How Painful Is Cataract Surgery? By Monterey County Eye Associates on September 11, 2023

woman gardeningCataracts are a common eye condition that can make vision cloudy or foggy. When cataracts begin to interfere with daily life and make activities like reading difficult or driving dangerous, cataract surgery can help.    

Cataract surgery is the only treatment for improving vision impaired by cataracts. Because it is a surgical procedure, it’s normal for patients to have fears and concerns about pain that may occur during or after cataract surgery. So how painful is cataract surgery? Serving Monterey, Salinas, and King City, CA, the team at Monterey County Eye Associates explains what to expect.

Is Cataract Surgery Painful?

No, most people find that cataract surgery and recovery are not painful. Care is taken to keep patients comfortable during surgery as well as after but some patients may feel some eye discomfort during recovery. Although eye discomfort may be felt, most patients don’t describe it as pain. 

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what to expect during and after cataract surgery. 

What to Expect During Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a quick, outpatient procedure performed with a local anesthetic. During cataract surgery, special numbing eye drops are applied to the eye being treated for cataracts. Once the eye is numb, the clouded lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).   

The numbing eye drops prevent patients from feeling pain while cataract surgery is performed. Although patients won’t feel pain from cataract surgery, some find that the numbing eye drops briefly sting before the medication takes hold.

In addition to a brief stinging from the eye drops, patients may feel a sensation of tightness on the eye occasionally during surgery but not pain. 

Once the surgery is finished, a shield is taped on the face to cover and protect the treated eye. Patients are able to leave shortly after their surgery to recover at home.  

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery

After cataract surgery, patients generally don’t experience eye pain but some may feel a little discomfort. Discomfort is usually described as the eyes feeling dry or gritty. Some patients may also experience eye sensitivity to bright lights during the early stage of recovery. 

Any eye discomfort following cataract surgery is usually easily alleviated with doctor recommended over-the-counter pain relievers as well as eye drops prescribed for after surgery. 

Additionally, patients should follow all post-operative guidelines during recovery to reduce the risk of complications that can cause eye pain and other problems. For example:

  • Don’t rub your eyes during recovery
  • Don’t get soap, shampoo, or water in your eyes
  • Where an eye shield while sleeping or as recommended
  • Use eye drops as prescribed
  • Wash hands before administering eye drops

Contact Monterey County Eye Associates

Cataracts can have a huge impact on quality of life, making it difficult to see well enough to complete daily tasks. Cataract surgery is the only treatment that can effectively remove cataracts and restore clear vision. For more information about cataract surgery or to find out which treatment is right for you, schedule a consultation with Monterey County Eye Associates. 

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Leland H. Rosenblum, MD - MBEC
Eric J. Del Piero, MD

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment, please call us at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Ryan Ranch, Salinas, and King City, or contact us online.

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