How long do I need to wear dark glasses outside after cataract surgery?

How long do I need to wear dark glasses outside after cataract surgery?

A successful cataract surgery is one of the best experiences you can ever have after having your sight clouded for so long. The ability to see better in the dark, read, and even perform detailed tasks like sewing is a blessing you can never fully describe. But before you can enjoy all these, you would have to endure the unpleasurable days when your eyes are healing. During this period, your eyes are extremely sensitive to light, so you have to wear sunglasses to protect them. Now, if you’ve been asking; “How long do I need to wear dark glasses outside after cataract surgery?”, this article will provide the answer you need and more.

What are cataracts?

What are cataracts?

A cataract is an eye problem that occurs when the eye lens becomes cloudy making it hard to see clearly. Cataract occurs mostly in old people and UT can happen to one eye or both eyes. Cataract patients often notice that things are blurry or cloudy. They also cannot view colors as bright as they are, plus it is also very hard to see in dim light or at night.

What happens during cataract surgery?

Cataract surgeries are very safe. The principal aim is to remove the natural lens of the eyes and replace it with an artificial lens. 

Before the surgery, the doctor will give the patient medicine to numb the eye so that the patient doesn't feel any pain during the procedure. Afterward, the eye surgeon makes a tiny cut in the eye. This will help the surgeon access the eye lens. The cut is insignificant as it doesn't require any sticking after the surgery. The surgeon then carefully removes the eye lens. After removing the eye lens, the surgeon then replaces it with a new lens called intraocular lens (IOL). This new lens will help the eye focus properly just like the old lens. And it is not as cloudy as the original eye lens. After this replacement, the surgeon checks to see if other things are in place and thereafter ends the surgery. The entire duration of the surgery isn't up to two hours.

Do I need to wear sunglasses after cataract surgery?

Do I need to wear sunglasses after cataract surgery?


You must know and understand why you must wear prescription glasses after a cataract surgery. During the surgery, the eye surgeon removes the cloudy lens caused by the cataract and then replaces this natural lens with an artificial lens. This new artificial lens is usually very clear, however, it does not make provision for UV rays. Therefore, you cannot get the same UV ray protection from these newly fixed artificial lenses. An after-effect of this is that it causes your eyes to become more sensitive to light after the surgery procedure. 

It doesn't end there. Cataract surgeries also cause temporary sensitivity, photophobia (light sensitivity), discomfort, blurry vision, damage to the retina, and inflammation in your eyes. Therefore, exposing your eyes to bright sunlight and UV rays during this time can cause high levels of discomfort. It can also delay the time it will take your eyes to heal. This is another reason you need to wear sunglasses. Aside from shielding you from UV rays, it also helps you reduce the amount of light that enters your eyes.

So, if you just had cataract surgery, ensure you wear your sunglasses. It doesn't matter whether it is sunny or rainy because, during both times, the sun still continually gives off dangerous ultraviolet rays. In addition, if you would be outside around the middle of the day, say around 10 am to 2 am, ensure you're wearing your fully brimmed sunglasses. This is because the sun is at its brightest, hence there is a higher risk of sun damage. So you must protect your eyes. 

Sunglasses with UV protection will help you create a barrier that will protect your UV radiation. Aside from helping with quick recovery, it will also protect your eyes from long-term damage relating to the sun. Your eye doctor might also recommend that you wear your glasses for the rest of the day and even while you are asleep.

What type of sunglasses should I get for post-cataract surgery?

UV protection

You need sunglasses that have a hundred percent protection from ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays can be as UVA or UVB and you need glasses that block both rays. After a cataract surgery, both rays can damage the eyes. If you haven't had cataract surgery before, these rays have the potential to damage your eyes and also cause cataract and other eye disease. Glasses that are labeled UV400 or “100% UV protection” can protect you from these harmful rays. 

Polarized lenses

Polarized lenses help you reduce glare from bright lights. You need this type of anti-glare glasses immediately after your cataract surgery. It will help you feel comfortable when you're outside in the sun. It will also help you reduce strain in your eyes. 

Large frame eyeglasses

This type of eyeglasses is better described as wraparound glasses. This means that the glasses would cover all of your eyes. They usually have a large frame that provides more coverage around the eyes so that there is no room for any type of radiation to penetrate the eyes. This will help you block out sunlight and any other type of UV rays. UV radiation does not only enter the eye through the front of the eyes, it can also penetrate from the sides if the sides are not covered. 

Comfortable frame eyeglasses

It is also very important that you opt for glasses that fit well on your face and also provide you maximum comfort. Since you will wear the sunglasses for an extended period, you need to be comfortable in them. Else, they can cause irritation when you are out during the day. You can Look for customized glasses or sunglasses with adjustable nose pads or temple tips.

Medium to Dark Tint

Even though this is medically optional, we highly recommend that you go for glasses that have a degree of tint. It's unnecessary to get dark lenses, but you can Opt for glasses that have medium or dark tiny. This will help prevent your eyes from glare and brightness. But ensure that the tint of your glasses is not too dark. This is because a very dark tint can affect your ability to see clearly, especially in conditions of low light. 

How long do I need to wear dark glasses outside after cataract surgery?

Not everybody needs sunglasses after a cataract surgery. However, your eye doctor would recommend prescription glasses for you if you are light sensitive, especially because the eyes are more sensitive to light after cataract surgery. So, it is safe to say that the duration of wearing sunglasses after a cataract surgery depends on your light sensitivity. Most modern implants have an amount of UV protection incorporated into the artificial lens. However, most eye doctors would still recommend that you wear protective sunglasses. Now the big question is how long would I continue wearing the lenses after the surgery? 

The duration of wearing sunglasses after the procedure isn't the same for everybody. It varies from person to person, but several factors determine this. Some reasons include the type of intraocular lens (IOL) implanted and individual healing rates. However, as a general rule of thumb, it will be recommended that you wear dark glasses outdoors for at least one to two weeks after surgery.

During the early stages of your eyes, your eyes are just getting used to the new artificial lenses. With time, the inflammation and sensitivity will gradually subside. So, Wearing sunglasses will help adequately protect your eyes during this critical phase of healing.

What to avoid after cataract surgery?

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

After undergoing cataract surgery, your eyes become sensitive, delicate, and vulnerable to irritation. This can lead to you having urges to rub your eyes. However, you must avoid rubbing or unnecessarily touching your eyes. This can introduce bacteria into your eyes, and this is a valid cause of infections. If you are experiencing any form of discomfort or itching, blink your eyes gently until the feeling fades away, or use your prescribed eye drop instead. 

Avoid Strenuous Activities

It is understandable that after a cataract surgery, you might miss your normal routine and you are just eager to continue. Still, consider the health of your eyes. Strenuous activities can strain your eyes, so it is better to wait and avoid them. Some of these activities include bending, heavy lifting, exercise, and other vigorous chores. Ensure that you postpone it until your eye doctor prescribes that you can continue.

Avoid Swimming and Hot Tubs

Ditch going to the swimming pool until you have fully recovered. This should be avoided for at least a week after your cataract surgery. This is because water is a cause of bacterial infections. Water contains bacteria and it can cause infections that can disrupt the healing of your eyes. Also, ensure you avoid getting shampoo or soap into your eyes when you are having your shower. 

Avoid Driving Immediately After Surgery

Avoid driving immediately after your cataract surgery because you might experience blurry vision immediately after the surgery. After the surgery, your vision may be temporarily distorted or blurted out. Therefore, we recommend you get someone who would drive you home from the surgery location. Alternatively, you can wait till your vision is fully back and also get the approval of your eye doctor before leaving the surgery venue. 

Avoid Exposure to Bright Lights

For the first few days after your surgery, ensure that you avoid exposing your eyes to bright lights or sunlight. Since it might be impossible to stay indoors all day, the best option will be to always wear your sunglasses anytime you are outdoors. Even whilst indoors, you should still keep your glasses on to help you avoid exposure to harsh lighting indoors. Alternatively, you can dim all your indoor light to reduce discomfort or glare. 

Avoid Skipping Your Medications

Do not give in to any urge to skip your medications because these medications are important to safeguard the health of your eyes. Your medications might range from eye drops to pills. But in all, they are all prescribed to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. If you skip doses or stop medication prematurely, you can compromise your eyes' healing process.

Avoid Smoking and Alcohol

If you smoke and or take excessive alcohol after your cataract surgery, it can distort your eyes' ability to heal. Therefore, it is best that you refrain from smoking and also limit or stop alcohol intake while you are recovering after your cataract surgery. 

Avoid Skipping Follow-up Appointments

Ensure that you attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your eye doctor after your surgery. This is highly important as the surgery itself, especially in cases of complications. If you feel any discomfort during your healing process, you can book an appointment as well. This is an avenue to hear your doctor's advice on when it's safe to resume normal activities. The doctor will also help you with answers to questions or confusion you may have.


In conclusion, the duration of wearing dark glasses after cataract surgery varies based on individual recovery and the recommendation of your ophthalmologist. While it's common to wear dark glasses for a few days to a few weeks post-surgery to protect your eyes from bright sunlight and potential debris, your doctor's guidance is paramount. Adhering to their instructions ensures optimal healing and reduces the risk of complications. Remember, prioritizing eye protection during this critical period contributes to a smoother recovery process and promotes long-term eye health. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

Reading next

What to do with old glasses?
Jackie Onassis Sunglasses-Dollger

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.