If you’re one of the millions of people who are undergoing cataract surgery this year, then you’ll need to know which eye drops are the best to use during your recovery period, and how to properly use them. While you may be tempted to use over-the-counter eye drops, it is highly recommended that you stick to the prescription eye drops given to you after your surgery, as these are the best eye drops for cataract surgery recovery. 

What Are Prescription Eye Drops?

As opposed to their off-the-shelf counterparts, prescription eye drops are specially designed for post-operative cataract surgery. Not only are they made for the specific conditions you may face after surgery, but also possess a significantly stronger impact.

What Are The Types of Prescription Eye Drops?

When undergoing cataract surgery, you’ll be given several types of prescription eye drops to help aid in your recovery. These eye drops may include:

  • Steroid Eye Drops: steroids are used to reduce pain and inflammation, both of which can lengthen your recovery time. You can expect treatment to last up to 30 days.
  • Antibiotic Eye Drops: infection is always a risk with any surgery, so antibiotics are essential. You can expect treatment to last several weeks.
  • NSAID Eye Drops: non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) are used where steroids are not an option, and act in a similar fashion to reduce pain and inflammation. Treatment duration depends entirely on the NSAID prescribed.
  • Lubricating Eye Drops: due to the potential for dry eye or eye irritation after cataract surgery, lubricating eye drops are often prescribed to help patients stop rubbing at their eyes. These eye drops simply moisten the eye, and soothe out itchiness. 

Our surgeons here at Magruder Laser Vision will explain how to best use these prescription eye drops during your recovery, and the frequency at which they should be used.

How Often Should Eye Drops Be Applied After Cataract Surgery?

After cataract surgery, your eyes will be vulnerable to inflammation, infection, pain, and light sensitivity, which is why eye drops are prescribed to you. The recommended drop schedule varies from individual to individual, but generally speaking, you will be required to use drops at least twice a day for a minimum of three weeks to help with healing.  You may need to use the eye drops longer if you have a lot of inflammation or if recovery is slower, and there is a prolonged risk of infection. However, by following your postoperative care instructions, you should have a smooth recovery.

How To Apply Eye Drops for a Better Experience

A common method of applying eye drops is to simply launch them at the center of your eye, but if you’ve ever tried this, you know that it’s not a pleasant experience, and more times than not, you end up missing entirely.  For a better experience, try applying your eye drops like this:

  1. Wash your hands, and grab a tissue for any excess fluid. 
  2. Sit down or lay back in a steady position.
  3. Tilt your head back or raise your chin. 
  4. Gently pull down your lower eyelid to create a small pocket.
  5. Take the bottle’s tip and squeeze a drop into this pocket. 
  6. Once the drop is in, blink a few times, and then close your eye(s).
  7. Keep them closed for a few minutes to allow the drop to dissipate. 
  8. Blot away any excess fluid (or tears).

Make sure to not allow the bottle’s tip to touch any part of your eye, and always wait a few minutes in between drops, if you have multiple types to use. By creating a small pocket for the drop, you have a better chance of getting the drop into the eye, and evenly dispersing it across the eye’s surface. 

Tips on Healing With Eye Drops After Cataract Surgery

The main thing you want to keep in mind when healing after cataract surgery is to follow your post-op eye drop instructions precisely. If you are applying multiple types of drops, waiting a few minutes ensures that your eye gets the “full impact” of each drop, which helps speed up recovery.  Make sure to always wash your hands, and never let the bottle touch your eye, as this can contaminate the drops.  When you head to sleep, protect your eye with a patch or shield to prevent it from touching your blankets or hands. Other than this, be on the lookout for new redness, vision loss, flashes of light in your vision, or intense pain.  If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor and book an appointment for an eye exam.

What Is The Recovery Time Like?

With routine eye drops after cataract surgery, you should begin feeling better within a week or two. If post-operative assessments have been booked for you, it is highly recommended that you keep these appointments, as they are scheduled to assess your healing. At these appointments, you can ask follow-up questions about returning to your regular activities, and how eye drop use, frequency, or eye safety after cataract surgery plays a role in your recovery. If you’re ready for cataract surgery in Orlando, our eye care specialists here at Magruder Laser Vision are happy to assist you! Give us a call at (407) 843-5665 or get in touch with us online.