Minimizing Eye Pressure After Cataract Surgery

Posted on: 25 February 2015


If you have cataracts across the lenses of your eyes, then your ophthalmologist will likely suggest surgical intervention. Generally, this is the case once one or both eye lenses become completely covered with protein deposits. Surgery can be completed with lasers and your operation will probably only take about 10 minutes to complete. Healing must occur afterwards and your eye doctor will give you a variety of aftercare instructions. You will be asked to reduce physical activity for several weeks to minimize eye pressure. This is important to make sure that damaged tissues and incisions can heal properly. There are other things you should also do to reduce eye pressure, like the suggestions below.

Reduce Corticosteroid Use

If you have an asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, allergy, or skin condition, then you may take corticosteroids to treat the illness. Corticosteroids include medications like prednisone, cortisone, and hydrocortisone. The prescriptions help to reduce inflammation in the body and this can greatly reduce pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, corticosteroids can produce a variety of side effects.  

One of these effects is increased pressure within the eye, and this can cause complications after laser cataract surgery. This occurs because the steroid medications cause resistance within the eye that reduces the ability of fluids to release from the eyeball.

If you take steroidal medications on a daily basis, reduce your dosage several weeks before and after cataract surgery to minimize pressure issues. It is not safe to stop taking corticosteroids completely though, or you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Work with your physician to taper down the medication over the course of several weeks or months instead.

Stay Away From Caffeine

Your ophthalmologist will ask you to stop exercising for a short time after your cataract operation. Exercise increases your heart rate and this elevates the pressure that surges through the small capillaries within the eyes. Caffeine also increases your heart rate, so make sure to stay away from it. Caffeine also increases blood pressure for a short period of time, and it can cause slight dehydration. Both of these things can increase eye pressure.

You should reduce your intake of coffee to decrease caffeine consumption, and you also should avoid tea, energy drinks, some NSAID pain relievers, chocolate, and soda. Once you limit your caffeine intake, make sure to drink a good deal of water. Water naturally helps to reduce eye pressure. Make sure to drink at least two liters of water throughout the day. Do not drink a large amount of fluid at one time though, or this may actually increase eye pressure.

Minimize Stress

General everyday stress can cause an increase in blood pressure and eye pressure as well. This occurs as the body produces hormones to deal with stressful situations. The cortisol and adrenaline prepare you to fight your stressor and blood pressure increases until the stressor is no longer present. It is wise to stay away from stressful situations for several weeks after your cataract surgery to minimize eye pressure.

If you are unable to avoid stressors in your life, then consider adding stress reduction tactics to your daily routine. Slow and relaxing breathing techniques can offer some assistance. So can listening to classical music throughout the day. Classical music with a slow, steady, and even tempo is best for stress relief. Use headphones to listen to the music in your car, at work, and at home. Make sure the volume is kept low though, because loud music can increase your heart rate and increase stress levels.

Cataract laser surgery is often necessary to repair damaged eye lenses. After the surgery is completed, you need to make sure that eye pressure is reduced so that tissues within the eye can heal properly. The tips above can help you with eye pressure concerns.