When Can You Wear Mascara After Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery removes cloudy lenses and replaces them with artificial implants to restore clear vision. While this common outpatient procedure has a quick recovery for most, it is best to wait 2-3 weeks before applying eye makeup to avoid potential risks while the eye fully heals. During this time, keep the area clean and moisturized with prescribed drops as needed.

Once the incision has mostly healed with no pain or redness, light makeup can be used if all traces are thoroughly before sleep. However, check with your surgeon in case of any issues. Some good options at this point include water-based mascara and conditioning eyeliners, applying carefully to avoid irritation.

What is Cataract Surgery?

It is a common outpatient procedure performed to remove the cloudy lens of the eye that has developed a cataract. A cataract occurs as the eye ages and the lens becomes progressively cloudy, impairing vision. Surgery aims to restore clear vision by removing the damaged lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).

Can You Wear Makeup After Cataract Surgery?

For most patients, it is generally safe to wear light makeup around 2-3 weeks after cataract surgery once the eye has mostly healed. However, certain makeup types and applications require extra care in the initial post-op period due to infection risks and eye irritation potential.

What to Consider Before Wearing Makeup

  • Healing time: Allow the eye adequate time to recover fully before applying makeup.
  • Bacteria: Use only freshly cleaned and disinfected makeup to avoid introducing bacteria near the surgical site.
  • Irritation: Some makeup ingredients can irritate sensitive eyes. Do a patch test before using.
  • Skills: It may be difficult to apply makeup well to the operated eye immediately after surgery.

Post-Surgery Care Guidelines

Follow your ophthalmologist’s guidelines for safe activity levels and precautions after surgery. Most recommend avoiding eye makeup for 1-2 weeks to minimize the risk of infection while the eye heals.

Eye Discomfort or Irritation

If the eye becomes red, irritated, or painful after applying makeup, it likely contains an irritating ingredient. Discontinue use until the eye feels better.

Recovering From Cataract Surgery

The first week after cataract surgery focuses on minimizing risks like infection while the eye heals. Stick to lubricating drops and rest. Avoid dust, smoke, and heavy tasks. Wear sunglasses or a protective shield when outside.

7 Things Not To Do After Cataract Surgery


Driving may be unsafe until vision clears up, advised on average 1-2 weeks after surgery.

Wear Makeup

Light makeup use can begin around 2 weeks with care for infection risks.

Perform Any Strenuous Activity

Avoid heavy lifting, bending, or straining the eye while it recovers fully.

Go Near Dusty Areas

Dust can irritate the eye and increase infection risk in early recovery.


Chlorine and other pool chemicals may irritate a healing eye. Wait 2-4 weeks.

Forget To Wear Sunglasses Outside

Protect the eye from UV damage, wind, debris, and excessive light until fully recovered.

Rub Your Eye

Gently pat dry tears to avoid scratching or disrupting the healing process.

Do’s and Don’t About Makeup After Cataract Surgery

  • Do use only freshly cleaned makeup tools disinfected with alcohol or makeup brush cleaner.
  • Don’t dig brushes or fingers into old, shared makeup where bacteria can grow.
  • Do moisturize eyelids beforehand to minimize tugging.
  • Don’t rub or poke at the eye area which is still sensitive.

What are the best products to use after cataract or RLE surgery?

Here are the best products to use after cataract or RLE surgery:

Eye-make up remover

Gentle makeup remover is important for completely removing makeup to avoid irritation.

Magnifying mirror

A magnifying mirror helps apply makeup precisely near the delicate eye area.

Lubricating eye drops

Use drops frequently to moisturize and soothe dry or irritated eyes as needed.

Best mascara after cataract surgery

Look for a gentle, lightweight formula in water-based or conditioning mascaras that won’t clump or flake. Curling lashes are usually not recommended right after surgery.

Wearing Eye Make-up After Cataract Surgery

While light eye makeup can generally be resumed 2-3 weeks after cataract surgery, it’s best to confirm timing with your ophthalmologist based on your healing progress and any post-op care instructions. Patience and preventative care will lead to the best outcome.

When Can You Wear Make-up After Cataract Surgery?

For most patients without complications, light eye makeup can be applied 2-3 weeks after cataract surgery once the eye has mostly healed. However, wait longer if your surgeon recommends it or if your eye remains sensitive or irritated. Always remove makeup thoroughly before bedtime to avoid infection.

When Can I Wash My Hair After Cataract Surgery?

You can wash your hair as normal 1-2 days after cataract surgery once any eye pads or dressings have been removed. Avoid getting soapy water or shampoo directly in the eye, and use caution rinsing near the eye for 5-7 days until fully healed.

How long after cataract surgery can I wear mascara and other eye makeup?

In general, it’s best to wait 2-3 weeks after cataract surgery before wearing eye makeup like mascara, eyeliner, or eyeshadow. At this point, the surgical incision has usually healed well enough to minimize infection risk with proper precautions like clean tools and removal before sleep. Confirm the timing with your ophthalmologist.

Final Thoughts

While light eye makeup may seem like a simple pleasure after cataract surgery restores clear vision, prioritizing proper healing is most important. With care and your doctor’s guidance, enjoying makeup can safely resume within a few weeks for most patients. Protecting the eye during recovery leads to the best long-term outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks of wearing makeup after cataract surgery?

The main risks are introducing bacteria that could lead to infection, or irritating eye drops through makeup. Use only freshly cleaned tools and remove all traces of makeup before bedtime.

Are there any special considerations when wearing makeup after cataract surgery?

Yes, be gentle when applying makeup around the eye, avoid tugging the skin, and watch for signs of irritation. It may take practice to apply well to the surgically repaired eye.

How soon after cataract surgery can I apply makeup safely?

For most patients, 2-3 weeks is sufficient healing time before light makeup use. Always discuss timing with your ophthalmologist based on your symptoms and care instructions.

Can I wear mascara 2 weeks after cataract surgery?

For many patients, wearing lightweight, water-based mascara is generally safe at the 2-week point once vision has stabilized and provided no irritation occurs. Always remove it before sleep.

How do you remove mascara after cataract surgery?

Use a gentle eye makeup remover and soft cotton pads to dissolve and lift mascara cleanly from lashes without rubbing or tugging the delicate skin. Rinsing with lukewarm water also helps thoroughly remove residue.

Leave a Comment