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When can I start exercising after cataract surgery?

Cataracts are a common condition which forms small, cloudy patches on the lens of your eye, causing your vision to go blurry. The great news is, they can be easily treated with cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is a straightforward procedure and the most common operation performed in the UK. Optical Express carries out the highest volume of premium multifocal cataract procedures of any provider.

A multifocal Intraocular Lens is one that corrects not only far vision but also intermediate and near. While the majority of patients Optical Express clinicians care for are suitable for multifocal IOLs, a minority are not. For those that are not there are premium monofocal options available privately which aid intermediate vision in addition to providing best far vision.

Recovery time after cataract surgery can differ for every patient, but in most cases it can take up to a week for your eyes to settle and vision to normalise. For some, this period of healing can take a matter of days. During this healing period it is recommended that patients avoid strenuous activates in order to allow the eyes to fully recover. Some of these activities include driving, cooking and exercising.

So, when can you start exercising again after cataract surgery?

We recommend that you avoid any exercise for at least one week after cataract surgery. Any discomfort and tenderness from the surgery will settle within a few days and you can begin with some light to moderate exercise such as walking or stretching. You shouldn’t carry out exercise which involves putting your head below your waist, as bending down can put strain and pressure on your eyes.

It is also recommended that you do not swim underwater for at least two weeks post-surgery, this is to reduce the threat of infection. Water carries a range of bacteria that could be harmful to your eyes as they heal from surgery. You may shower, bathe and wash your hair after the first post-operative day however you shouldn’t face the shower spray, and we recommend you try to wash your hair with your head tilted backwards to avoid shampoo/soap getting in your eyes.

You should avoid strenuous exercise for a minimum of four weeks. The tenderness in your eyes usually will last a few days therefore, you may feel like you are able to return to your normal routine. However, it is very important to wait the recommended amount of time before carrying out any strenuous exercise, or until advised by your Surgeon or Specialist Refractive Optometrist. Strenuous exercise includes jogging, aerobics, yoga, weight lifting, football, running, cycling, tennis etc.

Carrying out intense exercise causes the pressure in your eye to rise so it is important to keep this pressure at a low level in order to aid faster healing. Many high-intensity sports for example cycling, football and tennis can also result in dust and debris unexpectedly getting into the eye which can cause a nasty infection. While the eyes are recovering it is extremely important that they remain clean and sterilised in order to fully heal without any adverse reaction.

By allowing your eyes adequate time to recuperate you lower the risk of adverse reactions such as fluid building up resulting in swelling, increased eye pressure, dislocation of the lens and retinal detachment. Although cataract surgery itself is a quick procedure it is important to remember that it is still a surgical procedure and therefore your body must take the necessary time to heal similar to any other surgery.

Cataract Surgery Aftercare at Optical Express

The great news is, at Optical Express our complete aftercare programme starts on the day of your cataract surgery and is customised to your individual requirements so we can be sure your recovery is progressing just as it should and that you can get back to doing the activates you love as soon as possible. Today your aftercare programme is a mix of in-clinic and telemedicine consultations.

At your post-surgery aftercare appointments you will have the opportunity to discuss with your expert clinician when you can begin to exercise again and only when given permission by your medical professional should you carry out any strenuous activities.  

All Optical Express patients also have access to our out-of-hours medical helpline, where a specialist optometrist or surgeon can give you professional advice and help to answer questions on vision or eye health after cataract surgery. 

The importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Cataracts can not only be damaging to a person’s eyesight but can also impact general health and well-being. Cataract surgery improves patient’s visual acuity which in turn improves their quality of life as well as their general physical health, function, cognition and emotional well-being.  An improved visual acuity, and the potential outcome achieved through multifocal Intraocular Lenses implanted during the cataract procedure, mean that the risks or incidence of a trip and fall, which can cause a significant impact on health, are significantly reduced. 

Patients often go on to feel more confident both professionally and personally as well as being able to participate in many more activities they enjoy following surgery.  Once the recovery period from cataract surgery is over patients can get back to doing the activities they love, which includes exercising, leading to a healthier and happier lifestyle, improving patient’s mental health.

If you’ve noticed a deterioration in your vision, then don’t wait any longer to seek help and advice. Book a free consultation at Optical Express today and our team of experts will help to find the best vision correction solution for you. Thanks to our nationwide network of clinics, at Optical Express we can treat your cataracts within a matter of weeks. Don’t put your health and wellbeing at risk. Book a free cataract surgery consultation today.

Book a free cataract surgery consultation