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Food Not To Eat After Cataract Surgery: A Quick List!

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Cataract surgery is a common procedure that aims to restore clear vision by removing the clouded natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). While the surgery itself is generally safe and effective, the recovery process requires careful attention, including the foods you consume. Certain dietary choices can aid in healing, while others may potentially hinder the recovery process or cause complications.

By making informed dietary decisions, you can optimize your recovery and ensure the best possible outcome for your vision.

Key takeaways:

Cataract surgery is a common procedure used to treat cataracts, which are a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision.
After cataract surgery, it’s essential to be mindful of your diet and there are certain food items that you need to avoid completely from your list.
It’s essential to consume foods that are gentle on the eyes and promote healing after the procedure.

What Is Cataract Surgery?

A cataract is a condition that occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded or opaque, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial lens implant, known as an intraocular lens (IOL). This procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.

Cataract Surgery

During the surgery, a small incision is made in the eye, and the clouded lens is carefully removed. The artificial lens implant is then inserted into the vacant lens capsule, where it will remain permanently. The incision is self-sealing and typically does not require stitches.

Cataract surgery is generally safe and effective, with a high success rate in restoring clear vision. However, proper postoperative care, including dietary considerations, is essential for a smooth and successful recovery.

Foods To Avoid After Cataract Surgery

While a balanced and nutrient-rich diet is essential for recovery after cataract surgery, there are certain foods that should be avoided to minimize the risk of complications and ensure optimal healing. Here are some foods to steer clear of:

1. Spicy and acidic foods

Spicy and highly acidic foods, such as hot peppers, citrus fruits (with the exception of oranges), and tomato-based sauces, can irritate the eyes and potentially cause discomfort or delay healing.

2. Sugary and processed foods

Excessive consumption of sugary and processed foods can contribute to inflammation and potentially slow down the healing process.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol can dehydrate the body and potentially interfere with the healing process. It’s best to avoid alcohol consumption until your doctor gives you the green light.

4. Caffeine

While moderate caffeine consumption may be acceptable, excessive intake can potentially increase eye pressure and disrupt sleep patterns, both of which can hinder recovery.

5. Salty and crunchy foods

Salty and crunchy foods, such as chips and pretzels, can potentially cause eye discomfort or irritation during the healing process.

6. Raw or undercooked meats and eggs

These foods may contain harmful bacteria that can pose a risk of infection, which should be avoided during the recovery period.

Also read: How Do You Use Eye Tightening Cream? Say Goodbye To Puffy Bags!

Beneficial Foods To Eat After Cataract Surgery

While certain foods should be avoided after cataract surgery, there are many nutrient-rich options that can aid in the healing process and support overall eye health. Here are some beneficial foods to consider:

1. Leafy green vegetables: Spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that can protect the eyes from oxidative stress and promote healthy vision.

2. Citrus fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are excellent sources of vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in wound healing and collagen production, both of which are essential for recovery after surgery.

3. Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce swelling and promote healing.

4. Fatty fish: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and also fish oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect eye health.

5. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E, which can help protect the eyes from free radical damage and support overall eye health.

6. Water: Staying hydrated is crucial for the healing process, as it helps flush out toxins and supports the body’s natural healing mechanisms.


Cataract surgery is a common and effective procedure that can restore clear vision, but proper postoperative care is essential for a successful recovery. While certain foods can aid in the healing process and support overall eye health, there are others that should be avoided to minimize the risk of complications.

By incorporating nutrient-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, berries, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds into your diet, you can provide your body with the necessary nutrients to support healing and promote eye health. At the same time, it’s crucial to steer clear of spicy and acidic foods, sugary and processed items, alcohol, excessive caffeine, salty and crunchy snacks, and raw or undercooked meats and eggs.

Remember, every individual’s recovery process is unique, and it’s essential to follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider. If you have any concerns or questions about your dietary choices during the recovery period, don’t hesitate to consult with your eye doctor or a qualified nutritionist.

By making informed dietary decisions and following your healthcare provider’s recommendations, you can optimize your recovery and enjoy the benefits of clear, restored vision after cataract surgery.


1. What is the best food to eat after cataract surgery?

Some of the best foods to eat after cataract surgery include leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits (like oranges), berries, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, and plenty of water. These foods are rich in nutrients that can support the healing process and promote overall eye health.

2. Can I drink coffee after cataract surgery?

Moderate coffee consumption may be acceptable after cataract surgery, but it’s best to avoid excessive caffeine intake. Caffeine can potentially increase eye pressure and disrupt sleep patterns, both of which can hinder recovery.

3. What not to drink after cataract surgery?

It’s recommended to avoid consuming alcohol during the recovery period after cataract surgery. Alcohol can dehydrate the body and potentially interfere with the healing process.

4. How many days of rest are needed after cataract surgery?

The amount of rest required after cataract surgery can vary from individual to individual, but most people are advised to take it easy for at least a few days to a week. Your eye doctor will provide specific instructions on the recommended duration of rest and when you can resume normal activities.

5. How soon can you sleep on your side after cataract surgery?

It’s generally recommended to avoid sleeping on the side of the operated eye for at least a week or as advised by your eye doctor. Sleeping on your back or the non-operated side is preferred to prevent any pressure or rubbing on the surgical site, which could potentially delay healing or cause complications.


WebMD (2005-2024) What to Expect From Cataract Surgery Available online at: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/cataracts/what-to-expect-from-cataract-surgery

MedlinePlus (n.d) Cataract removal Available online at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002957.htm

Harvard Health (2024) Cataract surgery: What to expect before, during and after Available online at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/cataract-surgery-what-to-expect-before-during-and-after

Michael Bennett

Dr. Michael Bennett is a board-certified ophthalmologist with over 15 years of experience performing eye surgery and treating diseases of the eye. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute where he served as Chief Resident.

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