• What can I use for my red, itchy eyes after cataract surgery?


    Question:

    What can I use for my red, itchy eyes after cataract surgery?


    Answer:

    There are several reasons that eyes can be red and itchy after cataract surgery.

    In the first few weeks after surgery, the surgical incisions and medicated eye drops can cause irritation of the surface of the eye. Less common would be an actual allergic reaction to the eye drops. Later after surgery, the area of the incisions can still cause surface irritation, sometimes for several months. Most of these situations will improve with use of artificial tears (lubricant eye drops) to soothe the eyes.

    Early after surgery, while the incisions are still healing, you should use a new bottle of artificial tears or purchase preservative-free tears (which come in small plastic vials rather than a bottle) to avoid placing contaminated drops on the eye. It is best to avoid products that have vasoconstrictors to relieve redness (drops to “get the red out”). Avoid using the tears within 15 minutes before or after your medicated surgical eye drops (this could dilute the medication and reduce its effectiveness).

    If the lubricating drops do not help, or if the redness and itching are severe, you should contact your ophthalmologist immediately.


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