Intraocular lenses, or IOLs, are like permanent contact lenses that are placed during a surgical procedure, most often to treat cataracts. IOLs replace the natural lens of the eye to restore clearer vision. IOL refractive surgery is a quick procedure, and the treatment recovery is relatively short as well.
Although most patients recover from IOL refractive surgery with no complications, it is important that they have a good understanding of what to expect in the days and weeks following their procedure. Dr. Raul “Raulito” Peña discusses IOL refractive surgery recovery with his Harlingen, TX, and McAllen, TX, patients so that they are well prepared for the process.
What To Expect Immediately After Treatment
IOL refractive surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means that patients can expect to return home the day of treatment. However, the surgery is performed while patients are under the effects of sedation, so they will require a brief recovery period at the eye clinic, and they will need to be driven home by a friend or family member.
Immediately following surgery, patients are likely to feel groggy and tired. The eyes may feel itchy or slightly irritated. It is essential that patients do not touch or rub their eyes, because that could disrupt healing. To protect the eyes, shields will be placed over the eyes. Patients will likely receive a pair of dark sunglasses as well. Upon returning home, patients should continue to rest as much as possible.
Recovery Side Effects
IOL refractive surgery does not usually result in any severe side effects, but patients can expect to experience minor discomfort in the first few days following treatment. Potential side effects include:
- Dry eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
Patients will be prescribed prescription eye drops to aid with recovery and reduce the risk of infection. These drops should be used exactly as directed. In addition, patients can use lubricating eye drops to moisten the eyes and alleviate itching. Most side effects resolve within a few days to a week after surgery, although it can take longer for vision to stabilize.
IOL refractive surgery is meant to enhance vision. While many patients notice an immediate improvement in their eyesight, vision can remain blurry while the eyes adjust to the IOLs. It is also normal to notice glares or halos around sources of light or to experience other visual disturbances. Most of these types of issues clear up within a few days or weeks following surgery, but it can take several months for the full results of surgery to take effect.
Protecting the Eyes During Recovery
IOL refractive surgery recovery should be straightforward, but there are some steps that patients can take during the early stages of recovery to promote healing and further reduce the risk of treatment complications. We recommend these precautions:
- Avoid rubbing or scratching the eyes
- Avoid bending over
- Avoid strenuous activities
- Keep soap, makeup, and other cosmetic products away from the eyes
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection whenever outdoors
- Use all prescribed medication/drops exactly as directed
If you would like more information about IOL refractive surgery, or what to expect during recovery from treatment, Dr. Peña can answer any questions you may have. To schedule a personal consultation at our Harlingen or McAllen office, contact our eye clinic online or call (956) 264-1200 at your earliest convenience.