What happens before the surgery?

When can I eat before cataract surgery?

Generally, you can eat up until midnight the night prior to your surgery. In other words, no breakfast allowed including fluids such as milk or coffee. If your surgery is to take place later in the day, your surgeon may specify a different time. Please remember to not eat breakfast the morning of your procedure. It can be very frustrating to go through all the preparation and then have your procedure cancelled or do the surgery with no sedation because you ate.

Since I am fasting, should I take my regular medications as usual the morning of my procedure?

Yes, you should take your medications as usual unless directed to do otherwise by your surgeon. Many times, patients will arrive at the surgery center without having taken their medications and their blood pressure or blood sugar is elevated. In most cases, we are able to normalize these levels and perform the surgery as scheduled, but occasionally surgery is cancelled due to high blood pressure or blood sugar. If you need to take medications in the morning, drink only a sip of water with the medications.

If you are taking eye drops for glaucoma, it is very important to use them as usual unless your surgeon instructs you to do otherwise.

Do I need to start eye drops before the surgery?

Most eye surgeons recommend that their patients start their medicated eye drops a few days before cataract surgery. There are several reasons that this may be beneficial. The antibiotic eye drop may decrease the number of bacteria living around your eye and reduce the risk of infection. The anti-inflammatory and steroid drops may help your eye to be more comfortable and heal quickly if started before the procedure. Finally, by starting the medications before your surgery, you will have a few days to work at any medication problems such as formulary restrictions or a pharmacy that needs to order the medication for you. If you are unable to start the medications prior to the surgery, do not be concerned. You are likely to have great results from the surgery even if the drops are started that day. Occasionally we get phone calls with panicked patients thinking that their surgery needs to get canceled because they forgot to take the eye drops.

Which eye drops should I purchase?

It is almost impossible to keep track of each insurance company and the medications that they include on their formulary. Because of this, different people may require alternate medications for their surgery. We would like your help in finding out what medications your insurance plan covers. Use the chart below to see the recommended medications, and call your insurance company (the number is usually on the back of your card) to find out your expected cost for each option. You will then be able to instruct your pharmacy on which medication you would like to fill. You will need one antibiotic and one anti-inflammatory. Our recommendation is Zymaxid and Bromday. If you have financial issues that require the lowest cost medication you will most likely end up with ofloxacin and ketorolac.

Drug Name




Your Cost

Zymaxid Antibiotic No +++  
Vigamox Antibiotic No ++  
Ofloxacin Antibiotic Yes +  
Bromday Anti-inflammatory No +++  
Bromfenac Anti-inflammatory Yes ++  
Nevanac Anti-inflammatory No ++  
Ketorolac Anti-inflammatory Yes +  

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