About cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is a procedure to treat cataracts in your eyes. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye, which can make your vision blurred or misty. You can develop cataracts in one or both of your eyes. Most people who get cataracts are over 65 but children can also get them.
A Cross section of the eye
During a cataract operation, a surgeon will remove your lens and replace it with an artificial plastic one. This will restore your vision, although you may need to wear reading glasses after cataract removal.
How can I prepare for my cataract surgery?
When you have cataract surgery, you will be seen as a day case. However, you should arrange to have someone take you home after the procedure.
You may have an assessment before your operation, in which your eyes will be measured. This will help to select an artificial lens that is suitable for you.
What happens during my cataract surgery?
Before the procedure, your doctor will talk you through the process and ask you to sign a consent form.
Your surgeon will put some drops in your eye. These will widen your pupil and relax the muscles in your eye. Next, your surgeon will put some local anaesthetic eye drops into your eye. This will numb your eye and completely block any pain.
Your surgeon will then make a tiny cut on the surface of your eye. He or she will use a special instrument to break up your lens with the cataract into tiny pieces. He or she will remove these pieces with another instrument and then put in a new artificial lens.
The procedure takes around 15 to 20 minutes, but it can sometimes take longer. Because you do not need a general anaesthetic, you will be able to leave that day.
Are there any complications or risks?
As with every procedure, there are complications associated with cataract surgery. However these are rare. Speak to your surgeon for more information.
Complications include an infection or bleeding in your eye and a tear of the lens capsule (where the lens sits). Potentially a bit of cataract may drop into the back of your eye.
The most common complication is cloudy vision, which is called posterior capsular opacification. This happens if part of the lens capsule thickens and cells grow over the back of the artificial lens. This can come on gradually months or even years after your operation.
Recovering from cataract surgery
You should be able to return to your normal activities straight away. Any pain or discomfort should go after a few days. Your hospital will give you some eye drops to reduce inflammation.
For most people who have cataract removal, their vision is improved after the operation. However, your vision may be blurred until your eye has healed. This will take around two to six weeks.
How much does cataract surgery cost?
For a guide to what you could pay for your treatment, click here.
What to do next
Once you have decided that you would like to be treated at an HCA hospital, or would like further information, here's what to do next:
- Call one of our advisors on +44 (0) 20 7079 4399 or complete our web enquiry form.
- Check with your insurance company that your policy covers your treatment, and obtain authorisation.
- Visit or call your GP to obtain a referral letter and then call us to make an appointment to visit your chosen consultant and hospital at a time to suit you.
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