Nobody likes the idea of having surgery, and the idea of it is a frightening one. However, there are many surgical procedures nowadays that have minimal impact on your life, with few risks, and you should be able to get back to your normal life fairly quickly.

If you're having surgery for cataracts, one of the benefits is that you'll quickly notice the improvement in your vision. This can sometimes make people feel as though there's no need to wait while they recover, but you should take some time to get over the surgery. In particular, you probably won't be going back to work right away.

Here's some advice on how long you should wait before you get back to your job.

Office-based jobs

As long as lifting heavy objects isn't part of the job, office workers can get back to work almost straight away. As long as you're not experiencing any residual visual disturbances, using computers, writing, typing, and reading shouldn't cause you any problems.

Bear in mind that using computers for long periods can cause eye strain, so make sure you're prepared to stop working and take a rest if you need to. You should also let your employer know you might need extra time at home, depending on your recovery.


Jobs involving driving are the most difficult to predict, and the decision on when to go back is out of your hands.

Because the risk is so high if you have lingering visual problems, a lot of caution is needed. Wait until your doctor has let you know it's safe to resume driving, which could be as soon as the day after surgery, but it might be a few weeks later.

Manual work

Lifting heavy objects and performing difficult manual work puts a lot of strain on the body. Many people need up to a month of recovery before resuming work, so check with your doctor and don't be tempted to go back to work early.

Working abroad

In the period after surgery, you will need regular check-ups and easy access to your doctor, so you should wait to leave the country until after these have all been completed. The typical timescale for these appointments is up to six weeks.

Manufacturing or laboratories

Where there's a risk of dust or liquids entering the eye, you need to be extremely cautious. It's best to wait at least a week before returning to work, and when you do, consult with your doctor on the type of eye protection you should wear.

Law enforcement or security

These demanding jobs can involve activities like running and restraining people, so it's likely you'll need to take six weeks off to recover before you go back to work. You should make sure your doctor is aware of your career so they can give you tailored advice.