After Your Surgery

Post-Operative Instructions

The following information contains general instructions for patients who have eye surgery. For more specific instructions about your surgery, check with your eye doctor.

  • After your surgery
    • After your surgery, try to rest for the remainder of the day. It is normal to experience some dizziness or drowsiness following surgery or treatment.
    • DO NOT consume alcohol, drive, operate machinery, or make important personal or business decisions for 24 hours.
    • Refrain from heavy lifting and exercise today.
  • Diet
    • Start with a light meal when you get home from surgery. This will prevent any nausea and vomiting. Vomiting increases the pressure in the eye. If you do not have nausea from a light meal, you can try a heavier meal the next time you eat.
    • Be sure to follow any other instructions your eye doctor or nurse gives you when you are discharged.
  • Medications
    • It is normal to have a mild ache, discomfort, scratchiness, itchiness, foreign body sensation in the eye(s). If necessary, use Tylenol or any other non-aspirin containing pain reliever as needed every 4 to 6 hours.
    • DO NOT USE any medication that will make you bleed except advised by your ophthalmologist or primary care physician.
    • Your eye doctor might give you a prescription for other pain medication (if applicable). If you normally use eye medication(s) in the eye that did not have surgery, you can continue to do so.
  • Correct Use of Eye Medication
    • If the eye is patched, do not remove the patch unless advised by your ophthalmologist. Keep the patch or dressing dry. If the eye is not patched, you can start the medication(s) prescribed by your eye doctor.
    • Wash your hands before using eye medications. Do not touch the tip of the tube or bottle.
    • To put the medication in your eye, follow these steps:
      • Make a pocket by gently pulling the lower lid downwards.
      • Put in one drop then wait about five minutes before putting in the next eye drop; if putting in two different eye medications at the same time.
    • If your eye waters, use clean tissue and gently blot dry at the corners or on the cheeks.
    • If you are using an ointment, gently apply the ointment to the area and allow it to spread by itself. Do not use your fingers to massage ointment into the wound.
  • Eye and Wound Care
    • Avoid rubbing or touching your eye(s).
    • Avoid submerging your eye(s) under water.
    • If the eye(s) is sticky or crusty in the morning, clean with a cotton ball moistened with sterile water. Close the eye(s) and gently wipe from the nose towards the ear.
    • Avoid water, soap, cream, cosmetics, and make-up in or around the eye(s).
    • Use eye shield for sleeping and avoid sleeping on the operated side. Your eye doctor or nurse can show you how to do this properly.
    • Protect the eye(s) during the daytime with sunglasses, regular glasses or shield.
    • You can bathe, sponge bath, or shower from the neck down. Avoid getting water in the operated eye(s). Ask your doctor when you can shampoo your hair again.
  • Emergencies
    • Call your ophthalmologist if you have any of the following problems:
      • Pain that does not get better with Tylenol
      • Brow pain
      • Vision that gets worse or darkens
      • Vision problems such as flashing lights, new floaters, or a curtain over the vision
      • Severe redness or swelling
      • Drainage of pus
      • Fever
      • Bleeding that does not stop
      • Persistent nausea or vomiting

If you are unable to reach your ophthalmologist, you may contact the Eye Day Surgery Unit, the Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Room, or the hospital emergency room nearest your home.

Ambulatory Eye Day Surgery Unit

Monday – Friday: 6:30am – 7:30pm
Telephone number: (212) 305-3008