Why Is Cataract Surgery Performed One Eye at a Time?

Why Is Cataract Surgery Performed One Eye at a Time?

June 25th, 2024

Cataract surgery is very common, safe, and effective. Millions of people undergo cataract surgery every year and report great satisfaction with the results.

In many cases, people need to have cataract surgery on both eyes. However, eye doctors prefer to operate on one eye at a time and schedule a second surgery several weeks after the first.

Keep reading to learn more about cataract surgery, including why cataract surgery is performed one eye at a time!

How Does Cataract Surgery Work?

If you have friends or family who have had other kinds of vision correction procedures, such as LASIK, it might seem strange that cataract surgery is done one eye at a time. LASIK is usually performed on both eyes at the same time.

However, LASIK is a different procedure, and the immediate recovery period is easier to tolerate. LASIK and other corneal surgeries are performed on the outermost layers of the eye.

Cataract surgery is performed further inside the eye by removing the natural lens, which rests behind the pupil. Cataract surgery requires using lasers to break up the natural lens and remove the fragments.

Then, a new artificial lens is placed in the pouch where the natural lens sits. While the surgical procedure is not complicated, it does require a recovery period.

Your eye may have some normal post-surgical inflammation, discomfort, and blurriness, which can impact vision. When only one eye is affected, you can engage in most normal activities like watching TV, preparing food, using a phone or computer, and reading.

If both eyes were recovering, you would find that your vision would be significantly compromised, and you would not be able to care for yourself without assistance. Staggering the surgeries allows patients to see well enough to care for themselves after surgery.

What is Recovery Like After Cataract Surgery?

Most people notice that their eyes start to feel better within a few days of cataract surgery. The full healing process takes several weeks, and your vision may take a few weeks to fully reach its potential.

Your eye doctor will recommend that you restrict your activities for a few weeks after your cataract surgery. It’s important to avoid touching or rubbing your eye for several days after cataract surgery.

If you need to touch the area around your eyes, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of bacteria. Don’t apply creams, lotions, or cosmetics around the affected eye.

Bathing or showering are fine, but take care to avoid getting soap, shampoo, or water in your eyes. Tap water can carry bacteria that cause infection. 

In addition, your eye doctor will tell you to avoid certain activities, including:

  • Driving
  • Swimming
  • Exercise
  • Wearing eye makeup
  • Returning to work

Take breaks from reading or using screens if your eyes feel tired or strained. Avoid bending over or lifting objects over ten pounds.

Doing so can cause a sudden rise in pressure inside your eye.  If you have any questions about your recovery, call your eye doctor.

They can give you advice and treat any complications. 

Do you think you may be experiencing symptoms of cataracts? Schedule a cataract evaluation at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, AL, today!