The Eyes Have It: Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes After Cataract Surgery
The technology used in cataract surgery has improved so much over the past several years that the actual surgery and recovery time do not take much time at all. If you're about to undergo cataract surgery, you will be able to resume your normal routine within a couple of days -- that is, unless you do something like rub your eyes. A crucial part of the recovery process is leaving your eyes alone and letting them -- rubbing your eyes can introduce infection and irritation. It's natural to want to rub itchy, sore eyes, but a few tricks will help you avoid undoing all of the ophthalmologist's good work.
You might get an eye shield or patch from your doctor to wear for a few days. Wear it. The shield is a physical barrier over your eye that prevents your hands from touching the eye and surrounding facial structure. You might be able to wear it when you sleep, too. If your doctor doesn't issue you a shield and you think you'll have trouble avoiding your eye, ask for one.
Eye shields are your best bet, but if they turn out to be too uncomfortable to wear all the time, a pair of large sunglasses might help, too. While you can still reach your eye with your hand, the glasses will still present a partial obstacle. You'd have a better chance of stopping your hand before it reached your eye than if you weren't wearing anything in front of the eye. Always let your doctor know if you can't wear the shield first, though, to ensure you're not putting your eye at extra risk.
If you live with other people or will have someone staying with you after the surgery, ask them to stop you every time they see your hand head for your eye. Let them know why you need them to do this -- and that they need to stop you before you touch the eye and not as you're touching the eye.
Restricting your hands somehow, like wearing mittens or gloves, for example, can also help you become aware of when you're about to touch your eyes. The extra material will seem novel -- you won't be used to wearing the mittens or gloves all the time and will be more likely to notice this extra material headed toward your face.
Sometimes holding a cold cloth against itchy skin can help calm the itchy feeling. You might be able to do this with your eye (when it's closed!). But talk to your doctor about this one before you try it to ensure you won't be risking irritation.
Talk to a surgical center like Alta View Eye Care Center for more tips on healing after your cataract surgery.