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How Long To Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery

how long to wear sunglasses after cataract surgery
CONTENTS

Have you recently undergone cataract surgery and are wondering, how long to wear sunglasses after cataract surgery?

Generally, most doctors recommend wearing sunglasses after cataract surgery for at least a week. However, the truth is wearing sunglasses is always a good idea whether you’ve had cataract surgery or not. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays keeps them healthier longer.

In this article, we will delve into this topic in detail, providing you with the most accurate information based on medical guidelines and expert advice.

Understanding Cataract Surgery and Post-Surgery Care

Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of your eye and, replace it with an artificial lens. It’s performed to treat cataracts, which can cause blurry vision and increase the glare from lights. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Cataract surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, which means you don’t have to stay in the hospital after the surgery.
  • During cataract surgery, a small incision is made on the side of the cornea.
  • Modern cataract procedures involve the use of a high-frequency ultrasound device that breaks up the cloudy lens into small pieces.
  • These pieces are then gently removed from the eye using suction.
  • After all remnants of the cloudy lens have been removed from your eye, the surgeon inserts a clear, artificial intraocular lens, positioning it securely behind the iris and the pupil, in the same location your natural lens occupied.
  • The incision is self sealing and does not require a stitch.
  • A perforated protective shield will be placed over your eye.

For more detailed information on what to expect from cataract surgery, be sure to check out our guide.

In the next part of this article, we will discuss the reasons for wearing sunglasses after cataract surgery and provide guidelines on how long you should wear them.

Choosing Cataract Surgery Sunglasses

When choosing sunglasses after cataract surgery, consider the following:

uv light protection badge
  • UV Protection: Look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. Look for UV 400 sunglasses to gain this protection. They filter out the wavelengths of UVA and UVB light.
  • Visible Light Protection: The “darkness” of the sunglasses is given a category rating. The higher category blocks more visible light and appear darker. You want to look for category 3 or 4 as they block >80% of visible light. See the table below as a reference.
  • Polarized Lenses: These reduce glare and can be particularly helpful if you’re sensitive to light after surgery.
  • Comfort and Coverage: Make sure the sunglasses fit well and are comfortable to wear. They should not put pressure on your eyes or temples. A good pair with wrap around style early on after surgery will give you good coverage.
CAT Level% Light Absorbed
Category 00-20%
Category 120-58%
Category 259-82%
Category 383-91%
Category 492-98%

Why Do You Need to Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery?

Sunglasses after cataract surgery are crucial for several reasons:

  • Protection from UV Rays: Your eyes can be more sensitive to light, especially sunlight. Sunglasses with special UV coating can shield your eyes from harmful UV radiation and promote healing.
  • Reducing Discomfort from Brightness: Sunglasses can help reduce any discomfort or sensitivity caused by bright lights. Expect to be light sensitive for a few days after surgery.
  • Preventing Debris: Sunglasses can act as a protective barrier against wind and debris, which can irritate your eyes during the recovery period.

Extensive lab studies and animal testing have demonstrated that light with short wavelengths, particularly ultraviolet (UV) light and blue light, can potentially cause photochemical harm to the retina.

How Long To Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery?

Most doctors recommend wearing sunglasses for at least a week after surgery. However, many suggest that it’s a good idea to continue wearing them routinely, especially when you’re outside.

The truth is, protective sunglasses are always beneficial, whether you’ve had surgery or not. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV light keeps them healthier longer.

Always follow the advice of your eye doctor and consider your comfort and recovery process when deciding how long to wear dark glasses outside after surgery.

More Tips for Protecting Your Eyes After Cataract Surgery

If you’ve had surgery, these tips can help protect your eyes:

  • Keep your sunglasses handy, especially when going outside.
  • Consider wearing a hat along with your sunglasses for added protection.
  • Avoid direct sunlight, especially during the peak intensity hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Attend all your follow-up appointments and report any concerns to your doctor.

What Happens If You Don’t Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery?

Not wearing dark sunglasses after cataract surgery can lead to discomfort, sensitive eyes, and potential damage from UV rays. Your eyes may be more sensitive to light after surgery, and exposure to bright light can cause squinting and discomfort. In the long term, UV rays can damage the eyes and lead to conditions like macular degeneration.

FAQs

  • Can you wear regular sunglasses after cataract surgery?

    Yes, you can wear regular sunglasses after cataract surgery, but it’s important to ensure they provide adequate UV protection. Look for sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. This will protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and promote healing.

  • What type of sunglasses are best after cataract surgery?

    The best sunglasses after cataract surgery are those that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. Polarized lenses can also be beneficial as they reduce glare, which can be particularly helpful if you’re sensitive to light after surgery. Comfort is also important, so make sure the sunglasses fit well and don’t put pressure on your eyes or temples.

  • Do you have to wear sunglasses indoors after cataract surgery?

    Typically, you won’t need to wear sunglasses indoors after cataract surgery unless you’re in a brightly lit environment and your eyes are sensitive to light. However, it’s always best to follow your doctor’s advice. If you experience discomfort from indoor lighting, wearing sunglasses can help.

Wrapping Up

Wearing sunglasses after cataract surgery is an essential part of your recovery and ongoing eye health. While most doctors recommend wearing them for at least a week after surgery, continuing to wear them when outside can provide ongoing protection for your eyes. Remember, every patient is unique, so always follow your doctor’s advice. Protect your eyes and they’ll thank you for it!