Sleeping Position After Cataract Surgery

Monali Sharma
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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sleeping position after cataract surgery

Sleep is the most important aspect of the healing process.

However, finding a comfortable sleeping position after Cataract surgery can be challenging.

After undergoing Cataract surgery, it is crucial to take proper care to ensure a speedy and comfortable recovery.

According to ClevelandClinic, recovering from Cataract surgery takes about 4 weeks.

Thus, you should be able to start your everyday life in no time.

You can follow certain things post Cataract surgery to reduce the recovery time.

Read the article to learn about the best sleeping positions after eye surgery.

Why do sleeping positions matter

extracapsular cataract extractionSource: Toa55_from_Getty_Images
Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgeries are the only option for treatment and have a high success rate of 99 percent. 

It is performed through an incision to reduce surgical invasiveness.

Therefore, the surgery does not need stitches or sutures, allowing a quicker procedure and recovery.

But, the Cataract incision is not strong enough immediately after the surgery.

Certain activities can cause leaking incisions, allowing bacteria into the eye and increasing the infection risks.

Hence, taking care of certain things is essential to avoid leaking from the incision.

Luckily, it is relatively easy to prevent infections or any other damage to the eye by following some things.

Did you know?
Cataracts are most prevalent in people over the age of 45.
However, sometimes babies, children, or young adults can also develop Cataracts.

How to sleep after Cataract surgery

You need to be careful about your sleeping positions post-surgery.

The ideal sleeping position after cataract surgery is to lay straight on the back.

Another critical aspect to consider is using eye shields or patches while sleeping with Cataract surgery.

After Cataract surgery, the surgeon will place a lightweight shield over your eyes with the help of surgical tape.

Keep your eye shield on even when you are sleeping to protect your eyes from significant damage.

Eyeshield or a patch will keep you from accidentally rubbing your eyes in sleep.

The shield will also help prevent dislodging of the eye and act as a barrier between the eye and the germs from the pillowcase.

Ensure that you are not sleeping on the side of the recovering eye. 

Sleeping on the same side of the surgery increases the risk of pressure, and you can accidentally press the operated eye on the pillow. 

You can instead sleep on the opposite side of the recovering eye or your back.

However, sleeping on the back with a slightly elevated head is ideal for cataract surgery recovery. 

If you have difficulty adjusting to sleeping on your back, consider switching to this position gradually. 

Start with sleeping on your back for a few hours each night, and as you get more comfortable, gradually increase the duration.

Even if you turn in your sleep, your eye shield should help protect your eye.

Can I use a pillow after Cataract surgery?

Post-surgery, a pillow can help patients by providing them with support and comfort. 

It ensures that your eyes and head remain in the same position while you sleep comfortably.

Moreover, pillows improve blood circulation and help avoid swelling.

However, you should use pillows that are supportive and soft. Do not use thick and hard pillows.

Also, keep pillowcases clean to avoid any infections.

Is it safe to sleep on your stomach after Cataract surgery?

You should not sleep on your stomach after the surgery. 

It can increase the pressure on your eyes. 

This pressure can affect the healing process and may result in damage.

Moreover, it might be difficult to maintain a comfortable head position when sleeping on one’s stomach, which can create extra discomfort or pain.

Precautions after Cataract surgery

Floaters After Cataract SurgerySource: akaratwimages
Eye Patches after Cataract Surgery

After surgery, taking care of your eyes is important for a successful recovery.

Here are some important precautions you can keep in mind:

  • Use eye drops as directed by your doctor to avoid eye infections or reduce skin inflammation after Cataract surgery
  • Wear an eye shield at night to avoid accidental rubbing
  • Avoid showering and washing hair for the first week after surgery. You can use wet towels to clean your face
  • Do not get involved in activities that might damage your eye
  • Avoid playing with children or indulging in a contact sport
  • Before applying any eye medication, wash your hands with soap and water
  • Attend all follow-up appointments your doctor schedules to monitor your progress
  • Avoid bending your head below your waist for about one week. In general, you can bend as low as your hips. Bending your head below the hips can put pressure on your eyes, interfering with the incision before it fully recovers
  • Do not drive for the first 24 hours after the surgery
  • Do not do any heavy lifting, strenuous activities, or housework for a week or two
  • Avoid rubbing your eye or splashing water in your operated eye

Additionally, your doctor will probably recommend wearing sunglasses for a year after the surgery. 

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays, one of the leading causes of Cataracts.

By following these precautions, you can help ensure a successful recovery after Cataract surgery and enjoy improved vision for years to come.

When to contact a doctor

You can typically return to your daily activities within a few days of the surgery.

However, some people may experience discomfort while their eye heals.

If you notice any of the following, schedule a visit with your surgeon.

  • Redness in the white part of your operated eye
  • Blurry vision after removing the eye shield
  • You have a feeling that something is in the eye (gritty feeling)

These symptoms usually go away. Visit your doctor if they don’t.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

  • Very red eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Eye floaters
  • Loss of vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Takeaway

    In conclusion, finding a comfortable sleeping position after Cataract surgery is crucial for a smooth recovery.

    Sleeping on your back with your head elevated is the best way to avoid any pressure on the operated eye.

    If sleeping on the back is uncomfortable, sleeping on your non-operated side is also an option.

    Keep your eye shield on while sleeping. In case you turn in your sleep, it’ll protect your eyes.

    Do not do heavy lifting or strenuous activities for a week or two after the surgery.

    Remember to follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure successful recovery from Cataract eye surgery.

    Recommended Article:
    To know more about aftercare for Cataracts, read The Road to Recovery: How to Manage Your Vision After Cataract Surgery.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is it good to sleep a lot after cataract surgery?

    You will feel tired after the surgery. Therefore take rest for the remainder of the day. If you are still feeling tired, do not fight the urge to get more sleep. Sleeping more will help recover your eye faster.

    What is the best position to sleep in after cataract surgery?

    The best position to sleep in after cataract surgery is to lay on the back. If it is uncomfortable, you can also sleep on the non-operated side. It is best not to sleep on the side of the operated eye to avoid pressure on your operated eye. This will reduce the risk of infections and irritation.

    How long do I have to sleep on one side after cataract surgery?

    After Cataract surgery, avoiding sleeping for the first 24 hours on the side of the operated eye is recommended to avoid any pressure or infection. However, recommendations may vary depending on the type of surgery. It is best to follow your surgeon’s instructions to avoid any post-surgery complications.

    How to sleep after Cataract surgery?

    Best way to sleep after Cataract surgery is laying on your back with your head slightly elevated. You can avoid any accidental infections or pressure on your Cataract operated eye. You can also sleep on your non-operated side if laying on your back is uncomfortable.

    Should you sleep with your head elevated after Cataract surgery?

    Generally, sleeping with your head elevated after the surgery is recommended. It helps reduce swelling. You must be careful not to sleep on the side of the recovering eye. This is to avoid getting anything in the eye that can cause infection or leakage. 

    Do you have to sleep sitting up after Cataract surgery?

    You can sleep lying on your back if you wear a protective shield. You do not need to sleep sitting up after Cataract surgery. The only thing you need to be concerned about following Cataract surgery is avoiding any pressure on your operated eye.

    Can you lay flat after Cataract surgery?

    You can lay flat on your back after Cataract surgery. However, keep your head slightly elevated for a more comfortable position. Do not lay flat on your stomach for at least two weeks after Cataract surgery.

    How long before you can sleep on your side after Cataract surgery?

    If you have a protective shield on your eye, you can sleep on your side.
    However, avoid sleeping on the side of your recovering eye for at least a week after Cataract surgery.

    How long do you wear the eyepatch at night after Cataract surgery?

    You must keep your eyeshield on while sleeping to avoid getting anything in the operated eye. Wear the eyepatch while sleeping after Cataract surgery for the next 5 nights. However, consult your surgeon for the best advice regarding this.

    Can we sleep on one side after Cataract surgery?

    Yes. If you have eyeshield on, you can sleep on one side after Cataract surgery. However, surgeons advise avoiding sleeping on the side of the recovering eye for the next week.

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