A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. With modern surgical techniques, you can have surgery at any stage when the cataract is affecting your daily life.
Cataract surgery involves removing your cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. It is normally performed as day surgery under local anaesthetic, so you are awake but your eye will not feel any pain. The operation usually takes approximately 15-30 minutes. Most patients do really well with numbing eye drops only but sometimes local anaesthetic injection may be required. Some patients choose to have surgery under sedation or general anaesthesia. Please discuss it during your first consultation.
Measurements were taken before the operation to decide which lens strength is right for you. The most common choice is the standard monofocal lens, which aims to make you glasses-free for distance so that you only need glasses for reading. However, there is a chance (10-20%) you will need glasses for both distance vision and reading after surgery, particularly if you have a history of astigmatism or a high refractive error.
Cataract surgery is usually very successful, with over 95 % of people noticing an improvement in their vision after surgery if there are no other pre-existing eye conditions. However, it is important to realise that there is always a risk of complications associated with any operation.
Some of the complications that may occur during the operation include:
Potential complications occurring after the operation include:
The alternative to cataract surgery is to discuss with your optician if a change in glasses can improve vision. You can delay surgery as long as you can function normally and you are getting eye checks regularly. Sometimes, cataracts can become dense after some time, which can increase the risk of cataract surgery.