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Eye Drops After Cataract Surgery

November 2014 by Dr Nita Shah

I prescribe several eye drops after cataract surgery. These drops protect against infection, decrease inflammation, and keep you comfortable.

Antibiotic Medication

Antibiotic Medication

Antibiotic treaments are routinely administered after cataract surgery for the first few weeks. They are intended to help decrease the chance of infection…inside the eye.

The chance of getting an infection inside your eye following cataract surgery are very low, about one out of every 1,500 people nations wide. In my hands, it has been even rarer.

Branded vs. Generic Antibiotic Medication

Branded vs. Generic Antibiotic Medication

The good news is that after an antibiotic eye drop has been out for a long time it goes generic and is cheap to purchase. The bad news is that after an antibiotic eye drop has been out for a long time, the bacteria get used to them.

The bacteria become resistant to the antibiotic so that the drugs don’t work as well anymore. Alas, the better medications cost more. I would not recommend cutting a corner here.

Anti-inflammatory Medication

Anti-inflammatory Medication

We want the immune system to react to your cataract surgery to help heal the incisions and prevent infection, but we don’t want the eye to over do it. When the immune system detects an insult, like surgery, it releases chemicals that cause swelling and others that can be toxic to the gentle structures of the eye. We want just the right amount of inflammation following your procedureso we do use anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Cystoid Macular Edema (CME)

Cystoid Macular Edema (CME)

Anti-inflammatory medication allow us to moderate and control the level of inflammation. This decreases the chance a complication called CME that occurs if inflammation and swelling reach the delicate center of your retina called the macula.

Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Treatments

Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Treatments

Cortisone is a steroidal anti-inflammatory. A number of different steroidal eye drops have been developed that work better than cortisone. They can raise the eye pressure in about 10% of patients that use them longer term so I like to stop these treatments at four weeks.

Eye Drops

Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Eye Drops (NSAIDs)

Several different NSAID drops are available. NSAIDs decrease inflammation by a different pathway than the steroidal eye drops. Studies have shown that the effects of using a NSAID and a steroidal anti-inflammatory are additive. This means that it is helpful to use both types of anti-inflammatory medications to decrease the chance of CME.

I would likely ask you to use NSAID once a day for four weeks after your cataract surgery. The new NSAIDS are comfortable for most and only have to be used once per day. It is important that you take you take your topical medications to help decrease the chances of infection and CME.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma and Cataract

If you have glaucoma, you will need to continue your glaucoma drops along with your cataract drops. Some patients without glaucoma may develop high pressure in their eyes during the healing phases. If this happens, your eye doctor will prescribe some pressure lowering for cataract removal recovery that you will take while your eye heals from the cataract surgery.

If I can provide any other information about eye drops after cataract surgery, please schedule a time to meet with me or send me a note.

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