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How to Prepare

Knowing how to prepare before, during, and after surgery made all the difference.*

*Inspired by real patients
*Inspired by real patients

Cataract surgery is usually an outpatient procedure, meaning you should plan to go home the same day as the surgery. Your cataract surgery will probably take about an hour or less. Most likely, you will be awake during surgery, but don’t worry—your surgery team will make you feel comfortable.

Here’s what to expect before your surgery:

You may be given a medicine called a sedative to help you relax.

You will receive eye drops or an injection that numbs your eye and other eye drops that dilate your pupil.

Here’s what to expect during your surgery:

Your surgeon will use a special medication, like OMIDRIA, to help you have less pain during surgery.

Your surgeon will use very small instruments to break up the lens with the cataract and insert an intraocular lens into your eye.

A close-up of a person with an eye shield over one eye.

Here’s what to expect After your surgery:

A shield will be placed over your eye temporarily to protect it while you recover.

You will probably rest in a recovery area for 15 to 30 minutes. Then you are ready to go home.

Your doctor will schedule a few follow-up visits after your surgery to make sure your eye is healing properly.

The steps listed above reflect a typical cataract surgery experience.

Talk to your cataract surgeon or surgery coordinator about how to have the best cataract surgery experience.

Medications used during cataract surgery

Some of the medications often used to help keep your pupil open during cataract surgery are made by a pharmacist in a compounding pharmacy and are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Medications prepared this way are called compounded products.

Compounded products don’t go through the same tests for safety, strength, and quality as medications that are approved by the FDA.

The FDA and US Department of Health and Human Services recommend using an FDA-approved treatment versus a compounded one.
Learn more about guidance from the FDA.

Unlike compounded products, OMIDRIA is the only medication of this type used during cataract surgery that is approved by the FDA.

Learn how OMIDRIA helps to control pain after surgery

Medications you’ll use after surgery

Your surgeon will probably give you medications to use after surgery. These medicines may help to:

Reduce pain

Control swelling and pressure in your eye

Prevent eye infection

Your medications may be a mix of eye drops and oral (taken by mouth) pills or tablets. Call your surgeon’s office (or have your caregiver call for you) if you are not sure when to take these medications.

Cataract Surgery Mythbuster

People are always in pain after cataract surgery, and everyone needs pain medication for several days.