Cataract surgery is an eye operation to remove the cloudy lens (the cataract) that blocks light from entering the eye. Many patients have reservations about how long it will take before they can drive. An eye surgeon does the surgery under local anesthesia, so you cannot drive home after the surgery.

Brief Overview of Cataract Surgery

This kind of eye surgery aims to replace the hazy lens of the eye (the cataract) with an artificial lens implant. The procedure helps to reduce your dependency on contact lenses and glasses. 

A surgeon performs the procedure under a local or topical anesthetic, not a general anesthetic. Local anesthetic lowers the likelihood of complications during the surgery and reduces the recovery period. 

An eye surgeon makes an incision on the cornea (front surface of the eye) and breaks the cataract into tiny pieces. They then remove the cataract pieces from the eye before placing the artificial lens implant. 

The intraocular lens is ideal for individuals with long-distance vision while multifocal intraocular lenses are ideal for those with near and far vision. 

The surgeon will recommend post-surgery guidelines to optimize your recovery and reduce your risk of complications. They include:

•    Using the prescribed eye drop medication 

•    Avoiding strenuous activity 

•    Avoiding dirty, dusty environments 

•    Maintaining cleanliness around the eye area.

Driving After Cataract Surgery

Normally, the patient can start driving 24 hours after the surgery. Cataract lens replacement surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, which means you’ll go home the same day after treatment. 

The procedure is performed under anesthesia; you should not drive immediately after the treatment. That is part of the standard precautionary regulations that eye care facilities must follow. You can take a cab or let someone drive you home. 

The eye surgeon will give you an eye patch to protect the treated eye at night and an eye drop to help with healing. Your vision will improve and clear up a few hours after the surgery. 

After the surgery, you should not wear contacts for a few weeks. You’ll still have to wear eyeglasses if you require prescription eyewear to see clearly to drive safely. 

Is the Recovery Rate the Same for Everyone?

Every person reacts differently to the surgery, and some recover faster than others. Normally it takes 4-6 weeks for the eyes to heal fully after lens replacement surgery. Your eye surgeon will tell you what to expect, your specific healing time, and when to resume everyday activities like driving.

Not all patients recover at the same rate. Some may go through more complicated surgeries. Some patients have surgery for both cataracts and glaucoma concurrently. In such a case, you may have to wait a little longer to drive because recovery will take longer. 

The best option is to let a trusted friend or family member drive you on the day of the surgery and when going for a follow-up exam. Your surgeon will tell you if your vision has improved enough to drive safely. 

Reasons To Wait Before Driving

Even if your surgeon gives you the go-ahead to drive, you should feel comfortable enough to get back behind the wheel. Below are reasons why you may have to wait to drive again: 

If you need contact lenses or glasses to see clearly for near vision and distance: You may need to wait until you get your new glasses. With an updated prescription, it will be easier to read your GPS, road signs, and the gauges on the dashboard.

If you are experiencing swelling after surgery: Your vision may not be clear as it should be, and you may need to wait longer before driving.

If you experience sensitivity to bright light: Light sensitivity is usually a temporary problem after cataract surgery. Wearing dark sunglasses may help you feel more comfortable when driving.

Find the Best Eye Surgeon for Cataract Surgery

The right eye surgeon will follow health and safety standards when performing cataract surgery to protect patients and promote their quality of life. They need the necessary training, skills, and experience to perform lens replacement surgery. 

The best eye surgeon will provide you with options for lens implants to help you achieve the best vision. They will advise you based on your occupation, hobbies, lifestyle, and medical evaluation.