Does Cataract Surgery Hurt?
There is little or no discomfort during cataract surgery.
You will be awake during the procedure, but steps are taken before and during surgery so you won't feel any pain.
In fact, it's likely you won't remember much of your cataract surgery, even though you are not "put under" general anesthesia like you are in major surgical procedures.
When you arrive on your day of surgery, you typically will be given a mild sedative to help you relax. Also, anesthetic (numbing) eye drops are applied to your eye to prevent discomfort.
In some cases, you may receive additional medication intravenously during surgery to ensure you remain comfortable, and your cataract surgeon will ask you how you are feeling throughout the procedure.
Medications used before and during your cataract procedure also might make it hard for you to remember what happened during surgery, even though you are awake the entire time.
As your medications wear off after the procedure, you might feel some minor eye discomfort. If so, this typically is mild and can be managed with short-term use of over-the-counter pain medication.
You will be given advice on how to handle any post-surgical discomfort before you leave the surgery center.
Page published in January 2019
Page updated in September 2021