Why We Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery - SightMD Skip to main content

January 31, 2022

By: Jeffrey Martin, MD

Why We Wear Sunglasses After Cataract Surgery

older man pulling down a pair of sunglasses

If you’ve ever had cataract surgery, one of the first things a doctor will hand you after the procedure is a pair of sunglasses. But why should you wear them? Here we lay out the reasons why we have to wear sunglasses after cataract surgery.

What are cataracts?

First you might be wondering what cataracts even are. Put simply, cataracts are what causes your eye’s natural lens to cloud over. Cataracts typically develop slowly, over the course of years even, normally when we’re over the age of 40. The main symptoms of cataracts are blurry or foggy vision.

How cataract surgery works

If it’s determined that you indeed have cataracts, then you’ll likely have to have cataract surgery. This involves replacing the natural lens which has become cloudy with an artificial lens that is clear. This artificial lens is called an intraocular lens (IOL).

Cataract surgery and sunglasses

Some IOLs have special UV coating to protect against UV rays; others, however, don’t. Either way, the surgery has still left your retina vulnerable, and even if you have an IOL with that UV coating, you’re still at risk to eye damage due to UV rays. You could even cause your cataracts to return as UV rays are one of the leading causes of cataracts. That’s why doctors recommend you wearing sunglasses outside for the first year after your surgery.

However, if you want to make sure your cataracts never return, you should be wearing sunglasses for more than that initial year. You should also make sure they offer the right protection against all of the various kinds of UV rays. 

Contact SightMD today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors to discuss your vision health at one of our convenient locations!