If you or a loved one are preparing for cataract surgery, you’ve probably heard that wearing sunglasses afterwards is essential. But where exactly should you buy cataract surgery sunglasses? And what features should you look for in lenses and frames?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about finding the best cataract sunglasses. You’ll learn why UV protection is so important after surgery, how certain frames and lenses can aid your recovery, and where to shop for stylish, high-quality cataract eyewear both in-store and online.
Whether you’re seeking classic aviators, sporty wraparounds, or simply an affordable pair that gets the job done, we’ve got you covered. Read on for advice from eye doctors, real patient reviews, and our top sunglass picks to protect your eyes in style after your cataract procedure.
Why Sunglasses are Essential After Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that replaces the eye’s cloudy natural lens with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). It’s one of the most common and successful surgeries performed worldwide, with over 98% of patients achieving better vision post-surgery according to the National Eye Institute.
But the healing process still requires some extra care and protection for your eyes as you recover. Here’s why sunglasses are so important to wear after cataract surgery:
Sun and UV Protection for Dilated Pupils and Sensitive Eyes
During cataract surgery, your pupils are dilated with medicated eye drops. They may stay dilated for up to a week or longer afterwards. Dilated pupils let in more light, so sunglasses are needed to reduce brightness and glare.
Your eyes will also be highly sensitive to light and susceptible to UV damage during the recovery period. Sunglasses provide a physical barrier to filter out harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Reduce Glare and Light Sensitivity
Many cataract patients experience increased glare and light sensitivity after surgery, a condition called photophobia. Sunglasses with polarized or tinted lenses can drastically improve comfort by blocking excess light and reducing glare.
Protect the Delicate Eye Area and Surrounding Skin
The tissue around the eyes takes time to completely heal after any ocular surgery. Sunglasses shield the delicate eye area from dust, debris, and injury while also protecting facial skin from sun exposure. Wraparound styles offer even more comprehensive protection.
Promote Healing and Prevent Complications
Doctors strongly advise wearing sunglasses after surgery to allow the eyes to heal properly and avoid complications like macular edema. By minimizing exposure to UV and visible light, sunglasses promote surgical recovery.
Virtually all cataract surgeons recommend that patients wear UV blocking sunglasses during the post-operative recovery period to protect their eyes and prevent issues. Follow your doctor’s specific advice on how long to wear sunglasses after your procedure.
Features to Look for in Cataract Surgery Sunglasses
Not all shades are created equal when it comes to protecting your eyes post-cataract surgery. Here are the most important features to look for when shopping for cataract sunglasses:
Polarized or Tinted Lenses
Polarized lenses use a special filter to block intensely reflected light and glare. These lenses offer the best visual clarity and comfort after cataract surgery.
If you don’t opt for polarized lenses, look for tinted lenses in neutral colors like gray, brown, or amber. Tinting blocks specific light wavelengths to reduce brightness.
100% UV Protection
Lenses should block 100% of UVA and UVB radiation. This is especially important in cataract surgery sunglasses. Look for a UV 400 rating, or ask if the lenses offer full spectrum UV protection.
Full Coverage Frames
Large framed styles wrap around the eyes and offer the most protection. Prioritize full coverage when selecting cataract sunglasses frames.
Look for adjustable nose pads and temples so you can customize the fit as needed. Features like rubber temple tips and sunglass straps provide a more secure fit for active use.
Frames should feel comfortable and not place any pressure on the delicate eye area. Lightweight plastic or nylon frames are ideal for long-term wear.
Over Prescription Options
If you wear prescription glasses, you may want cataract sunglasses that comfortably fit over your existing eyewear. Some frames are designed specifically for this.
Durable frames and scratch/impact resistant lenses will hold up well to daily use. Plastic lenses like polycarbonate and Trivex provide optical clarity and strong impact resistance.
Recommended Sunglass Brands and Models for After Cataract Surgery
With so many sunglass options on the market, it can be tough to select an optimal pair for post-cataract recovery. We asked eye doctors for their top brand recommendations and found the highest-rated cataract sunglasses loved by real patients. Here are our top picks:
Oakley Holbrook Sunglasses
Featuring a classic rectangular shape with polarized or prizm lenses, the Holbrook style by Oakley is a winner. The durable, lightweight frame offers full eye coverage and customized fit. According to Dr. Abbey Mansdorf of the Eye Center of Northern Virginia, “Oakleys are a popular option with my post-cataract patients.”
Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses
This iconic Ray-Ban style has medium-large teardrop lenses set in lightweight metal frames. Offering full UV protection and polarization, these classically cool shades are a sound choice. “I recommend aviator style sunglasses with adjustable nose pads after cataract surgery,” says Dr. Janet Y. Leasher of NovaVision in Florida.
Costa Del Mar Sunglasses
From polarized performance lenses to lightweight nylon frames, Costa Del Mar makes sporty sunglasses ideal for protecting eyes post-cataract surgery. The 580 plastic lenses block glare and 100% of UV. The adjustable Explorer frame style offers side coverage.
Maui Jim Sunglasses
Maui Jim is renowned for advanced polarizedplus2 lenses that block glare and harmful rays. Patients love the Leia style for cataracts, with its rimless rectangular shape and durable nylon frames. The adjustable Twin Falls offers full wrap-around eye protection.
Randolph Engineering Sunglasses
These USA-made frames boast military grade durability. Many patients recommend the classic Randolph Aviator style, which provides full coverage with its metal teardrop frame and impact-resistant mineral glass lenses.
Smith Optics Sunglasses
Offering both unique style and performance technology, Smith Optics frames are a great alternative. The curved ChromaPop lenses offer enhanced visual clarity. The 4707 Overdrive XL frames surround the eyes in lightweight plastic and provide 100% UV protection.
No matter your personal style, there are plenty of reputable sunglass brands offering quality eye protection after cataract surgery. Consult your ophthalmologist for specific recommendations. And don’t hesitate to shop around both online and in-store to find a frame you love.
Where to Buy Post-Cataract Surgery Sunglasses
Wondering where to purchase sunglasses after cataract surgery? You have several convenient options:
At Your Ophthalmologist or Surgeon’s Office
Many eye doctors’ offices sell sunglasses, including styles approved for post-cataract recovery. Purchasing onsite allows you to try frames and immediately start protecting your eyes. Offices may also sell discounted sunglasses as a package deal with cataract surgery.
Optical Shops and Sunglass Retailers
From national chains like LensCrafters to local opticians, optical shops offer personalized service and a wide selection of sunglass brands/styles to try on in-person. Sunglass specialty stores like Sunglass Hut also carry options.
For convenience, you can purchase cataract sunglasses online through various retailers like Amazon, FramesDirect, and GlassesUSA. Compare styles and prices from the comfort of home. Just make sure to only buy from reputable websites.
Buy 1 Get 1 Sales Around Surgery Timing
Some optical shops and online retailers offer buy one get one free sunglass sales during peak cataract surgery seasons in the spring and fall. Take advantage of these discounts if you can coordinate your purchase timing.
No matter where you shop, be sure to follow your eye doctor’s suggestions for appropriate post-cataract sunglasses. Consult them on features like lens tint, polarization, UV protection, and frame style to find shades tailored to your eyes and needs. With some expert guidance and the right pair, you’ll be on the road to a successful recovery.
Caring for Your Eyes After Cataract Surgery
In addition to wearing proper sunglasses, you’ll need to take extra care while healing from cataract surgery. Follow these tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for protecting your eyes and avoiding complications:
- Wear sunglasses any time you go outside during the day, even if it’s overcast. Keep using your sunglasses for eye protection as directed by your doctor.
- Use nighttime eye protection if you experience sensitivity to lights at night. Special glasses for night driving or sleeping are available.
- Follow your ophthalmologist’s schedule for follow-up appointments to ensure your eyes are healing properly.
- Use prescribed eye drops regularly to prevent infections and reduce dryness and swelling.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes or any eye makeup for at least a week after surgery.
- Don’t go swimming or use a hot tub for 4-6 weeks after surgery.
- Take prescribed medication exactly according to your doctor’s instructions.
- Call your ophthalmologist right away if you experience any worrisome symptoms like pain, flashing lights, or vision changes.
Closely following your surgeon’s advice and protecting your eyes diligently in the first month after cataract surgery is crucial for your vision recovery. Sunglasses are a key part of the puzzle.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about sunglasses after cataract surgery, here are answers to some common FAQs:
How Long Should I Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery?
In general, you should wear sunglasses any time you are outdoors during the day for at least the first month after cataract surgery. Some ophthalmologists recommend wearing sunglasses up to two months post-surgery as your eyes continue to stabilize. Always follow your specific surgeon’s guidance.
When Can I Resume My Normal Activities Like Driving After Cataract Surgery?
Most patients can resume driving 24-48 hours after cataract surgery, but you will need to wear sunglasses when driving during the day. Your doctor will assess your vision and determine when it is safe for you to return to activities like driving.
What Sunglass Brands Do Ophthalmologists Recommend After Cataract Surgery?
Top brands often recommended by eye doctors include Oakley, Ray-Ban, Costa Del Mar, Maui Jim, Randolph Engineering, and Smith Optics. Choose a reputable brand that offers full UV protection, polarized/tinted lenses, and durable frames.
Should I Buy One Pair of Sunglasses or Multiple Pairs After Cataract Surgery?
Having 1-2 pairs is ideal in case you lose or break your sunglasses during the recovery period. Consider one pair with polarized everyday lenses and a second with dark lenses for maximum glare reduction outdoors.
How Should I Clean My Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery?
Use mild soap and water or a designated eyeglass cleaner. Avoid rough scrubbing. Instead, gently wipe the lenses and frames with a soft microfiber cloth. Also disinfect your sunglasses regularly.
What Are Signs of Complications I Should Watch For After Cataract Surgery?
Contact your ophthalmologist immediately if you have worrisome symptoms like severe pain, vision changes, swelling around the eye, flashing lights, curtain or shadow over your vision, or bleeding. Follow all post-op care instructions carefully.
The Key to a Successful Cataract Surgery Recovery
Cataract surgery sunglasses play a critical role in protecting your eyes while healing after this common outpatient procedure. With some expert input and basic knowledge on what to look for, you can find stylish, high-quality shades tailored to your needs and preferences. FROM our guidance on lens type, frame features, top brands, and where to shop, to tips on post-cataract eye care and FAQs, consider this your complete resource on where to buy the best sunglasses after cataract surgery. Wearing proper eye protection will help ensure your surgery’s success and get you back to clear vision comfortably.