See clearly with cataract surgery

Whether you’re considering having cataract surgery yourself or are supporting a loved one through the process, it helps to be informed as to what to expect. There are many clinics offering cataract surgery, so it’s important to choose a reputable clinic which you are comfortable with.

Take a few minutes to read our handy guide to cataract surgery, to see if it’s the right choice for you.

What to expect

You’ll need a pre-operative assessment with a specialist eye doctor before going in for surgery – they will assess your eyes and your overall health. Most operations take place as day surgery under local anaesthetic, which means you can go home afterwards, although you’ll need a friend or family member to look after you for 24 hours. It usually takes around 48 hours for your vision to be restored.

It is needless to say it is better to have your cataract removed as early as possible as the recovery time will be shorter. And something more - if you wait too long the cataracts might become to mature and difficult to be removed or lead to complications. There is no set time when the surgery should be done, but as soon as you notice some problems with the sight, you should go and have it checked.

What happens during surgery?

Cataract surgery is a relatively common procedure, and usually takes from 30-45 minutes. The most common type of surgery is Phacoemulsification. Drops will be placed in your eye to dilate your pupil, and you’ll be given a local anaesthetic. A tiny cut is then made in your cornea and a small probe inserted which breaks up the cataract using high-frequency sound. A second probe is inserted to remove the cataract pieces, after which a small plastic lens (specially made to fit your eye) is inserted behind your pupil.

How much does it cost?

The cost for cataract surgery can vary, and there are a variety of different types of lenses to choose from. It’s important to note that not all lenses are available on the NHS, but you can speak to your GP or eye specialist about funding for different types of lenses available in your area.

Choosing a clinic

When choosing where to have your cataract surgery, your eye specialist or GP should be able to advise you, or there may be a centre close to your home which is the most convenient for you to attend. Failing this, you can find details of clinics on Google, but make sure you choose somewhere reputable!

A visit to the clinic or a phone call to check their accreditation and qualifications is vital, and if in doubt you can always ask your GP to verify the service for you. If you are opting to pay for your cataract surgery privately, it’s important to ensure you don’t just choose the cheapest available clinic – just because they’re offering the best value for money doesn’t mean that they will provide the best service. You’ll need to make sure that they are qualified and trained to carry out surgery, and it’s a good idea to visit the premises to see how clean and professional it appears.

Cataract surgery is a common operation which takes just a few minutes and can work wonders to restore your vision, so it’s well worth having!

You might also want to read about: Eye Test