August Newsletter: The Do's and Don'ts After Glaucoma Surgery

Woman sees clearly after her eye surgery.

The Do's and Don'ts After Glaucoma Surgery

If glaucoma surgery is on your calendar, you're probably wondering what you can and can't do after your procedure. Following these do's and don'ts will help ensure that you experience a smooth recovery.

DO Use Your Eye Shield

Eye shields prevent you from damaging your eye by sleeping on it or absentmindedly rubbing it. Shields also keep water, soap, and shampoo away from your eye when you shower. If your ophthalmologist gives you a shield, be sure to use it as recommended. Wear your eye shields when sleeping for at least two weeks, or as recommended by your eye doctor.

DON'T Participate in Vigorous Exercise

Hitting the gym or completing your usual morning run will need to wait until your eye is fully healed. Don't participate in any type of exercise that raises your heartrate or causes you to sweat or breathe heavily. Also avoid weightlifting, bending, or activities that involve straining.

If you plan to lift weights again after your recovery, talk to your ophthalmologist first. In some cases, weightlifting might increase the intraocular pressure (IOP)in your eye. In a study published in BMJ Open Ophthalmology, IOP increased significantly while research participants were performing leg presses, but returned to normal within one minute.

DO Take It Easy

Resting is an important aspect of healing. Plan to stay home for at least a day or two after your surgery. It's best to wait a few days before watching TV, reading, or using your phone or laptop. If you spend a lot of time at work reading or writing or your job requires lifting or manual labor, you may need to stay home a little longer.

DON'T Swim

Stay away from the pool, beach, hot tub, and waterparks. Bacteria in the water could cause an infection if water gets in your eye.

DO Keep Your Follow-Up Appointments

Follow-up appointments are essential. These visits help your ophthalmologist evaluate your progress and spot any potential problems. They're also the perfect opportunity to ask questions or share concerns.

DON'T Drive

You'll need to ask a friend or relative to drive you home from your surgery. Driving can resume as soon as you can see clearly. In some cases, this can be as soon as a few days after surgery. In others, you may need to wait several weeks before driving.

DO Make an Appointment for New Glasses or Contact Lenses

It's not unusual for your vision to change after glaucoma surgery. In fact, your vision may be blurry for up to six weeks, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. After your vision becomes stable, you'll need to visit the eye doctor and get a new prescription.

Don't wear your contact lenses immediately after surgery. Your ophthalmologist will let you know when it's safe to resume wearing the lenses.

DON'T Use Cosmetic Products

Avoid using moisturizer and makeup while your eye heals. Unfortunately, makeup can migrate even if you don't put it directly on your eye. It's best to avoid all facial cosmetic products for several weeks after glaucoma surgery.

DO Use Your Eye Drops

Be sure to fill your eyedrop prescription after surgery. Using the drops will help prevent infections and keep you comfortable by decreasing inflammation in your eye. Ask your eye doctor if you should continue to use any prescription eyedrops you had prior to your surgery, including drops to lower your intraocular pressure. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before placing drops in your eye.

DON'T Forget Your Glasses

Sunglasses protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet rays and also stop dust and debris from getting in your eyes. Wear them every day, year-round. If you play sports, buy a pair of goggles to protect your eyes. Remember to also to check with your ophthalmologist before resuming your favorite sport.

DO Call Your Ophthalmologist if You Experience Any Problems

Get in touch with your eye doctor immediately if you notice:

  • Vision Changes
  • Increasing Pain in Your Eye
  • Eye Discharge
  • Shadows in Your Field of Vision
  • Redness That's Getting Worse

These symptoms could be mean that you have an infection or another complication. The sooner you see your ophthalmologist, the better.

Do you need to schedule an appointment to discuss glaucoma surgery options? Call our office to arrange your visit with the ophthalmologist.


BMJ Open Ophthalmology: Intraocular Pressure Fluctuation During Resistance Exercise, 2021

EyeNet Magazine: Glaucoma and Exercise: What to Tell Your Patients, 3/2019

Glaucoma Research Foundation: Incisional Surgery for Glaucoma, 3/9/2022

American Academy of Ophthalmology: What Is Glaucoma?, 12/6/2022


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