What is Cataract Removal Surgery?
A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally
transparent lens of your eye usually caused by aging. As this
cloudiness worsens with time, it prevents light rays from passing
through the lens of your eye and focusing on the retina, so causing
symptoms such as blurred vision and sensitivity to light.
Currently, there are no medications, eye drops, glasses or
exercises that will cure this problem so if it does not affect your
life too much, you may decide just to live with it. However
if driving and other daily activities start to become more
difficult then surgery is the normally recommended course of
Once the operation is completed your vision should show
What does this involve?
Cataract removal surgery does not normally require a hospital
stay as it involves a short operation of around twenty to thirty
minutes, usually carried out under local anaesthetic, which ensures
the operation is painless.
Firstly your eye is treated with eye drops to dilate your pupil
and then anaesthetic is administered through a tiny tube under the
eye, without the need for any sharp needles. Although you may
see some light and movement, you will not be able to see the
surgery while it is happening, and you will not have to worry about
keeping your eye open or closed.
The cataract will be removed and replaced with an artificial
lens implant. This will be done by using ultrasound to break
the cataract into pieces and then removing it through a small cut
in your eye. The cut is so small it does not even need
stitches. Your new lens is then implanted into the same place
that the natural lens occupied and is held in place by the original
Once the operation is complete your eye will normally be covered
by a clear plastic shield and you can rest for a while before your
When will I recover?
You should be able to go home a few hours after the surgery and
you will need to use the prescribed eye drops and be careful not to
rub or press on your eye. Your normal daily life can be
resumed although you should avoid strenuous exercise for a couple
Your vision should improve over the first 24 - 48 hours and we
will normally see you again within the first week after the
operation to check on your progress and provide any advice and
support you need.
You should see your Optician four to five weeks after surgery to
check your requirement for glasses - this delay allows your eye to
fully settle before being assessed. The operation is designed
to ensure you have good unaided distance vision though it can mean
that reading glasses may be needed depending upon your normal
quality of vision.
What risks should I know about?
Cataract removal is a regularly performed operation worldwide
and is considered to be quite safe. Most patients do not
suffer any complications or side effects but we should mention
those complications that can occur, even though it is in less than
0.1% of occasions.
- Bleeding at the back of your eye which can disturb vision.
- Some pain after the operation which can be helped by over the
counter pain medication.
- Infection inside the eye
- Tearing of the very delicate lens membrane that holds the new
- Retinal detachment
Although these conditions are potentially treatable, they could,
in some very extreme cases, result in loss of vision in the
Richard Antcliff, Roger Baer, Jonathan Boulton, Fiona Cuthbertson, Anna Lewis, Jonathan Luck, Sally Webber
Ahmed El-Amir, Martin Leyland, Andrew Pearson, Vaughan Tanner, Sarah-Lucie Watson
Helena Cilliers, Don David, Anthony O'Driscoll