How Soon Can You Drive after Undergoing Cataract Surgery?

January 31, 2017 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Cataract Surgery Eye Care

The vantage point of a person behind the wheel of a car at night after undergoing cataract surgeryOne of the most commonly asked questions among those who undergo cataract treatment at Byrd Eye Clinic is “How soon after surgery will I be able to drive?” This is an understandable question considering that most of our cataract surgery patients lead extremely full and active lifestyles and cannot spare days, let alone weeks, for downtime.

In discussing the issue of driving after cataract surgery during consultations at his Detroit, MI eye care center, Dr. Thomas Byrd is able to provide patients with generally good news. In most cases, patients are able to resume driving within a few days, and often the very next day, after undergoing cataract surgery. However, he is careful to add that this is not true of all patients and that there are several factors that could influence how soon an individual patient is able to resume driving.

What will your recovery from cataract surgery be like? To find out, we encourage you to schedule your initial cataract surgery consultation with Dr. Thomas Byrd at Byrd Eye Clinic today.

When Can You Drive after Cataract Surgery?

First, it is important to note that no patient is allowed to drive himself or herself home on the day of his or her surgical appointment. Even if you were to achieve excellent visual acuity that quickly after the removal of your cataract-affected natural lenses and subsequent placement of your artificial intraocular lenses, or IOLs, you would still be feeling the effects of your anesthesia. Therefore, you will need to arrange to have someone drive you to and from your cataract surgery appointment.

After 24 hours have passed, you will technically be allowed to drive if:

  • You can see well enough to operate a vehicle according to the laws of the state of Michigan, and
  • You feel comfortable enough with your vision to drive.

While you may be eager to resume driving, you will want to make a decision that takes into account both your safety and the safety of others. Obviously, if you cannot see well enough to drive, then you must wait until your visual acuity improves to resume driving. However, even if your vision is adequate for driving, you will also want to consider whether:

  • Any swelling you are experienced from cataract surgery has diminished to the point that it will not interfere with your ability to see clearly. If swelling does interfere with the clarity of your vision, wait for it to subside before you resume driving.
  • You will require corrective lenses to augment your IOL prescription in order to achieve your best possible vision. Even premium IOLs do not guarantee that you will no longer require glasses or contact lenses.
  • Increased sensitivity to light might interfere with your ability to drive comfortably. Increased light sensitivity is a common, albeit temporary, side effect of cataract surgery.

Learn More about Driving after Cataract Surgery

To learn more about driving after cataract surgery, or to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Thomas Byrd, please contact Byrd Eye Clinic today.

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