Cataract Surgery and Removal
Cataract surgery is a commonly performed surgery and involves removing your natural eye lens and replacing it with an artificial lens to help restore your vision. The condition predominantly affects people over 70, impairing their vision until the whole lens becomes clouded.
The greatest benefit of cataract surgery is the increased quality of life. Restoring your vision will grant you several lifestyle benefits that may have previously been denied:
Our ophthalmologists at The McIndoe Centre regularly have changed the lives of thousands of patients through cataract surgery. We offer exceptional surgical care and provide lifetime aftercare help and advice if you need it.
Restore your vision and confidence today. Contact our friendly team for more information. *We also provide eye tests also arrange eye tests if you’d like a better understanding of your condition. ---
What are cataracts and how do they develop?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. Your lens sits just behind your iris, the coloured part of your eye. Normally, your lens is clear and helps to focus the light entering your eye. Developing cataracts will cause your sight to become cloudy and misty. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes. Cataracts are treated by surgery, during which the cloudy lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens.
Cataracts result from changes in the way the cells of the lens are arranged and their water content, which causes the lens to become cloudy instead of clear. When this happens, light cannot pass directly through the lens and you may notice problems with your vision. A cataract is not a growth or a film growing over the eye; it is simply the lens becoming cloudy.
Benefits of cataract surgery
The biggest advantage that comes from your cataract surgery procedure is improved quality of life.
Restoring your vision comes with several obvious benefits you may have been previously denied. Aside from the obvious benefits of improved vision when reading, driving and working, your surgery will allow you to focus, differentiate colours and reduce glare from bright lights.
Your improved vision also comes with greater independence and safety, improving self-confidence and mental health.
The procedure is commonly performed and is a trusted surgical procedure across all medical industries.
Who is at more risk of developing cataracts?
Developing cataracts is a normal part of growing older. Most people start to develop cataracts after the age of 65, but some people in their forties and fifties can also develop cataracts. Certain things make it more likely that you will develop cataracts:
- Diabetes – people who have diabetes often develop cataracts earlier
- Trauma – having an eye injury can cause the injured eye to develop a cataract
- Medications – some prescription drugs can cause cataracts, for example steroids
- Eye surgery – surgery for a retinal problem will likely lead to cataracts in the affected eye at some point in the future
- Eye conditions – other eye conditions, such as retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma or uveitis, may also cause cataracts
- Having high myopia (being very short sighted) may cause cataracts.
Cataracts caused by aging, medications and other eye conditions usually develop in both eyes. Cataracts caused by an eye injury or eye surgery only develop in the affected eye. Despite the different causes, most cataracts are dealt with using the same type of surgery.
What are the signs and symptoms of cataracts?
Cataracts normally develop very slowly. At first, the changes they make to your sight may be difficult to notice, but as they get worse you’ll start to notice symptoms such as:
- You feel like your glasses are dirty and need cleaning.
- Your sight is misty and cloudy.
- You’re more sensitive to bright light or may find it difficult to see in dim light.
- Everything looks a little more washed out than it should be. You may have double vision.
- You may see circles of light around bright lights, such as car headlights.
Eventually, almost all people with cataracts will find that their sight has turned misty or cloudy, and things have become difficult to see all of the time. Cataracts sometimes develop so slowly that you might not notice the changes in your vision, but when you have your regular eye test, your optometrist (also known as an optician) may detect them and refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
When should I have my cataract surgery?
Cataracts can be removed at any stage. You don’t have to wait for them to “ripen” before having surgery, however, you cannot cure a cataract without surgery
Making the decision to have your cataracts removed depends on a number of things:
- How badly your sight is affected
- Whether you have any other eye conditions
- If you only have sight in one eye
- How you use your sight from day to day
What Does Cataract Surgery Involve?
Cataract surgery removes your natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. The type of lens you have will vary depending on your unique needs.
During this procedure (phacoemulsification) local anaesthetic eye drops will be used around the eye to numb the outer surface. In some cases, a local anaesthetic injection might be used, or indeed a combination of drops and injection. You are awake for cataract surgery as this enables you to safely and clearly communicate with your surgeon during your procedure.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, the surgeon will make a small incision at the edge of the cornea (the clear part at the front of your eye) and use ultrasound energy to break up the lens and remove it using suction.
These fragments will then be removed through the cut made in your eye. A tiny artificial lens implant is folded so that it can be inserted into your eye, this lens unfolds within the eye and is held in place by the lens capsule.
How long does cataract surgery take?
Cataract surgery is usually a very straightforward procedure that takes around 30 minutes and is a day case procedure which means you can go home the next day.
Cataract surgery recovery and aftercare
Most people recover very quickly post-cataract surgery and you may feel back to normal the day after your operation. Some people might feel more tired than usual after the surgery, but after a few days you’ll start to feel back to normal and you should be able to return to work in one week (avoid exercise after cataract surgery for at least a few weeks).
When you take the dressing off your eye, you may notice your vision is brighter and clearer than it was before the operation. You might notice this change straight away as soon as you remove the dressing, but it may also take a couple of days for your sight to improve. You will also be given eye drops after cataract surgery to help heal and prevent the eye infection. Please avoid swimming and rubbing your eyes post-surgery.
Within two to five days, your eye should be feeling normal and the cloudiness caused by your cataract should be improved. It is important that you do not drive after cataract surgery so please do arrange transport after your surgery.
Further cataract surgery aftercare advice will be provided by your consultant (if required).
You may encounter some minor side effects post-surgery.
Blurred vision after cataract surgery is often nothing to worry about. It is likely that your eyes are simply must adapt to the new intraocular lens that has replaced the lens. Some patients report having watery eyes after cataract surgery, but again, this is simply part of the adjustment period and any minor discomfort should subside soon after.
Side effects after cataract surgery are often minor and go away within a few weeks. Cataract surgery complications are often rare, but if certain side effects do persist, please do not hesitate to contact our staff.
Combining surgeries (glaucoma and astigmatisms)
Sometimes surgery is needed to treat glaucoma, especially when eye drops are ineffective at bringing the eye pressure down. The way we treat glaucoma has been revolutionised over recent years and a brand of surgery, called Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery (MIGS) is now available at The McIndoe Centre.
If you do have any other questions regarding eye care and health (such as astigmatism correction during cataract surgery) please feel free to raise these during your consultation.
As the name itself suggests, these surgeries are minimally invasive and have an excellent safety profile and are very effective at lowering the pressure in the eye. In addition, MIGS can easily be combined with cataract surgery which patients often have at the same time as glaucoma.
Will I still need to wear glasses after cataract surgery?
Whether you will need to continue wearing glasses after surgery depends on the type of surgery you have. For example, if you opt for IOL implantation, it’s likely you will need to wear reading glasses.
There are other surgical options that may reduce or even eliminate the need for glasses (such as laser eye surgery). These options can be discussed with your surgeon during your consultation.
Does cataract surgery need to be repeated?
It is very unlikely you will need to return for a follow-up treatment. The only time where you may require further treatment is if additional problems arise, such as glaucoma (covered above) and macular degeneration.
Is cataract surgery covered by medical insurance?
As cataracts are common and have the potential to cause serious vision loss, the majority of health insurance companies will help to cover the surgical costs. Check with your insurance provider before you decide to opt for the surgery. We also supply further information on payment and insurance plans in our guide.
Cataract surgery cost
It is important to note that these prices are just a guide and treatment costs will vary according to your unique needs. The full pricing options will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.
We’d be delighted if you wanted to arrange a consultation with us. To do so, please call 01342 488054.