Imagine a gush of bright light hitting your eyes on a sunny day outside. What would you do to shield it? It is natural to constrict your eyelids to let only minimal light enter while maintaining clear vision. Or simply wear a pair of sunglasses.
Cataracts are clouding of your eye's lenses. Cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, light sensitivity, and excessive glare are early warning signs. Post-cataract surgery, you have a clearer vision. Which means more light can pass through your retina. During the initial days after surgery, you tend to be sensitive to light. It not only causes discomfort but can also be risky as the light may contain harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
As your eye begins to heal and adjust to the new lens that has been fitted, sunglasses can play an important role in your recovery after cataract surgery. It is critical to take precautions while recovering from surgery. You endanger your eye health if you do not allow your eyes to heal.
While you may necessarily wear sunglasses outside, it is equally important to wear them indoors too. This article explains the causes of cataracts and the protective steps you need to take post-cataract surgery to aid proper healing.
What is a Cataract?
Cataracts develop in the eye's lens as proteins degrade and can cause blindness. Clouding that begins as proteins transition and clump together is common with age. However, Cataracts can be caused by trauma or damage to the eye, or they can be caused by congenital conditions.
The sensitivity to light can also be a sign that cataracts are developing if you notice that sunlight feels too bright or brighter than it did in the past. Before the condition affects your vision, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will likely notice small spots or fuzziness in your lenses.
While there is no way to stop cataracts from developing once they begin, you can slow their progression by wearing sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV light.
Which Type of Sunglasses to Wear Post Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery involves replacing your natural lens with an artificial lens known as an intraocular lens. There are several types of intraocular implants available for cataract surgery. Some of the lenses are Monofocal, Multifocal, Accommodative, and Toric.
Monofocal or multifocal inflexible intraocular lenses are made of either silicone or acrylic. To shield the eyes from UV radiation, they quite often have a special coating.
However, even if your intraocular lens has protective coatings against UV radiation and other short-wavelength light damage, it is still advisable to wear sunglasses as recommended by your ophthalmologist. While UV rays can harm your eyes when you're outside, blue light from electronic devices can be just as dangerous indoors.
The color or degree of darkness of the lens is not important when looking for protective sunglasses. The under-mentioned features should be the main criteria:
- Excellent optical quality, free of manufacturing flaws like lens bubbles
- Frames that are wider to cover the entire eye
- Scratch-resistant lenses
- 100 percent UV protection
The effectiveness of innovative UV-protective intraocular lenses has improved, but wearing sunglasses has a positive impact on the health of your entire eye. The effectiveness of innovative UV-protective intraocular lenses has improved, but wearing sunglasses has a positive impact on the health of your entire eye.
How Long to Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery?
After cataract surgery, request a prescription for sunglasses from your eye doctor and wear them for a longer time. By wearing sunglasses for an extended period, you can shield your other eye as well as the structures in your eye that are protected by your intraocular lens.
Even on cloudy days or while indoors, it's crucial to wear a good pair of dark sunglasses to reduce glare and block out bright light. Besides including the features explained in the previous section while purchasing sunglasses, a dark tint can be soothing for your eyes to block the glare. It can help to adjust to the new lenses implanted in your eyes.
These sunglasses may need to be worn throughout the recovery period, which may last 3 to 8 weeks depending on your eye health. Thereafter whenever your eyes feel especially sensitive, you may continue to wear them.
What to Avoid After Cataract Surgery?
Protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays is more crucial than ever after cataract surgery because your retina might be less able to shield you from those rays. Ophthalmologists advise wearing dark sunglasses with UV absorption rates of 99 percent or higher even when indoors and also wearing brimmed hats when outdoors.
Avoid Bright Light
To lessen glare from bright lights, select eyewear with anti-reflective lenses. Reduce your screen time each day, and take frequent breaks to rest your eyes. To reduce the amount of blue light your computer's screen emits, turn on the "night light" feature.
Put on yellow-tinted computer glasses that block blue light to reduce digital eyestrain. Select LEDs and CFLs that produce "warm" light. To protect your retinas, get blue-blocking intraocular lens (IOL) implants, just like you would with sunglasses.
After cataract surgery, you shouldn't drive for at least 24 hours. Given that many people experience light sensitivity for a few days following surgery, you might even consider waiting longer.
Even though wearing makeup might be okay as long as you don't share it, your eyes are vulnerable to infection while they are healing. If you're wearing old makeup, these can easily transmit bacteria into your eye.
After having cataract surgery, you should always buy new makeup if you plan to use it at all. When it comes to eye makeup like mascara, eye shadow, or eyeliners, this is extremely critical. Nevertheless, makeup is best avoided post-cataract surgery.
Avoid Rubbing the Eye
Never rub your eye, under any circumstances. Rubbing it will only make it worse, regardless of how itchy or irritated it feels. It can be extremely problematic to rub your eyes. The majority of acute discomfort goes away within a day or two of surgery.
Painkillers or eye drops can be used to treat your discomfort if it persists. Consult your doctor if your discomfort doesn't go away after a few days.
Avoid High-Intensity Training
As long as your surgeon permits, limit your activity to light duty only. Avoid heavy lifting, exercise, and other strenuous activities, whether at home or in the gym. Exercise can make your recovery more difficult. If you're engaging in any physically demanding activity, your risk of having an accident increases.
Avoid Polluted Areas
Do not dust your home right now! For a while, you should stay away from activities and locations with a lot of dust or dirt in the air. Wear protective eyewear if you must be around dust if you can't completely avoid it. In order to keep dusty particles from getting in between the lenses of the glasses, fully-covered goggles are ideal.
Avoid Wetting the Eyes
When taking a shower, make sure the shower head is not pointed at your face because you shouldn't get water in your eyes. For at least two weeks, you should completely avoid going to a pool or sauna bath.
Following cataract surgery, your eye doctor will advise you on how to care for your eyes as they heal and adjust to a new artificial lens. Protecting your sensitive eyes from harmful light is an important step, whether indoors or outdoors.