Can you drive after cataract surgery
Can you drive after cataract surgery?
A cataract is the cloudiness of the natural crystalline lens inside the eye. With a cataract, the vision starts to reduce gradually and the patient begins to complain of blurry vision, especially far vision.
Another common symptom of cataract is difficulties and impairment of night driving. They start to get annoyed by bright lights from oncoming car headlights and often see glare and halos around lights.
After cataract surgery, most people can see the street and cars much more clearly. Road and traffic signs will look clearer and sharper; Colors will appear brighter. Night driving will improve dramatically and there will be no more blinding from headlights and no more glare or halos around lights.
One of the Frequently Asked Questions after Cataract Surgery is how long after cataract surgery can i drive ?
There is a recovery period between the surgery and the day that you can start driving safely and the length of this period depends on many factors.
On the day of Cataract surgery
You can’t drive alone after the cataract surgery for the following reasons:
1- Recent regulations require that patients after cataract surgery should be released to the care of a relative or friend who can stay with the patient and ensure there are no complications in the first day post operation.
2- After cataract surgery, your eye will be covered entirely with eye patch till the next day when this eye patch is removed by your eye doctor for examination.
3- Cataract surgery can be done under topical, local or general anesthesia. After general anesthesia, you might stay at the recovery room for a few hours after the surgery and you might feel tired and dizzy for the whole day. Local anesthesia can cause droopy eyelid and also temporary paralysis of the movement of the operated eye so it will be unsafe to drive under these circumstances.
The First day post cataract surgery
Each eye heals differently. Some people might need 24 hours to reach optimal visual acuity after the surgery, while others might need few more days to reach that point, so it is always advisable to ask your doctor for concerns and questions about driving after the surgery.
At the first post cataract surgery day, your eye surgeon will remove the eye patch and exam the visual acuity and also examine your eye for any signs of inflammation or infection. Most of the time, in uncomplicated cataract surgery, vision can reach at least 20/40 in the first day without eyeglasses which is legally good enough to drive.
Some other people need a few days to reach this vision and they might need eyeglasses to correct any refractive errors after the surgery. In general, you can’t get new prescription glasses until the vision is stabilized which is usually 2-3 weeks post-surgery
In the first few days, you might suffer from light sensitivity, red eye, eyelid swelling, excessive tearing and foreign body sensation, so it recommended no to drive. Hence, it would be a good idea to bring someone who can drive you to the clinic and take you back to home.
Keep in mind that after a full evaluation of your vision and eye, your doctor might ask you to wear a protective eye shield for few more days to help your eye to heal and it is unsafe to drive while you’re wearing the protective shield.
Usually, the next follow up visit with your doctor will be a week from the surgery and during this period your vision fluctuates and it might need a longer time to stabilize so your eye doctor will advise you not to drive in the first week after the surgery till the next follow-up visit.