What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is the surgery required to restore vision that has become obscured due to a cataract forming. A cataract is a clouding that forms on the lens of the eye. This clouding prevents light from passing through the lens, resulting in a loss of vision.
Symptoms may include:
difficulty seeing in low or bright light
glare from lights
Cataracts develop over years and are most common in people over 60 years old. They may initially cause no symptoms, however, if left untreated, they may become larger and eventually result in blindness.
Cataract surgery involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacing with an intraocular lens implant (IOL) which can also address long or short-sightedness. Vision impairment from cataracts cannot be treated using glasses or contact lenses.
Cataract Surgery: What to Expect
Day of Surgery
Treatment begins with a consultation with the doctor performing your surgery. The overall condition of your eye will be assessed and diagnostic tests carried out to determine the intraocular lens most suitable for you.
We recommend allowing two days for surgery and recovery before returning to work or other activities. You can expect to spend 2 hours at the clinic, with surgery usually taking 10-15 minutes under local anaesthetic.
You will be provided with a comprehensive guide to ensuring the best recovery of your eyes. This will likely involve self-administering drops regularly and attending a review appointment in a few weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
▸ Is cataract surgery risky?
▹ Every surgery carries risks. However, cataract surgery complications are uncommon. More than 10% of the UK population aged over 65 have already had successful cataract surgery. Your doctor will advise you of any possible risks or complications.
▸ How quickly will I see after surgery?
▹ Your vision may be hazy immediately after surgery, with clear vision restored after 72 hours, as the dilated pupil returns to normal. However, many patients see a dramatic improvement in their vision even sooner. You may experience gritty, tired eyes, and sensitivity to light, all of which are normal and should subside within a few days.
▸ When can I drive / work / play sports?
▹ Most patients are able to return to work within a few days of surgery. If you work in a dusty environment you may be advised to refrain from returning to work for a few weeks. Patients are also usually able to drive within a few days of surgery. It is recommended to wait at least a month before returning to moderate/intense sporting activities. Please note that these are examples and you will be advised based on your individual circumstances.
▸ Will I still need glasses?
▹ The use of glasses post surgery will depend on your individual preferences and pre-operative eye condition. Presbyopia-correcting intraocular lenses may be available to you to reduce the need for distance or reading glasses. Your doctor will advise you on the most suitable lens for you and health of your eyes.