Why Do I Have Dry Eyes After Cataract Surgery?

Have you recently had or are expecting cataract surgery? In this blog, we’ll be explaining why you can have dry eyes after the surgery, as well as symptoms and treatment.

Can cataracts be caused by dry eyes?

No! Cataracts can’t be caused by dry eyes.[1] However, dry eyes can be caused by cataract surgery.

A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye. Over time, cataracts can make your vision blurry and even lead to sight loss.[2]

The main causes of cataracts are:

  • Aging [3]
  • Genetics
  • Diabetes
  • Serious eye injury
  • Steroids
  • Eye surgery
  • Radiation treatment [4]

Smoking, drinking too much alcohol and spending a lot of time in the sun can also increase your chances of having cataracts.

If you have cataracts, your doctor might suggest surgery. For this, the doctor will remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new, artificial lens.[5]


Woman having eye exam


Why do I have watery eyes after cataract surgery?

Watery eyes are a symptom of Dry Eye Syndrome, which is common in people that have had cataract surgery. In fact, in a study published in the National Library of Medicine, 42% of participants who had cataract surgery reported Dry Eye symptoms.

Cataract surgery can cause dry eyes because it can make the lipid layer of the eye thinner. The lipid layer stabilises the tear film, so if this is affected it can cause dry eyes.

Dry eyes after cataract surgery can also be caused by corneal nerve damage, light exposure and inflammation. [2]


Cataract treatment after surgery


Symptoms of Dry Eye after cataract surgery

Did you know 1 in 4 people have Dry Eye Syndrome?

Symptoms of Dry Eye after cataract surgery include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Aching eyes
  • Eyes feel heavy
  • Eyes feel sore
  • Eyes feel gritty or sandy
  • Eyes are red
  • Eyes are blurry
  • Feeling fatigued

For more symptoms of dry eyes, visit our web page: Symptoms of Dry Eye


Will Dry Eye go away after cataract surgery?

Dry Eye symptoms after cataract surgery can often be temporary. With treatment, dry eyes can even disappear within a few months! However, the length of symptoms can depend on which treatment works for you.[6]


Can you have cataract surgery with dry eyes?

Yes, cataracts can be removed if you have Dry Eye! However, dry eyes can make your recovery longer because moisture is what helps your eyes heal.[7]


What cataract lens is best for dry eyes?

If you have any concerns with dry eyes and cataract lenses, ensure that you speak to your doctor. Your doctor can help you find the best lens for you, from long-sight lenses to near-sight lenses.


Best drops for dry eyes after cataract surgery

After your cataract surgery, your doctor may prescribe you the best eye drops to take. These will help your eyes to heal and prevent infection.[8] Other eye drops and treatments can often be used alongside your prescribed drops. To find out whether you should opt for eye drops or eye gel for dry eyes, read our helpful resource: Eye Drops vs Eye Gel for the Treatment of Dry Eyes


For more information about conditions related to dry eyes, visit our blog: 6 Conditions that Cause Dry Eye.


In most cases, the best way to treat dry eyes, Also known as dry eye syndrome, is to use eye gel or eye drops.

VisuXL Gel® is a preservative-free smart gel lubricant for dry eye syndrome. It provides comfort in a bottle with it’s long-lasting lubrication properties giving 12-hour dosing with just one drop and is suitable for both day and night use.

VisuXL® is a preservative-free eye drop lubricant for dry eye syndrome. Due to its unique ingredients, VisuXL® will help you recover from eye surgery, an injury or persistent damaging dry eye.

VisuEvo® is a preservative-free eye drop that prevents excessive evaporation of the tear film. Its unique formula contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, Vitamins A and D and ultra-filtered phospholipids that facilitate tear film presentation and control evaporation.

All three products are contact lens-friendly and can be used for 180 days after opening.

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  1. MacGregor, S. ‘Tears Are Not Enough: Understanding Dry Eye Disease And How To Tackle It’, YouAreUNLTD, 19/05/20. Accessed April 2023.
  2. Nunez, K. ‘Is It Normal to Have Dry Eyes After Cataract Surgery?’, Healthline, 20/10/21. Accessed April 2023.
  3. NHS, ‘Cataract Surgery’, 09/02/21. Accessed April 2023.
  4. National Eye Institute, ‘Causes of Cataracts’, 04/01/23. Accessed April 2023.
  5. National Eye Institute, ‘Cataracts’, 13/01/23. Accessed April 2023.
  6. Sissons, B. ‘Why do I have dry eyes after cataract surgery?’, Medical News Today, 14/07/21. Accessed April 2023.
  7. Berg Feinfield Vision Correction, ‘Can Having Dry Eyes Stand in the Way of Cataract Surgery?’, 29/05/20. Accessed April 2023.
  8. NHS, ‘Recovery – Cataract surgery’, 09/02/21. Accessed April 2023.
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