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Dr Jonathon Ng
May 2021

The time you will have to make the most lifestyle changes after glaucoma surgery is the first four to six weeks. 

Image of older woman with post surgery eye patch, holding up her reading glasses

This is the time needed for your eye to fully heal and the eye pressure to stabilise. The exact healing time varies so you should check with your surgeon the activities and restrictions they recommend. Most surgeons will suggest taking things easy the first one to two weeks.

In the early four to six weeks recovery period you will generally need to avoid heavy physical activity. This includes playing sports (such as ball sports, tennis and golf), gym workout, running/jogging, swimming but walking is fine. You should also avoid “bearing down” (think of the feeling of blowing out against a closed nose) which occurs when constipated or holding your nose when sneezing. You are fine to use your eyes for reading, watching television or using computer screens. Eye make-up should be avoided until the eye heals and once restarted use new make-up and never use shared make-up. Resuming driving depends on vision in both the operated and other eye. You should ask your surgeon when it is safe to drive again.

There are usually few restrictions once your eye has healed and the eye pressure has stabilised. Contact lenses should not be used due to risk of infection. Suitable eye protection to prevent injury should be worn when playing contact or ball sports, or activities where something could poke your eye such as gardening. Loose fitting goggles should be worn when swimming. The goggles should not press on the eye and ideally should have no separation between the left and right eye compartments. Some surgeons may recommend you only swim in chlorinated pools and avoid lakes or rivers to reduce infection risk.

Article by Dr Jonathon Ng
Ophthalmologist and Surgeon, MBBS BA GradDipClinEpi PhD (Dist) FRANZCO
Dr Jonathon Ng is Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia and currently serves on the Ophthalmology Committees of Glaucoma Australia and the Australian and New Zealand Glaucoma Society.