Commonly Asked Questions on Cataract Surgery | Seattle Eye Surgeons

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. While the exact cause is unclear, it is mainly associated with advancing age. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts. By age 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts.

Since June is Cataract Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time for adults to get their vision checked up. If your Seattle eye doctor does find cataracts, surgery is recommended when it begins to affect your quality of life or ability to perform activities.

Older woman with eyeglasses at the window

Here are 5 commonly asked questions and answers regarding your upcoming cataract surgery. If you have any additional questions or would like a cataract surgery consultation, be sure to contact our Seattle or Burien eye care clinic.

Can you drive the day after cataract surgery?

Provided that your health is good, your cataract surgery should be short and relatively painless. The surgery itself will take around 10 minutes, but there could be a 30 minute to one-hour recovery time as you come out of anesthesia. You may feel a bit groggy for a few hours afterwards. After the surgery, it’s recommended that you find a safe ride home via a family member or friend.

How well you feel along with how well you can see will determine if you can drive in the days after you get your surgery. Prior to driving, be sure to get the approval of your Seattle eye doctor during your post-operative exam, as he/she will know when it is safe for you to start driving again.

How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

Everyone is different and while one person may feel perfectly fine (and their vision significantly improved) 24 hours after surgery, another person make take a few weeks for their vision to clear up. The vast majority of cataract patients report better eyesight within 24-48 hours of the surgery.

Your Clearview Eye & Laser eye doctor will most likely give you some eyedrops and specific instructions on how to use them. If you follow the advice of your eye doctor, you could be completely healed up in as little as a few days to a few weeks. Again, it all depends on your body and how fast it heals from the procedure.

Are flashes of light normal after cataract surgery?

Some cataract patients have reported seeing a streak of light after the surgery. This streak of light only occurs with their eyes open and exposed to light. This is a common occurrence and your eye doctor should have informed you of the possibility of flashes of light. They result from light reflections off of the new implant. You should contact our office at Clearview Eye & Laser out of an abundance of precaution and ask him/her how long the flashes of light could last for.

Can I use my old glasses after cataract surgery?

It could take a few days to a few weeks for your vision to stabilize after you undergo cataract surgery. As such, your eye doctor could wait up to four weeks before he/she prescribes you with new eyeglasses. This is so that your eyes can completely heal and only then (after another eye exam) will your Seattle optometrist know what kind of glasses you will need.

Yes, you can use your old glasses after the surgery, but you might notice that your vision is less than ideal with the old glasses. This is perfectly fine and once you get a new pair of glasses, your vision should improve.

What can I expect after cataract surgery?

Immediately after the surgery, you will most likely feel a bit groggy for a few hours. This is an after effect of the anesthesia and should clear up by the next morning. It will take several days to a week or two for your vision to fully heal. During this time period, you may notice blurry vision, flashes of light, and colors may seem brighter. This is because you are looking through the new lens that your eye doctor implanted into your eye.

Your eye doctor may request to see you a day or two after the surgery. If this is the case, be sure to make arrangements to have someone drive you to and from your appointment.  You might feel a mild discomfort in your eye, this is normal. Do not rub your eyes or otherwise agitate them.


For additional information on cataract surgery and other eye surgery services, read our past articles:

Cataracts with Astigmatism
Recovery from PRK Surgery
Eyelid Surgery Can Improve Vision
How to Prepare for LASIK