When will my vision clear after cataract surgery?

What causes blurred vision after cataract surgery? What can I expect after cataract surgery? I’ll try to answer these and other related questions as best I can.

Dr. Matthew Sharpe- Founder of SharpeVision

By Dr. Matthew R. Sharpe

August 18, 2021

When will my vision clear after cataract surgery?

I would say that the most common questions asked after cataract surgery are:

  • What causes blurred vision after cataract surgery?
  • What can I expect after cataract surgery?
  • How long does it take for vision to clear after cataract surgery?

In this blog post, I’ll try to answer these and other related questions as best I can.

Blurred vision after cataract surgery or blurry vision after cataract surgery are to be expected for at least the first day or two. Typically, your vision gets better for several weeks due to a number of factors. The factors affecting visual recovery after cataract surgery to name a few are:

  • Your age: generally a healthy 60-year-old will recover more quickly than a healthy 95-year-old.
  • Density of your cataract: a very soft mild cataract is easier to remove than a very dense cataract that has gone neglected for many years. Therefore, the swelling of your cornea (the clear tissue in the front of your eyes shaped like a contact lens)
  • General health: someone with diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, poor nutrition, alcoholism will all have a more difficult time with cataract surgery.

Vision after cataract surgery

Generally vision after cataract surgery is superb. With cataract surgery, the wonderful thing is that we can generally put an artificial lens in your eyes that not only replaces your cloudy natural lens, but it potentially allows you to see clearly without any glasses for distance and near objects. Multifocal lenses are now available (Vivity, Eyehance, Panoptix, and Symfony) that are just amazing. They have a “built in bifocal“ that allows you to see distant objects clearly and near objects as well. The lens does not require you to move your head at all. You just see clearly. They are amazing and have improved drastically in the past five years with newer models allowing a bigger range of vision. They are sometimes called “EDOF” which stands for extended depth of field. This allows you to see objects at nearly any distance without difficulty.

How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

This is highly variable, as I described in the paragraphs above. However, with modern techniques which include laser assisted cataract surgery and modern phacoemulsification which allows the ophthalmologist to perform minimally invasive cataract surgery in just a few minutes. I use a 2.8mm incision that is created with a laser, not a blade. There are no sutures, no blade, no pain, no blood, and potentially no eye drops. It’s all done in usually under ten minutes. In the usual surgery, most people have 20/20 uncorrected vision the next day. The vision will still be slightly foggy, but most people have vision that would allow them to drive without difficulty the next day, although we always recommend having someone drive you to your follow up appointments until cleared by the surgeon. It is still surgery however, and sometimes it’s foggier than this. Discuss with your surgeon any factors that might make your case more challenging.

Poor vision after cataract surgery

A lot of times, poor vision is in the “eye” of the beholder. It is important for you to discuss your expectations with your cataract surgeon to make sure that what you are expecting is the same as what the surgeon expects for you.

Depending on the choice of your intraocular lens, you may still need glasses for distance and near objects, near objects only, or no glasses at all.

  • If you choose a single vision lens: you’ll need glasses for distance and near objects
  • If you choose a toric lens: you’ll need glasses for near objects only (reading glasses)
  • If you choose a multifocal lens: No glasses!

Your vision will tend to improve for days to weeks afterwards. Occasionally, I will have a patient that still says their eye is slightly tender a month after his/her surgery. Cataract surgery is still surgery, and it takes time to recover. In reality, your eyes are probably healing for more than a month after cataract surgery, although your vision may be nearly immediately better. In response to the question “How long does it take for the eye to heal after cataract surgery?“ or “How long after cataract surgery can you see?” The answer is: it depends. As long as the surgery goes well, I am generally not concerned with the vision on day one because I know it will get better. I know it can create anxiety however, so I do my best to reassure my patients when they have concerns.

Modern day cataract surgery is amazing. We are able to do things and achieve results that are better, safer, less traumatic, offer a quicker recovery, and better vision for both distance and near vision and without any need for glasses. Schedule your evaluation for laser assisted cataract surgery with SharpeVision at:

Dr. Matthew Sharpe- Founder of SharpeVision

Dr. Matthew R. Sharpe

Dr. Matthew Sharpe is an Ophthalmologist specializing in refractive surgery and the owner SharpeVision MODERN LASIK & LENS, with offices in Seattle, Austin, and Chicago. Dr. Sharpe is a world traveler, pianist, marathon runner, motorcyclist, and fluent French speaker. He enjoys every second of life, but finds he is happiest at home cheering on The Ohio State Buckeyes with his wife, three children, and four dogs.
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