Cataract Surgery

Improve your vision

Cataracts are very common and are the main cause of impaired vision worldwide. Cataract surgery is a procedure used to treat cataracts, where changes in the lens of the eye cause cloudy, blurry, or misty vision.

About your cataract

A cataract occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy; this is usually caused by ageing. The natural lens in your eye helps you to see clearly by focusing the light rays entering your eye. A cataract causes blurred vision or changes the focus of your eye. If your vision is severely affected, this can interfere with your daily activities, including reading, watching television and driving. Cataract surgery will help you to see clearly again. New glasses may improve your vision to some extent but if the cataract is too advanced, glasses will not help. Your surgeon (ophthalmologist) will assess you and tell you if cataract surgery is suitable for you. Leaving a cataract untreated does not threaten your vision straightaway but it can be disabling. If the cataract does get worse, your vision will also get gradually worse until you have little vision left. However it is your decision to go ahead with the operation or not.


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How you can access our services

Self pay patients can pay the hospital direct for rapid access to premium services. You will have a number of treatment options which may affect your final bill. Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.

We partner all major health insurers. Where your policy provides cover you can visit us as a private patient for rapid access to premium services.

Deciding on cataract surgery

Slight cloudiness of the lens is a normal part of ageing. However, significant cloudiness, or cataracts, usually gets progressively worse over time. Surgery to remove them is the only way to restore vision. However, surgery is not always necessary if your vision is not significantly affected and you do not have difficulties carrying out everyday tasks.

Your doctor can help you to make a decision that is right for you.

Preparing for cataract surgery

If you smoke, stopping smoking several weeks or more before the operation may reduce your risks of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.

Regular exercise should help to prepare for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health.

Inform your surgeon about any medications that you may take so that they can advise you. If you take blood-thinning medication (anti-coagulants), you may be required to stop this prior to your surgery.

The procedure is usually performed under local anaesthesia. An injection is administered around your eye to numb it or eye drops are instilled prior to the procedure. If the operation is performed under a local anaesthesia, you will need to lie still and flat during the operation. If you cannot lie still and flat, let your surgeon know.

Your face will be covered with a sterile cloth to allow your surgeon to work on a clean surface. If you are claustrophobic, let your surgeon know.

Occasionally the procedure is performed under a general anaesthesia, which means that you will be asleep during the operation. Your surgeon will discuss with you which type of anaesthesia is best for you.
A general anaesthesia can make you sick so it is important that you do not drink or eat anything for six hours before your procedure.

If you are having a local anaesthesia, you may eat and drink as normal prior to your procedure.

Follow your surgeon's advice and if you have any questions just ask.

Your surgeon will discuss with you what will happen before, during and after your procedure. This is your opportunity to understand exactly what will happen.
You will be asked to complete a consent form prior to your surgery; this is a legal requirement that ensures that you agree to the surgeon completing your surgery.
Your questions
You might find it helpful to prepare some questions to ask about the risks and benefits to the procedure. This will help to inform you about the procedure so that you can give your consent for it to go ahead.
About your cataract surgery

Cataract surgery involves removing the cataract and replacing it with an artificial lens implant.

It is usually carried out as day surgery under local anaesthetic, which means you are conscious during the procedure and can go home on the same day.

Before the operation, a nurse will put drops in your eye to widen (dilate) your pupil.

Your surgeon will make a cut on your cornea - the clear part at the front of your eye covering the iris and pupil. The cataract is broken into small pieces using ultrasound then removed from your eye through the cut. The procedure usually takes about 20 minutes.

What to expect afterwards

After the procedure you will be transferred to the recovery area, from where you should be able to go home following refreshments if you were given a local anaesthesia. The healthcare team will ensure that you are medically fit for discharge following the procedure.

If the procedure is completed under a general anaesthesia, a responsible adult should take you home in a car or taxi and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

The healthcare team will provide you with information on discharge concerning complications that you may experience following your procedure. If you are worried about any symptoms contact the healthcare team. They will be able to reassure you or identify and treat any complications.

Pain is usually only mild and can be easily controlled with simple painkillers such as Paracetamol. You may feel pressure or mild discomfort. If you are in severe pain, let the healthcare team know, as this is unusual.

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The healthcare team will try to make the operation as safe as possible but complications can happen, some of which may be serious. You should ask your consultant if there is anything you do not understand.

Pain is usually only mild and easily controlled with simple painkillers such as Paracetamol. you may feel pressure or mild discomfort. If you are in severe pain, let your surgeon know as this is unusual.
You may have some bleeding during or after the operation. Usually there is a little bleeding and your eye may be slightly red in colour. If it is very red and painful, let your surgeon know, as this is unusual.
Most infections, which may cause blurred vision or permanent loss of vision, occur after 2 to 7 days. If your eye becomes red and painful, and your vision becomes blurred, let your surgeon know straightaway.

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Surgical Site Infections

Returning to normal activities

Do not drive, operate machinery or do any potentially dangerous activities for at least 24 hours and not until you have fully recovered feeling, movement and co-ordination.

If you have had a general anaesthesia or sedation, you should also not sign legal documents or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours.

Your surgeon will tell you when you can return to normal activities. Most people resume normal activities soon after the procedure. It is important to look after your eye as advised, to reduce the risk of complications.

Your surgeon may give you an eye shield to wear at night for about a week.

You will be given eye drops to instil following your surgery, these may continue for up to 6 weeks.

Your surgeon will tell you if new glasses will improve your vision.

Do not swim or lift anything heavy until you have checked with your surgeon.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Do not drive until you are confident about controlling your vehicle and always check your insurance policy and with your doctor.

Your Consultants

At HMT Sancta Maria Hospital you will always see the same consultant throughout your patient journey.
We believe that this makes a world of difference to your experience with us.

"To all staff for the care given to me on my stay. Everyone was marvellous. Again thank you".

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