How To Train Your Eyes After Cataract Surgery

More than 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery every year. 

This makes it one of the most sought-after surgeries for eye treatment. 

Roughly 90% of eyes have better visual improvements after the procedure. 

Patients also experience a better quality of life. 

The side effects of cataract surgery typically dissipate in a couple of days. 

But, the full cataract surgery recovery time could take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. 

Now, training eyes after cataract surgery can feel somewhat daunting. 

After all, you can experience some discomfort and scratchiness. (1) There is also distorted or blurry vision. 

But, don’t worry. This is all part of the healing process. 

To learn more about the recovery process and how to deal with the vision imbalance after cataract surgery, check out the guide below. Here, we can answer all your queries, including what you should know about training eyes after cataract surgery. 

What Is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is an operation that typically replaces the natural lens with an artificial lens of the eye. That means there is a chance you can change the glasses you are wearing. 

If you are very long-sighted or short-sighted, the treatment can drastically decrease the strength of prescription glasses you will use after the operation. The procedure can take 30 to 45 minutes. Most patients receive a local anesthetic and return home the same day. 

Quick Facts

  • Most cataracts in adult patients are age-related. In 43- to 54-year-olds, the incidence is 8.3%. But, in those older than 75, the incidence is as high as 70.5%. So, the older you are, the bigger the odds of having it. (2)
  • Doctors usually do the surgery on one eye at a time. This means the eyes will be out of balance with one another until you get a second procedure on the other eye. 
  • The surgery itself doesn’t cause pain. But, you can feel a light pressure sensation, including cool water flowing over the eye. 

What Do You Need to Avoid Before Cataract Surgery?

Avoid dressing up before the procedure. Many patients like to put on cologne, perfumes, makeup, or any other similar products to enhance their appearance. 

But, it’s best that you don’t leave any traces of eyeshadow, eyeliner, or any other product around the eyes the night before cataract surgery. Clean the face completely and opt for comfortable clothing instead. Wear anything that’s practical and stretchy. 

  • Tip: Patients who do wear makeup before or too soon after surgery increase the chances of makeup particles hindering the healing process. These particles also make them more prone to infection.

What Should You Expect After Cataract Surgery?

Many people are asking, how long after the cataract surgery you can see? The eye after cataract surgery needs to adapt and recover. 

What you can expect is to notice improvements in a couple of days. The blurriness is the first thing you’ll notice right off the bat. And this is entirely normal as the eye is adjusting and healing. 

Most patients see better in one to three days. Others need 3 to 10 weeks to reap the full benefits of the operation. It depends from person to person. 

After the operation, cataract surgery side effects can happen. You can expect normal side effects of cataract surgery that might dissipate in a day or two. 

These are:

  • Itchy eye
  • Blurred vision after treatment
  • Eye discomfort
  • Nausea, dizziness, and feeling groggy from the anesthesia
  • Eye irritation or dryness
  • Swelling around the treatment area
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Floaters
  • Visual halo effect

These side effects after cataract surgery last a short while and are not a real cause for concern. But, if the post-cataract surgery side effects are causing you severe pressure, headache, and pains around the eye, talk to your doctor. In very rare cases, the pain doesn’t go away. 

The patient’s sensitivity to light continues, or it comes with eye discharge. Some experience a red eye after cataract surgery that lasts longer than a few days. 

It’s important that you talk to your doctor about these laser cataract surgery side effects and treat them as soon as possible. 

clear vision supplement

Vision After Cataract Surgery

Is it normal to have blurry vision after cataract surgery? Yes, blurry or unclear vision is completely normal. 

But, what causes blurred vision after cataract surgery? Some colors could appear brighter since you will be looking through a completely new lens. Your eye needs time to adapt and heal.

Certain patients might also see distorted or wavy images. These kinds of vision changes are temporary and last for a short time. 

Multifocal lens (progressive lenses) patients can experience halos after cataract surgery or glare around lights when walking or traveling at night. These symptoms tend to dissipate in a few days to weeks. 

If your vision is still hazy or not sharp, you might have a condition called PCO (posterior capsule opacification), also called “secondary cataract.” This is a typical complication with a 20% to 50% incidence rate. This condition can occur anywhere from a couple of weeks to years after the surgery. You can treat the problem with an outpatient laser procedure. (3)

On another note, you will be wearing a protective eye shield over the treated area. This keeps you from unintentionally scratching the eye. You will also need to wear sunglasses to protect the eye from bright glare and light. 

  • Tip: You can change the implantable lenses after cataract surgery. Fine-tuning vision after the procedure can involve a short operation called a piggyback implant. You can decrease your dependence on glasses and correct and modify astigmatism by fine-tuning your vision after cataract surgery. 

Training Eyes After Cataract Surgery

For a speedy recovery, you need to take general precautions to keep the eyes in tip-top shape. That means avoiding irritants like chlorinated pool water, dust, sand, sawdust, and tobacco smoke. 

Some of the most fundamental restrictions after cataract surgery include not wearing makeup for 1 to 2 weeks. Avoid lotions, face creams, and coloring your hair. All of these products can get into the eye and irritate it.

When it comes to training eyes after cataract surgery, rest will remain a top priority. You increase your eye pressure level when you lift weights or do any strenuous exercise. The bigger the pressure, the higher the odds of eye complications and discomfort. 

You will avoid swimming in a pool for at least a month. You also won’t be lifting objects over 10 pounds for 1-2 weeks (or more). If you are into bodybuilding or weightlifting, it’s best to consult with a specialist before you restart your routine. 

During the first week of the procedure, you can do light workouts such as stretching or bending. Once your eyes are fully healed after your cataract surgery, you can start doing vigorous training, like running. 

How Long Does It Take Your Eyes to Adjust After Cataract Surgery?

The after effects of cataract surgery last for a couple of days. However, rather than a clear picture, you will have a soft vision after cataract surgery. 

During this period, blurriness is completely normal. In the early phases of recovery, you can see. After 48 hours, most cataract patients notice a significant improvement. 

But, it could take your eyes 1 to 2 weeks to settle and adjust. It depends on how fast your body is recovering. 

  • Note: If you feel eye pain months after cataract surgery, talk to an ophthalmologist. The pain can feel uncomfortable and scratchy, like having sand or grain in the eye.

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How Do You Deal With Eye Imbalance After Cataract Surgery?

The blurriness after cataract surgery can make you feel uneasy. But, these vision fluctuations after cataract surgery are temporary. 

So, ideally, you should rest and let the body adjust. Most patients can cope very well with blurry eyes after cataract surgery. Others need more time and rest. 

Here are some suggestions that can help:

  • Use the healthy eye during recovery, if you can, to reduce the strain on the eye that’s healing.
  • Have some quiet time for yourself to let the eye adapt.
  • The blurry vision after cataract surgery can be confusing. So, take the time to process the distance between stairs when walking.
  • Be extra careful when doing daily activities to avoid hurting the eye or the surrounding area.
  • Avoid driving, if possible, until the eye completely heals.

To know how to improve near vision after cataract surgery, use the proper medications and eye drops as your doctor suggested. 

Another question that patients like to ask is how do you fix cloudy vision after cataract surgery? If the cloudiness persists, you can opt for laser treatment. This painless and effective procedure can correct it.

Can Eye Exercises Improve Vision After Cataract Surgery?

Eye exercises, like focus change, can help you recognize letters and improve accuracy. But, if you want to count on eye exercises to improve vision after cataract surgery or decrease your reliance on lenses, they won’t do the trick. The only reliable method for correcting the vision is with proper treatment, like LASIK eye surgery. (4)

This is an accurate, non-invasive, and highly beneficial treatment that patients can get after cataract surgery. The procedure can help fix a residual reflective error. It can be useful for doing some touch-ups for residual astigmatism and far-or near-sightedness.

What Is the Fastest Way to Recover From Cataract Surgery?

There isn’t a “magic pill” that can get the eyes to heal quicker. But, you will be surprised at how soon your body can heal and how quickly you can resume your day-to-day activities. 

During this process, the antibiotic eye drops will remain on the top of your list. They decrease internal inflammation and let the eye recover faster. 

Generally speaking, you can do some light TV watching and computer work. But, it’s not a good idea to spend all of your time in front of the screen, as it can be very uncomfortable for the eyes, especially after cataract surgery. 

You can bathe and shower. But, you won’t be using a hot tub the first week to avoid irritating the eye. 

When showering after cataract surgery, keep the shampoo, water, and other products out of the eye. Don’t rub it either after washing. 

So, to speed up the healing time, you need to be extra careful when doing stuff around the house. As long as you don’t irritate the eye, you are good to go.

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What Activities Should Be Avoided After Cataract Surgery?

Exercise after cataract surgery does have its limits. The question is, how long after cataract surgery can you exercise? In reality, every patient is different. Therefore, it depends on how quickly the body heals. 

Most patients wait a minimum of 4 weeks to get back to their fitness routine. At this time, you would avoid vigorous-intensity workouts. What is considered strenuous activity after cataract surgery? 

That includes:

  • Aerobics 
  • Football
  • Jogging 
  • Running 
  • Tennis
  • Weight lifting
  • Cycling after cataract surgery

Tip: Cooking is not a strenuous activity. But you shouldn’t cook after cataract surgery, at least the first week. The eye is more sensitive than usual, so it could react to onions, spices, and other products. 

What Are the Most Common Problems After Cataract Surgery?

Why is my vision not sharp after cataract surgery? This is a typical question patients like to ask. That’s because everyone wants fast results and a quick recovery time. 

But, the eye is a very sensitive organ. It is a key component of the sensory nervous system, which is why it can react to light and process visual information. Surgical repairs take time to heal. As a result, blurriness is the most common problem. 

Some patients complain they have tired eyes months after cataract surgery. Or that their eye feels scratchy. 

It’s normal to feel this mild discomfort for a week or so. But, when dryness and discomfort last longer, call your doctor. 

Other typical complaints are unwanted images, halos, and streaks of light after cataract surgery. 

Your ophthalmologist might suggest adequate eye drops to curb the unease depending on what’s causing the problem, whether it is a refractive error or PCO.

After removing the cataract, light sensitivity can occur. But, when you reflexively close your eyes or quickly squint the moment you see some light, then you might have eye inflammation. 

Additional problems that can happen after surgery include:

  • Red eye
  • Floaters
  • Droopy eyelid
  • Disorientation

Book a treatment at your local eye clinic, and talk to your doctor if you experience any dryness, prolonged discomfort, pain, and eye irritation. 


A cataract is a highly prevalent ailment that won’t just damage your eyesight, but overall health and well-being as well. With a cataract surgical procedure, you can revamp your visual acuity and amplify your quality of life. But, just like any treatment out there, it has some restrictions during recovery. 

Training eyes after cataract surgery comes down to sufficient rest and being very careful not to hurt the eye. Once your eye health is back on track, you can start your fitness routine right where you left off. 

Now that you have a clearer perspective of what to expect after cataract surgery, you can take better care of your eye health. Talk to your doctor if you have worse vision after cataract surgery or when dealing with various side effects.

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  1. Wong TY. Effect of increasing age on cataract surgery outcomes in very elderly patients. BMJ. 2001;322(7294):1104-1106.
  2. Moshirfar M, Milner D, Patel BC. Cataract Surgery. [Updated 2021 Nov 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:
  3. Barman SA, Hollick EJ, Boyce JF, Spalton DJ, Uyyanonvara B, Sanguinetti G, Meacock W. Quantification of posterior capsular opacification in digital images after cataract surgery. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000.
  4. Di Noto, Paula et al. “Eye exercises enhance accuracy and letter recognition, but not reaction time, in a modified rapid serial visual presentation task.” PloS one vol. 8,3. 2013.

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