information faster using:
What is a cataract?
do I know if I have a cataract?
does cataract surgery involve?
sort of anaesthesia can I have for my surgery?
and benefits of cataract surgery
asked questions What
does the cost of my surgery include?
What is a cataract?
A cataract develops when the natural lens inside the eye becomes
cloudy. It commonly develops in people over the age of 55
years and is considered a normal part of the aging process.
Rarely some people can be born with cataracts or develop them
before that age. Many patients who develop cataracts have
otherwise healthy eyes and removing the cataract will restore
their previously good vision.
How do I know if I have a cataract?
Patients with cataracts usually find that their vision gradually
becomes cloudy and blurred. They may also find that they experience
glare when they are outside or looking at car headlights,
which makes it difficult to see properly. Occasionally patients
complain of seeing multiple images. Sometimes patients find
that they need to change their glasses frequently. Cataracts
are not painful.
The only effective treatment for cataracts is to operate to
remove them. The latest technique for removing a cataract
is called phacoemulsification surgery.
What does cataract surgery involve?
Modern cataract surgery is performed through a very small
micro-incision, which usually does not require stitches at
the end of the procedure. The incisions made in the eye seal
themselves and heal completely within a few weeks, allowing
normal activities to be resumed quickly after the surgery.
After making the incision, a small round opening is created
in the lens capsule, which surrounds the cataract. An instrument
called a phacoemulsification tip is then introduced into the
eye and this uses high-speed ultrasound waves to break the
cataract into small pieces, which can then be easily sucked
out of the eye.
When the entire cataract has been removed, a lens implant
(intraocular lens) is placed within the lens capsule to allow
the eye to focus. Lens implants are very small and are made
of highly durable materials that do not degrade over time
within the eye, so do not need to be replaced.
Lens implants come in different powers and a lens is selected
that best suits each individual patient. Additionally there
are different types of lenses, such as multifocal lenses and
accommodative lenses which can give greater freedom from glasses
after the surgery. Not all lenses are suitable for all patients
and your doctor will discuss the choice of lens with you before
the surgery to ensure you receive the lens most suited to
Some patients may have astigmatism before their surgery, which
can sometimes be reduced at the time of the operation with
small incisions in the cornea.
What sort of anaesthesia can I have for my surgery?
It is possible to have cataract surgery with a local anaesthetic
(topical or regional anaesthesia) or a general anaesthetic.
This is a very popular method for surgery, which simply uses
drops to numb the eye. Many patients prefer this method as
there are no needles used.
This involves gently injecting local anaesthetic around the
eye. After the surgery a patch is placed on the eye, which
is removed the following day.
Most patients prefer to have some mild sedation during their
surgery and of course for some people who prefer to be completely
asleep during the procedure, we can offer a full general anaesthetic
Risks and benefits of Cataract Surgery
Benefits of Cataract Surgery
The most obvious benefit of cataract surgery is to provide
greater clarity of vision. In addition most patient usually
find that colours seem brighter and more vivid.
Studies have shown that people enjoy improved quality of life
after successful cataract surgery. Many people can resume
driving and activities such as reading and sewing. Golf and
using a computer are generally easier after cataract surgery.
Risks of surgery
Modern cataract surgery is generally a safe and successful
procedure to improve vision. However there is a small risk
of developing a complication either during or following the
procedure. Complications are usually treatable, sometimes
requiring further surgery. Rarely people can develop serious
complications such as infection or retinal detachment, which
could result in visual loss. Your doctor will discuss the
risks and benefits of the surgery fully with you before the
Frequently asked questions
Is the surgery painful?
No, cataract surgery is not painful and the vast majority
of patients will have the operation as a day case procedure.
Will I see what is happening during my surgery?
If you are awake during your surgery your will notice a bright
light and various shapes but you will not be able to see the
instruments or what the doctor is doing.
What if I can’t keep still during the surgery?
Ideally you need to keep as still as possible during the surgery
but if you need to cough or sneeze, as long as you give the
doctor some warning there is usually no problem.
Will I need to wear glasses after my surgery?
Ideally, people are able to see clearly without glasses after
surgery, although many patients find that glasses may be necessary
for some activities such as reading or driving. Even people
who still need to use glasses can usually use thinner lenses
than they relied upon in the past. There are some newer types
of lenses that have been developed to try and reduce the need
for glasses completely following the surgery (Mutifocal and
In patients with high levels of astigmatism it is possible
to carry out additional incisions (LRI's) to help change the
shape of the eye, reducing astigmatism and decreasing reliance
What does the cost of my surgery include?
The cost of your surgery will depend on the type of intraocular
lens you choose to have implanted and the type of anaesthesia.
When you have discussed fully the details of your surgery
with the doctor, the price that you will be given for your
surgery is all-inclusive for routine surgery, there are no
hidden extras. The price includes the pre-operative assessment,
the surgery itself, including the cost of the lens to go into
the eye and the cost of the anaestheia. It will also include
two routine post-operative visits to see the doctor. Please
note that it does not include the cost of new glasses if required.