Cataract surgery is essential to preserve vision when a cataract has formed on the lens of the eye. It involves the removal of the existing, cloudy lens which is then replaced with a tiny plastic or silicone intraocular lens.
What is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is the lens replacement surgery required when a cataract occurs in the eye. This is when the natural lens has lost its clarity and has become cloudy. The cataract causes blurred vision, loss of contrast and can make driving difficult. Cataracts can occur at any age but are most common in people over 60 years old, due to the natural ageing process of the eye. Cataracts can also be genetic, or caused by other factors such as diabetes or previous eye trauma.
If left untreated cataracts normally become larger, obstructing vision more over time, and eventually lead to blindness.
Cataract surgery at our central London clinic removes the cloudy lens protein and replaces this with a lens implant which can correct your glasses prescription for distance and near vision.
On the day of surgery
When you’ve arrived at the clinic before surgery, you’ll be given some eye drops to dilate your pupil. A nurse will then discuss aftercare with you so you can be confident in how best to look after your eye following surgery.
Then you’ll be given more eye drops, this time a local anaesthetic to minimise pain during the procedure. The surgery typically only takes 10-15 minutes per eye to perform.
During the procedure, a small cut is made in the cornea, either using a surgical blade or a femtosecond laser. A hole is made in the capsule bag and the cataract broken up into tiny pieces to remove it. The new intraocular lens is then implanted through ultra-precise keyhole surgery. After surgery, you’ll be able to rest in our relaxation suite for 30-45 minutes.
After cataract surgery
You’ll have your eyes checked a final time before you go home. You’ll also be given some eye drops and instructions about how often to use them and for how long. Your eyes will feel tired and gritty for the remainder of the day, so do stay at home and rest. Your vision will be slightly misty for up to 72 hours after surgery, but you may notice a dramatic improvement in your sight immediately.
In the first couple of days post-surgery, you’re likely to experience some or all of the following:
Hazy vision; this is because your pupil will remain dilated for up to 48 hours after surgery
Sensitivity to light; again this is due to your dilated pupils
Haloes around light; this will normally settle before long
A gritty sensation, similar to the feeling of having a grain of sand stuck in the eye. You should not feel severe pain
A mild ache in your eye
Pinkish colouring to your eye, or possibly some bright red localised bruising, which is more likely if you’re taking aspirin or warfarin
Your pupil will return to its normal size after about two days and this will dramatically improve your overall vision.
Cataract surgery has extremely high success rates. At OCL Vision we have serious complication rates lower than 0.2% and an infection rate of 0% due to our high standards of care and surgery always being performed by a consultant.