Well, that depends upon what you mean by "can I read?"
If, by "can I read?" you mean "is it OK to read with reading glases?" then most people are able to read within a couple of days after surgery. It would be difficult to read (even with glasses) the afternoon of surgery simply because the eye is still dilated. Of course, the non-operated eye might be able to read if it is otherwise healthy.
If what you really mean is "can I read without glasses?" then the answer will depend upon what intraocular lens (IOL) you chose to have implanted in the eye. There are many different types of IOLs available (some covered by insurance, some not) that allow for good reading vision after cataract surgery. The pros and cons of the various IOLs are too complext to describe in a single post such as this one.
I believe it is important for patients considerting cataract surgery to have a balanced view of the options available with modern cataract surgery. That is why I have published a book about cataract surgery on Amazon.com (all proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to a charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of blindness). For more information go to www.cataract-book.com
After cataract surgery, the time your eyes rest more, the better. So at the beginning of surgery finished, we do not suggest you to read. If must, you can read but do not spend too much time. However, the beginning is a very important recover period, you should take care of your eyes after reading. You can always use anti-biotic eyedrops to stop it from a dry condition.
Well, generally speaking, I think you can have reading after one week. As we know that the first week is the most essential week which can affect the vision recovery of your eyes. So just be patient. And also, you should know that it is can be dangerous if you use your eyes which have been made surgery, it can hurt them, for your eyes are sensitive and fragile. And when you read book, you have to focus your eyes on the point for a long time. Then it can lead to eye strains. In some serious cases, it can cause dry eyes, or pink eyes. Anyway, you are not supposed to do that. Besides, you should not do exercises like jumping, running which can lead to serious result. Just be careful about your eyes. Having a good rest is effective for your eyes.
After the cataract surgery, you should not read immediately which may be bad for your vision. You'd better read after a month of the basic recovery from the cataract surgery. If not, your eye nerves will intense which may hinder the recovery of your cataract surgery. You should have a good rest for the eyes.