Cataract surgery is common practice to help those with poor or blurry vision in which the natural lens is removed and replaced with a functioning artificial one. Of course, the procedure sounds quite intimidating as part of your eye is literally being taken off. So you’re probably wondering: Is cataract surgery painful?

Cataract surgery should not be painful. There may be some mild discomfort during the procedure, but anesthetics and numbing eye drops should relieve all pain. After the surgery, you should expect some irritation, including scratchy, itchy, or dry eyes. But luckily, it doesn’t last more than a few days. 

Now, if you want to understand exactly what kind of pain you should expect during and after cataract surgery, as well as everything else that comes with opting for this procedure, keep reading! Everything you need to know is in this article. 

Is Actual Cataract Surgery Painful? 

The first thing that many people want to understand is whether or not the actual cataract surgery is painful and what it will feel like to have someone remove the lens of your eye. 

And you will be extremely happy to know that during cataract surgery, you should not expect to feel any pain at all! 

You may receive a mild sedative from your doctor to dull the senses during the surgery, and numbing eye drops are always used on the eyes themselves to ensure you don’t feel a thing. 

Noe, it’s important to understand that no pain doesn’t necessarily mean no discomfort. While it shouldn’t actually hurt, it is quite a strange sensation as patients are awake for the procedure. 

There will be cool water flowing around the eyes, and you may feel pressure on the pupils, but if it hurts, you should say so immediately to your doctor. 

How Long Does Pain Last After Cataract Surgery?

Once again, as there should be no real pain during cataract surgery, there really shouldn’t be any after the procedure is complete. 

However, many cataract surgery patients have reported that within the first few days, you will feel some soreness and could even experience itchy, scratchy, or dry eyes. 

So while you shouldn’t be feeling pain, your eyes really won’t feel completely normal. Most doctors prescribe over-the-counter pain medicine in order to combat any typical tenderness or discomfort. 

Just as during the surgery, if you are experiencing extreme or uncomfortable pain afterward while using the pain medication, it’s not considered normal, and you should contact your doctor for an assessment. 

What to Expect After Cataract Surgery?

So if there is no pain, what should you expect after cataract surgery? It’s essential to understand that allowing the procedure is not painful, but it can be extremely awkward. 

Although you are most likely getting cataract surgery because your eyes are already malfunctioning and you cannot see properly, the time after cataract surgery can be challenging for many as your vision will be moderately to severely impaired.

The aftermath of cataract surgery is really different for every patient, but here are a few things you can and should expect:

  • Dry, scratchy, or itchy eyes. 
  • Soreness. 
  • Blurry vision. 

Each of these symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. However, most doctors report that if you are still feeling discomfort for more than a week, you should contact your doctor to ensure the healing process is running smoothly.

How Long Does it Take to Heal from Cataract Surgery?

Finally, you may want to know how long it will take for your eyes to feel normal again and for your vision to improve after cataract surgery. 

And even though it can be different for each and every person, the general consensus is that it will take between 4-6 weeks for your eyes to get back to normal after cataract surgery. 

That being said, your vision should only be extremely blurry for the first 1-4 days. After that, you should see small improvements every few days until there is absolutely no distortion in your vision. 

Here is a breakdown of the healing process so that you know what to expect after your cataract surgery:

  • 1-4 Days: Blurry Vision
  • 1-3 Days: Itchy or Scratchy Eyes
  • 1-4 Weeks: Discomfort or Soreness
  • 1-6 Weeks: Imperfect Vision

Once again, you should stay in contact with your doctor and communicate your healing with them to ensure your eyes are on track to recover successfully from the surgery. 

The Bottom Line

As promised, you now know absolutely everything there is to know about how painful cataract surgery is during the procedure as well as after! 

But just in case you forgot: You should not experience any pain during the actual cataract surgery, and afterward, there should really only be a dull sensation of discomfort. 

Your doctor will prescribe a light pain medication to help with the healing process, but if your eyes truly hurt 1 week after the surgery, you should contact your doctor so they can check on your healing process.