Primary Eye Care Associates

Driving after Cataract Surgery: How Long Do I Need to Wait?

By Dr. Steven Chander on November 22, 2019

An illustration of the clouded lens of an eye with cataracts next to a healthy lensCataract surgery can help those who suffer from vision problems caused by cataracts to restore their eyesight and regain their independence.

At Primary Eye Care Associates, Dr. Steven Chander is often asked many questions about recovery after cataract surgery. One of the biggest concerns patients often have pertains to driving after cataract surgery. Serving Chicago, IL, and the surrounding Midway and Garfield areas, Dr. Chander relieves these and other concerns during patient consultations.

For answers to your questions about cataract surgery, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chander. In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about driving after cataract surgery.

No Driving the Day of Surgery

When undergoing cataract surgery, it's important that patients understand that they will not be able to drive themselves home after their procedure. Instead, patients should arrange to have a friend or family member drive them home.

There are several reasons patients should not drive immediately after cataract surgery. The first is that cataract surgery is generally performed with some form of anesthesia. It can take several hours after surgery for the medication to fully wear off.

The other reason is that vision may be blurred for a day or two following surgery and the eyes may be sore, which can make it difficult to drive safely.

How Soon Can You Drive after Cataract Surgery?

Most people would like to start driving as soon as possible after cataract surgery and often ask how soon they can start driving. The truth of the matter is there isn't one answer and it depends on each patient's recovery.

Generally, a follow-up appointment is scheduled a day or so after surgery. During this appointment, vision is assessed. If the eyes are recovering well, the patient may be cleared to drive.

With that said, patients should be prepared not to drive for at least 24 hours, and not until they are cleared by their doctor.

Recovery Time Is Necessary before Driving

After cataract surgery, patients need time to recover and adjust to the new changes with their vision. For some, light sensitivity can make it difficult to comfortably see while driving in the first few days after surgery. Light sensitivity is typically temporary and once it resolves, driving may safely resume.

It's common for cataract surgery to be performed on one eye at a time so those who have only had one eye treated may notice depth perception issues. In such cases, it may be best to wait until the eyes have adjusted and depth perception issues have improved before driving.

Eyeglass Prescriptions May Need to Be Changed

After cataract surgery, it's recommended that patients who wear eyeglasses have their eyes checked to make sure they have the correct prescription for their new vision needs before they start driving again.

Some people may no longer need eyeglasses after cataract surgery and others may not require as strong a prescription.

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about driving after cataract surgery, or to find out if cataract surgery is right for you, please call (773) 735-6090 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chander.

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5460 S Archer Ave
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