile image


      10 years ago from Santa Cruz

      Yikes ! Creepy first picture too !

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Any eye surgery is not to be taken lightly. My younger brother and sister both had serious problems with cataract surgery. My brother's case was inexcusable--who ever typed the prescription for the lens made a typo and nobody double checked it. Therefore the wrong lens was installed in his eye and he was nearly blind in that eye. The doctor apologised profusely and arranged for someone else 6 months later to remove the wrong lens and install the correct one. In the meantime my brother had to wear a patch over the eye. Fortunately the second operation turned out okay or so my brother thought. He sued the hospital (Yale Medical School) and the doctor and the insurance company waited until the day before the trial to make an offer to settle the case. My brother accepted the offer. A year or so later he suffered a partially detached retina in the same eye. Fortunatley that was successfully reattached with laser surgery. A doctor told me recently that retina problems sometimes result from cataract surgery.

      My sister's case was even worse. A lens was installed in her eye but it was installed crooked. Her vision was worse than before the surgery. The doctor said, "not to worry, I can install a 'piggy back' lens on top of the first one, and this will correct the problem." He did but it didn't correct the problem. So she went to a second eye surgeon who removed both lenses and installed a new one. This improved her vision, but not completely. So she had a laser surgery "touch-up." This was recent so I'm not sure yet how that worked out. I told her she should speak to a lawyer. Her surgery was done a University of Arizona Medical Center.

      I've decided not to have cataract surgery until I'm unable to drive or read without it. Then I'm going to try to find the best available ophthalmologist.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)