Cataract surgery is one of the oldest surgical procedures recorded, and over the years technological advances have made it one of the safest and most frequently performed procedures worldwide.
The decision to undergo private cataract surgery offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to correct common vision problems, including short-sight, long-sight, presbyopia and astigmatism, to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses permanently.
Cataract surgery involves the removal of the cloudy natural lens of the eye (the cataract) and replacing it with a carefully selected intra-ocular lens (IOL). There are several designs of intra-ocular lenses (IOLs) available, each having their own strengths in performance. The choice of lens has a major influence on the outcome of surgery and whether glasses would be required after surgery. Whilst the NHS offers an excellent service for cataract surgery, there is rarely an option for choosing your intraocular lens, meaning that glasses will almost certainly be required after surgery.
Our consultants have performed many thousands of cataract procedures, particularly for patients with high spectacle corrections, complex cataracts and following other types of refractive surgery.
Today, thanks to advances in technology, most patients experience little or no pain and return to their normal activities the day after surgery.
Refractive cataract surgery
Accurate measurements of the eye taken prior to surgery allow an IOL to be implanted which can correct for long or short sightedness and astigmatism so that as well as clear vision, vision can be optimized without the need to wear spectacles for normal distance vision.
Prior to the development of cataract, surgery to replace the lens can be employed to improve the vision by implanting an IOL, which can correct a high spectacle prescription; this procedure is known as RLE.
To improve the range of vision and depth of focus, multifocal lens implants can be used to reduce the requirement for reading spectacles as well as provide clear vision for distance visual tasks e.g. driving or watching the television. Although spectacles may still be required for some visual tasks, many patients rarely require spectacles after this form of surgery.
On the day of surgery and once in the hospital you will be given eye drops to dilate the pupil. The area around your eye will be washed and cleansed. The operation is usually performed under a local or topical anesthetic, is painless and lasts less than 10 minutes in most cases. The technology used is called phaco-emulsification and employs ultrasound energy to liquefy the lens which can then be aspirated. A new lens is then inserted using an injection system and is unfolded and positioned within the eye. We typically do not use stitches during surgery which allows for a faster recovery.
You will need to allow 3-4 hours for your hospital stay so that we can run through your treatment and aftercare with you. You will need someone to collect you or we can arrange transport for you.
After the operation you will rest for a while and have refreshments then you can go home. You will be given a dressing pack to swab the eye clean the following day, some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory eye drops to apply at home after the surgery.
Timing of sequential cataract surgery
Surgery will normally take place with an interval of one week or less between each cataract surgery procedure.
How quickly will my vision be restored?
Your vision will be slightly blurred for a few days while your eye heals. It is not uncommon to feel some discomfort, usually a feeling that something is in the eye until your eye settles but there should be no pain. After a couple of days you will start to notice a significant improvement in your vision. You can quickly return to many everyday activities, although heavy lifting or other strenuous activities should be avoided for a week. The healing eye needs time to adjust so that it can focus properly with the other eye, especially if the other eye has a cataract. Ask your surgeon or optometrist when you can resume driving. You will see the surgeon again after 2 weeks and will visit your optometrist for new glasses if needed after 6 weeks.
Once you have been given your new glasses, you may notice that everything seems a lot brighter than you remember. Colours may be sharper and may have a blue-ish tinge. In bright sunlight you may feel you are looking through rose-coloured glasses. These colour tinges are normal and are because you are now looking at the world through a clear lens that is no longer cloudy. Within a few months your brain will get used to your new clear vision and these colours should go away.
LaserVision was initially founded in Guildford, Surrey. Now with clinics in over 6 locations, we are able to treat the eye conditions of patients nationwide. This treatment is available at: