Did you Know?
Cooking after Cataract surgery may increase eye pressure due to excessive heat and/or bending over in the kitchen and cause your incision to leak, resulting in a delay in healing your eyes instead use protective glasses or eye shields while basic cooking.
Are you about to get your Cataract surgery done?
Is Navratri, Dussehra, or Durga Puja approaching, where you usually cook puri, chana, aloo, halwa, kheer, khichdi, baigan bhaja, and fried pakodis?
OR Is it the 5 days of the Diwali festival around the corner, where you usually make chakli, matri, chivda, gunjia, gulgule, puri, sweets, laddoos, and Shakar pare?
OR is it Christmas when you usually enjoy your best-baked plum cakes and sweets?
OR Is it Raksha Bandhan or Bhai Dhuj, where you usually cook and bake exotic dishes to impress your brother and his family and win the hearts of all your near and dear ones?
OR is it your new year celebrations, where you usually cook your best dishes?
A big Yes!
This year how about enjoying the festivities and celebrations in a different style, seeing and taking part in the decorations, hearing the sounds of the bells ringing and the drums beating, feeling the positivity of the festival everywhere around you, and merging yourself in prayers and spend a lovely time with your near and dear ones and friends and build memories for life?
Then this year how about GIFTING yourself by getting rid of blurred vision forever and how about taking a short two-week break from cooking/baking and taking a rest from the kitchen?
And this year enjoy giving instructions, teaching your near and dear ones, delegating to maids or help, and getting the cooking on the stove, frying, baking, and running around in the kitchen done by someone else, while you sit around and help with out of the kitchen activities, for at least two weeks.
One of my patients had damaged her eyes due to working in the kitchen in front of hot steam, and burning oil, rushed to me, which was taken care of and attended to, which was due to the leaking of her incision and took a very long time for her to heal after that.
Cataracts may impair your ability to cook, so it’s equally important for you and your near ones to get your blurred vision corrected by replacing your blurred lens with a new Intraocular lens, which will help in better vision and aid in cooking your favorite dishes loved by all forever.
Many patients especially Cooks and Professional Chefs, who cook for either personal or professional commitments, are eager to know whether they can cook immediately after their cataract surgery. I thought it important to bring to your awareness how important it is to avoid cooking immediately after cataract surgery.
Planning your cooking after cataract surgery
Regular and day-to-day activities can be resumed in a day or two. But cooking in the kitchen which may require bending, heavy lifting of utensils, working in front of steam, and hot oil should be given at least two weeks to heal before getting back to cooking as before.
You might expect family, friends, and colleagues to visit you after cataract surgery. It may be tempting to show off your creativity while they visit you and make them taste your recipes. If you are a grandmother, it is normal to feel tempted to do so for your cute little grandchildren and other family members. It is best advised to take rest for at least two weeks before you can be creative again in the kitchen.
Cooking after cataract surgery at home vs outside Food?
It is also normal to have the urge to eat a self-made home-cooked healthy all-around meal but believe me it is absolutely Ok to have basic meals including fruits, salads, juices, milkshakes, no heat cooking, cereals, with milk, curd, and yogurt depending on your dietary patterns.
Alternatively, you can see if you can arrange for some help or a family member who will help you out with cooking for two weeks after your cataract surgery. This is one of the best options. You will not only get healthy home-cooked meals but also get enough rest to heal faster.
There are other options such as ordering food from restaurants, home-cooked food from nearby cloud kitchens, taking away from close by food joints, or going out to eat every day till you are fully healed for at least two weeks.
Why is it important to take rest from cooking after cataract surgery?
You may also experience some fatigue during recovery time and may be difficult to cook regularly for every meal.
Cooking is enjoyable for you but can affect healing if you start cooking immediately after cataract surgery, so waiting for at least 15 days will be very beneficial for you.
Cooking is not at all dangerous but better to avoid bending or lifting heavy utensils. Bending forward or lifting heavy weights may lead to extra irritation in your eyes, which may lead to excessive eye pressure and might damage your eyes.
Certain Cooking activities are unsafe.
Cooking is a short-term issue for just two weeks, till you heal completely enough to start cooking as before.
Even once the cataract is removed and replaced, it takes time to heal before you can start extensive cooking.
Did you know that the tiny incisions made during cataract surgery are completely watertight? Without any stitches or sutures, it makes recovery faster. But even watertight cataract incisions can potentially leak. This can happen if the pressure inside the eye goes up. After all, if you remember from physics, pressure likes to flow from high pressure to low pressure.
Be conservative and avoid any potential issues as much as possible.
Whenever you have Closer contact with the vessel on the stove, there is increased risk to your eyes.
Lubricants are used to avoid dryness of the eyes, and any kind of ingredients or mirch masalas in the kitchen, if flies into your eyes due to the speed of the fan or while tempering or seasoning, may cause excessive dryness, and also increase the risk of eye lubricants getting mixed with the unwanted dust particles, resulting in unpleasant experience with damaged eyes.
When an onion is sliced or diced or cuts into small pieces, the onions release some form of acid in the air, that irritates the nerves around the eyes thereby making you cry and making the eyes very sensitive and may not be safe for the eyes after cataract surgery
Cooking after cataract surgery what not to do
Bending forward in the kitchen
Lifting heavy utensils
Cutting and chopping using knives
Exposing your eyes to heat, steam, or water vapor
Maintaining close contact with stoves while food is being cooked
Grinding of masalas or chilli powder or any kind of ingredients.
Can bending while cooking in the kitchen be avoided?
Do you often bake a cake for your near and dear ones or eat baked dishes such as baked potatoes, baked lasagne, pizza, or pasta?
Only if your oven is mounted high at the waist level, you will not have to bend down to keep and remove the utensils from the oven.
Similar is the case with Dishwasher loading and unloading. You have to actually arrange all the utensils in the dishwasher compartment-wise, thus dropping dishes from a height into the dishwasher doesn’t work.
The kitchen racks are often designed in such a way so as to utilize each and every corner of the kitchen space to its entirety. There are Ingredients or cookware stored in the bottom cabinet or pantry or back of the cabinet so as to differentiate their storage requirements in the best possible way.
There is a general tendency to bend over to find or fetch something but squat down instead of bending over to avoid pressure building in your eyes.
It’s best to ask for help or keep help, especially for two weeks immediately after cataract surgery.
Is it possible to cook without lifting heavy utensils?
Have you ever spent hours simmering on the stovetop to create an amazing soup or Biryani? Delicious right?
Iron cookwares are sometimes very heavy to pick up and so makes the picking up of cookware containing litters of soup, lentils, dal, kadi, and any type of liquid very heavy to pick up.
Similar is the case for even lighter pans if held for longer periods can be heavy.
It is very important to take care to avoid any kind of activity which puts pressure on the eyes that causes the tight incision in the eye to leak.
The best is to stick to lightweight pans, ingredients, recipes, and baking sheets, which can make it much easier for you, especially after your cataract surgery.
Dangers In the Kitchen
A kitchen is generally a small place as compared to all other spaces of the house, where there is continuous Hand-eye coordination required along with the complete concentration of the mind on what’s being cooked, boiled, and fried on the stove. Since your eyes are in recovering stage after cataract surgery, your eyes may not be completely supportive.
Knives are an important tool in the kitchen. When you have to make any dish, everything starts with cutting and chopping vegetables. You need to be careful while using knives and avoid hurting yourself.
It is absolutely normal to come across any accident while cooking in the kitchen, which may be totally out of ignorance due to steam, heat, or water vapor.
Correct Reading glasses will prevent your vision from hindering you from performing complex cooking tasks.
5 top activities to avoid in the kitchen after cataract surgery
Cooking in the kitchen is great fun especially when you enjoy cooking.
5 things to avoid in the kitchen after cataract surgery
Hot steam- No water to enter your eyes while bathing and even while cooking. Steam rising during cooking may enter your eyes while you are leaning over the stove. May increase the risk of infections.
The cooker whistle also releases instant steam during the cooking process and also when opened quickly after food is cooked, from the safety valve on the top of the cooker lid. This is because steam is created while the water inside the cooker gets heated.
Heat- it is the main source of energy in the kitchen. Heat dries up the eyes, and leads to infections and irritation. So, it’s important to avoid your eyes getting dried so that you don’t rub them.
oil spatter can cause harm and irritation—Fried food is everyone’s favorite right from pakodis, puris, Wadas, and gulab jamun. Hot oil could burn the eye leaving permanent damage. This could lead to incision and irritation developing.
Water droplets-Cooker also releases water droplets while cooking, if the seal on the rim is damaged or worn out.
Steam or water droplets can enter your eyes, thereby causing irritation and damage to your eyes after cataract surgery.
The best is to stay far from the cooker while food is being cooked.
Some precautions in the kitchen will be very helpful
Your eyes need time to heal as it depends on the speed of recovery, your response to surgery, line of work you are in. Your eyes are more sensitive than normal after cataract surgery.
You must avoid any kind of stress for your eyes to recover fast.
Keep your eyes dry for at least two weeks.
Keep away from Extreme heat for at least two weeks.
You might want to plan in advance by cooking before surgery, which will fulfill your hunger pangs after cataract surgery.
There is no alternative to home-cooked meals- You can follow many YouTubers for healthy and quick-to-make dishes which will help to improve your eyesight.
Take good rest after cataract surgery and avoid any risk to your eyes.
Wearing a transparent eye shield to protect your eyes will avoid direct contact of your eyes with your hands or any other harmful substance.
Keep a safe distance from the stove, cooker, boiling hot pans,
Better to precook theplas, ladoos, dry snacks before cataract surgery, which can be handy to munch along with chai, tea, coffee,
Taking the help of a helper is recommended so that she can do the heavy lifting and major cooking tasks in the kitchen while you can give instructions and garnish the dish once cooked,
Many fast-food joints are offering healthy food to cater to your health requirements, which can be evaluated after cataract surgery.
Gift yourself this festival by getting rid of cataracts in your eyes and avoiding bending, heavy lifting, keeping helper, hot steam, hot oil, avoiding sharp things, and getting your vision corrected with reading glasses.
By taking care, you can prepare delicious meals at home forever for your near and dear ones.
I would like to hear from you when are you getting your cataract surgery done and how will you make arrangements for cooking after cataract surgery.
Please feel free to know more about me on WhatsApp
Can patients cook after cataract surgery?
Yes, it is possible to do basic cooking with eye shield on or protective glasses after cataract surgery.
Can I lift a kettle after cataract surgery?
Though heavy lifting can cause excessive eye pressure, thereby causing damage to your eyes, you can lift very light kettle meant for your tea, coffee.
What is the fastest way to recover from cataract surgery?
The fastest way to recover is taking ample rest for atleast 2 weeks, avoid any kind of touch or contact with your eyes, avoid any kind of exercise which puts stress or pressure on your eyes, avoid cooking involving heat, steam and water vapor.