Glaucoma Surgery Recovery
Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. The disease is characterized by increased intraocular pressure, which ultimately compromises the vision. Without treatment glaucoma can lead to total vision loss. Fortunately, glaucoma surgery reduces fluids in the eye to decrease pressure, preserve the vision, and prevent further nerve damage.
Individuals in the Monterey, CA, Salinas, and King City, area who are candidates for glaucoma surgery at Monterey County Eye Associates often have questions about what to expect following their procedure. Here we provide a brief overview of glaucoma surgery recovery, so that our patients are prepared for surgical side effects and limitations, as well as how long recovery may last.
Glaucoma Surgery Side Effects
Glaucoma surgery lowers intraocular pressure by releasing fluids from inside the eye. The procedure and its recovery are virtually painless, and the vision usually recovers rapidly. However, the eye will be vulnerable to damage and infection after surgery, so patients can expect to go home with a protective shield over the treated eye. As the eye heals, patients can also expect to experience minor to moderate surgical side effects, which may include:
- Inflammation in the eye
- Irritation, or the feeling like there is something in the eye
- Excess tearing
- Blurry vision
Limitations Following Glaucoma Surgery
Immediately following glaucoma surgery the vision will be blurry and patients may still be under the effects of sedatives. For this reason, patients are unable to drive after their procedure. Patients must plan to have a friend or family member escort them home after their surgery. Patients should also schedule a ride for their first follow-up appointment, which should be within a day or two after treatment. At this appointment, most patients are cleared to resume driving.
Glaucoma surgery does not take a huge toll on the body, so there are very few limitations after treatment. Even tasks related to vision (driving, reading, watching TV, etc.) can usually be resumed within just a couple of days. However, to minimize the risk of surgical complications or infection, patients should refrain from these activities for the first couple of weeks of glaucoma surgery recovery:
- Bending and lifting
- Strenuous exercise
- Swimming or using a hot tub
- Wearing reusable contact lenses
- Wearing eye makeup or other cosmetics near the eyes
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Glaucoma Surgery?
Recovery from glaucoma surgery varies based on a number of factors, including the severity of the disease, the surgical technique that was used, and how well patients follow aftercare instructions. In most cases, the vision clears within just a day or two, and surgical side effects diminish within about a week or two. It is possible for recovery to take longer, but it is not common.
Every surgical procedure carries a degree of risk. Although glaucoma surgery complications rarely occur, they are possible. Potential signs of complications following glaucoma surgery include:
- Excessive pain in the eye
- Prolonged redness or swelling in the eye
- Pus or discharge from the eye
- Decreased vision
Individuals who experience any of these symptoms should report them to our doctors as soon as possible.
Individuals who are interested in learning more about glaucoma surgery or the recovery process should contact the team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates. To get in touch, send us a message online, or call our practice at (831) 424-1150.