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Cataract Removal or Glaucoma Filtering Home Care Instructions

(757) 668-7000

Preparing for Surgery

Do not let your child eat or drink the morning of the surgery.

How you explain the surgery depends on your child's age.

  • Very young children, less than 3 years old, need a short, simple explanation the same day of the surgery.
  • School-age and older preschoolers should know that they are coming to the hospital and that while they are sleeping the doctor will fix their eye. They should know that when they wake up the parent will be there and there will be a patch or an eye shield on their eye. Talk about the patch (a folded piece of gauze and tape) a day or two before surgery, showing them one and allowing them to "play" and perhaps trying it on in front of a mirror.
  • Older children may need more in depth explanations in response to their questions.

During Surgery

During surgery a small incision is made in the eyeball. The cataract is then removed. The small incision is closed with a special small suture. The eyeball is never taken out during the surgery. Your child will be asleep during the surgery.

What to expect after surgery:

  • An eye patch or shield may be in place when your child comes out of surgery.
  • Your child's eye may be bloodshot and the lid may be swollen.
  • Your child's eye may be very sensitive to light today and a few weeks after surgery. Dark glasses may be worn to help this.
  • Using either eye is not harmful. However, until new glasses are ready, your child's vision will be blurry. Your child's eye is usually not ready for the final glasses or contact lens until about 2 months after the surgery. At times, an artificial lens is placed in the eye at the time of surgery. Ask your child's doctor about this.
  • Do not allow your child to blow their nose or rub their eyes.

Special Instructions:

    Soft elbow restraints may be used on younger children to keep them from rubbing their eye. Older children may just need them while sleeping. The restraints will be provided to you and the nurse will discuss their use with you before your child goes home.
  • Your child should not bend or lift heavy objects and should avoid bumping the operated eye. No rough play. No swimming for two weeks. No physical education or sports for 2-3 weeks. No strenuous activity for six weeks.
  • Protect the operated eye during sleep by covering it with the shield. Tape the shield securely to your child's face before bedtime. The shield should rest on the bone above and below the eye. Do this for six weeks after surgery.
  • A small amount of crusting and discharge may be present on the edge of your child's eyelid until the sutures dissolve (3-4 weeks). Clean the lids by using a warm compress. This can be done by using a clean washcloth moistened with warm water for 5-10 minutes three or four times a day.
  • Keep the eye patch or shield in place as instructed by your child's doctor.
  • Eye drops may be given in the PACU (post anethesia care unit). Eye drops should be used as directed by your doctor after surgery.

When to call your child's doctor:

  • If your child has eye pain that is not relieved by a non-aspirin pain reliever.
  • If after the eye patch or shield is removed, your child has yellow or green eye drainage.
  • If your child has a fever greater than 101.5ºF by mouth or rectally. Slight fevers after surgery are normal.
  • If your child has vomiting that lasts more than six hours or if the vomiting is severe.
  • If there are signs of dehydration. Your child can become dehydrated when he/she has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken look around eyes
  • No tears when crying
  • Decreased amount of urine, which means fewer wet diapers than usual in an infant/toddler.

Remember: Please call your doctor if you have any questions.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 04/2008

(757) 668-7000