Can I Wear Contacts After Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a safe and popular procedure that helps patients achieve improved vision. It involves replacing your eye’s cloudy or blurry lens with an intraocular lens (IOL). These artificial lenses eliminate or reduce dependence on glasses for most patients by thoroughly treating cataracts. Others may still need to wear contacts or glasses after the surgery to perform close-range tasks like reading. Your contact lens use after the surgery depends on factors like:

Healing Time

Wearing contacts after cataract surgery is okay, provided you give the eye enough time to heal. Wait for at least 4-6 weeks before using the contact lens after your cataract procedure. This allows your eye to heal correctly without risking infection or complications.

A cataract procedure may alter your vision as your eye adapts to the new lenses. Waiting for your eye to heal well gives your vision adequate time to stabilize so you can see properly again.

The healing time varies between patients depending on factors like age and lifestyle (e.g., smoking). If you’d like to return to wearing your contacts sooner, consult your ophthalmologist to determine when it’s safe to wear them in the corrected eye.

Your eye specialist will recommend special eye drops after the surgery. These drops help speed up the recovery process and minimize the risk of eye infection. They enter your cornea, so avoid wearing contacts as they reduce efficiency.

The doctor asks you to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes as they heal. They advise you to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes and engaging in activities that strain your eyes, like sneezing. Once the 4-6 week waiting period ends, you’re free to wear your contacts as usual.

Eye Health

Like most medical procedures, cataract surgery has a few potential side effects that may affect your recovery. Most of them impact your eye health, so avoid wearing your contacts until your eye fully heals. Some of these complications include:

  • Inflammation and infection
  • Swelling of the cornea
  • Droopy eyelid (ptosis)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Misalignment of the implanted intraocular lens
  • Posterior capsule opacity (PCO)
  • Macular edema

When you work with a qualified eye doctor, the risk of experiencing these side effects is low. These eye specialists offer preventive prescriptions like eye drops and advise you to keep your eyes healthy after a cataract procedure. Follow the instructions so that your eye heals well, then you can start wearing contacts to enjoy better vision.

Type of Intraocular Lens Implanted

The type of artificial lens used to treat your cataracts influences your need to continue using contact lenses. They replace your cloudy natural lenses to restore your vision. The IOL implanted depends on your vision before cataracts, budget, and individual goals. Here are the types of IOLs to consider:

Monofocal IOLs

These are the most common lenses used in cataract surgery to correct near-or-farsightedness. They have one focusing distance, i.e., close, medium, or distance range. If you fix your distance vision, you’ll rely on contacts or glasses for close-up tasks like reading.

Multifocal IOLs

These IOLs provide clearer vision at different distances. They let you see near and far objects without using glasses or contacts.

Accommodative IOLs

The accommodative IOLs move or change shape while inside your eye. They help you focus on various distances without contact lenses.

Toric IOLs

These IOLs are ideal for patients with astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness. The lens requires accurate placement to correct refractive error and reduce your contacts or glasses dependency.


Your optometrist implants an IOL in one eye to correct near vision and another in the other to correct distance vision. Such a combination enables you to see close and far objects without corrective lenses or reading glasses.

Consult your optometrist once your eyes heal after the cataract procedure. They’ll determine whether you still require contacts to correct your vision. If yes, they may recommend soft or hard contact lenses, depending on your needs. Unlike hard lenses, soft lenses are easy and comfortable to wear.

Contact Lens Prescription

You’ll require a new contact lens prescription as your vision will likely change after cataract surgery. Wearing your old contact prescription after the procedure may cause eye strain, headache, or blurry vision.

Visit your optometrist for an eye exam at least 4-6 weeks after your surgery. That’s when your eyes will have adequately healed, and your vision stabilized. With your new contact lens prescription, you’ll enjoy improved vision.

Schedule Your Cataract Surgery Today

Cataract surgery¬†is among the most common eye procedures in the U.S. It’s safe, simple, and effective for correcting blurry or cloudy vision caused by cataracts. After the procedure, wait for 4-6 weeks and avoid straining your eye so it heals and your vision stabilizes. Consult your eye doctor to understand when it’s safe to wear contacts and get a new prescription to improve your vision.