Eyeing Solo: A Single Senior’s Guide to Cataract Surgery Recovery

If you're at the age when health issues tend to arise more frequently than back in your younger days, it can require great effort on your part to deal with the changes alone. Your vision plays an important role in how you cope. So if you start experiencing blurry sight, night vision problems, and a duller appearance of things that you know are brightly colored, it's time to check with your optometrist about the possibility that you've developed cataracts. This condition is most common in folks 55 or older, and if it's causing significant impairment to your vision, your eye specialist is likely to schedule surgery to replace the affected lenses of your eyes.

If you live alone, the recovery from cataract surgery can be a challenge. It's likely that the increasing inability to see well has made everyday tasks difficult. Following surgery, there's going to be a period of time when your activities are even more limited. Later, after your eyes have healed, you'll love being back to your old self with the advantage of seeing better than before. But in the meantime, early planning can make the postsurgery downtime comfortable and safe.

Sign Up for a Senior Ride Service

You won't be driving after cataract surgery until your doctor gives the "all clear" signal to get behind the wheel again. Many cities, counties, and communities operate senior transportation services at low- or no-cost rates. Now is the time to tap into that resource. You can schedule the follwoing rides in advance:

  • Going to the surgery, which is usually done on an outpatient basis in the eye doctor's office or clinic.
  • Returning home after the surgery. The doctor's office can give you an estimated time for the driver to return, and some offices even call the senior ride provider with confirmation when the doctor says it's OK to leave.
  • Rides to the doctor's office and back home again for progress checkups. These are typically scheduled for a couple days after the surgery, a week afterward, and a month later.

Beyond the trips for medical procedures and follow-up visits, many senior ride providers are available for other necessary trips, such as grocery store shopping.

Take Care of Regular Business before the Surgery

Living independently, you're used to handling housekeeping, gardening, and any extra maintenance chores that pop up. You'll need to take a short break from most of those activities. Following cataract surgery it's advised that you get plenty of rest and avoid bending over or picking up anything that weighs over 10 pounds. The consequences of overdoing things can be unpleasant. The extra pressure of lifting and pushing could cause the incision in your eye to open. To avoid unnecessary strain, set a schedule for yourself to take care of chores during the week before the surgery.

  • Indoors: Vacuum, mop, change sheets, and do any cleaning that requires bending, like scrubbing the toilet and tub, before your surgery date. It's likely you'll be back to your routine chores before long. But individuals heal at different rates, so wait until your doctor gives the OK to return to your usual activities.
  • Outdoors: Set up sprinklers so that the only thing you have to do for watering is turn the spigot off and on. Depending on the season, mow the lawn, rake leaves, and bring in firewood if you heat with a wood-burning stove. Avoid engaging in these or similar activities until after your follow-up visits and permission from the eye doctor to jump back into the swing of things.

Don't hesitate to accept offers of help from family and friends during your downtime. Their support and goodwill can help you relax completely as the healing process begins. Click here for more information about cataract surgery.