How Allergies Affect Cataract Surgery

Woman outside looking towards the sun

Even though you have allergies, you may still need cataract surgery as your eye’s lens naturally hardens over time, causing the cloudy vision that characterizes cataracts. As experts in non-invasive cataract removal surgery, we have some helpful tips and recommendations from Vance Thompson Vision optometrist Dr. Brooke Messer for people who deal with seasonal or year-round allergies and want to achieve clear vision.

Can I take antihistamines after cataract surgery?

Patients can take their normal antihistamines before and after cataract surgery. Anti-allergy eye drops are helpful to patients with allergies that affect their eye area. Many at-home remedies are simple and available as well.

  1. Calm the area by using a cool compress with a washcloth or eye mask.
  2. Care for the area at nighttime by frequently washing pillowcases and hair.
  3. During the week following surgery, you should not wear makeup, avoid getting water in your eyes, and lift no more than 20 pounds.
  4. After the first week post-surgery, people with allergies should be sure to thoroughly remove makeup at night.

During and after surgery, Vance Thompson Vision uses a combination eye drop that contains a steroid, which can help control an allergic response. These drops when used as prescribed after surgery also help with recovery. Allergies do not significantly affect recovery after surgery, although they could make the eye feel slightly gritty. Rest assured, cataract surgery is one of the safest procedures in medicine, even for those who struggle with general allergies.

It is not typically necessary to schedule your cataract surgery outside of allergy season though patients who are significantly affected by allergies are sometimes referred to visit their allergist to determine if an updated treatment is needed to better manage their symptoms. If allergies were causing some corneal dryness, a doctor would analyze the impact on the accuracy of pre-surgery measurements to decide whether delaying until after peak allergy season would benefit the patient outcome. Thankfully, most patients see great results no matter the time of year.

Can I use Flonase after cataract surgery?

Flonase is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory nasal spray used to treat allergies. If you already use it to manage your symptoms, continue to use it as normal. While there are usually no problems caused by this medication when it comes to cataract surgery, regular Flonase users should get their intraocular pressure (IOP) checked periodically. Because it is a steroidal medication that increases eye pressure as all steroids do, it may cause cataracts. That steroid-response increase in eye pressure comes down after decreasing or stopping use or switching to a different steroid. The good news is that most patients do not experience an increase in IOP when using Flonase.

Talk to your doctor about any allergy concerns and medications you have so they can create a treatment plan specific to you. The friendly doctors and staff at Vance Thompson Vision are always happy to answer any questions so you know exactly what to expect from your cataract procedure. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts and would like to know more about your options, please schedule a consultation with us.