Post Cataract Surgery

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

What is cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery involves removing the faulty lens and replacing it with an artificial plastic lens and is one of the most common operations carried out in the United Kingdom. The procedure is quick, taking only a few minutes and is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. To date, cataract surgery is the only curative measure for cataracts, which do not respond to medicine treatments.

So, what are the things you need to consider post cataract surgery?

When healthy, the function of the lens is to change shape to help the eye focus on objects both near and far. The lens is normally clear so that light can pass through unimpeded. A cataract is a condition when the lens in your eye becomes cloudy or opaque. If the opacities are small, they do not usually require treatment. However, if the cloudy areas are large enough to block the light passing through, they can obstruct normal vision.


Cataract definition

To get a full picture of cataract surgery, it’s best to start right at the beginning, with a cataract definition so that you understand what a cataract is.

Put simply, a cataract is when the lens in an eye becomes clouded, usually due to ageing.

From birth, our eyes have a clear lens which is made up of a unique balance of water and protein working in tandem to allow light to pass through the eye. As we age, the quality of the protein degrades and can gather together in clusters. This makes it harder for the light to pass through the protein, and consequently the lens, reducing vision and making things a bit blurrier.

The most common cause is age, but scientists also suspect diabetes, alcohol and smoking may have a role to play in the development of cataracts.


Why do cataracts form

Cataracts form for various reasons, including medical conditions such as diabetes and also form through the normal process of aging. Risk factors of developing cataracts include drug and alcohol abuse and over-exposure to sunlight, radiation and steroids. Eye injury can also result in cataract formation. Some people have cataracts from childhood, and these are thought to be due to genetics or a problem during development in the womb. While it is generally believed that little can be done to prevent cataract formation, some studies have suggested that eating a healthy diet and not smoking can reduce the risk of developing age-related cataracts.

Indications you may have cataracts include cloudy vision, experiencing glare while driving or under lights, difficulty reading and double vision. Regular eye examinations can help keep on top of your eye health.


The days after cataract surgery 

Cataract surgery is considered very low risk and rates of complications are low. You should be able to go home the same day of your operation. During post cataract surgery, you may experience unusual sensations in your eye, including watering, grittiness and blurred vision, double vision or blurred vision in one eye. It is likely that your eye will be red. You may experience pain, but this should be easily managed with over the counter pain medication. These side effects are common, not considered serious and should resolve completely within four to six weeks.

However, if you experience symptoms such as increased pain and worsening vision in the days after cataract surgery, you should seek advice from your doctor, as this may be an indication of infection or some other rare complication.


The weeks after cataract surgery

You can expect a full cataract recovery within four to six weeks. Until your eyes are completely healed there are various things that you should do to protect them and to facilitate a healthy, rapid cataract recovery.

These include:

  • Taking your prescribed eye medication/drops and cleaning your eyes as directed by your doctor
  • Wearing an eye shield at night and while washing your hair
  • Using sunglasses while out in bright sunshine
  • Avoid driving after cataract surgery and flying until you get permission from your doctor

Cataract surgery has a high success rate in improving your eyesight. Some people will need glasses or contacts after cataract surgery. This will depend on factors including your eye’s overall health, your extent of astigmatism, your current eyeglass prescription and your eyesight needs. Following a full cataract recovery, you will be able to get a final prescription for your eyeglasses.


About Ramsay Health Care

At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeons, ophthalmologist, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the best treatment!

At Ramsay you won’t have to wait for an appointment for your cataract surgery. Your treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self-pay packages are available on request. We have first class facilities and all self-funding and most privately insured patients can enjoy exclusive benefits including superb food, a relaxing environment, priority access and appointments to suit your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you feel like a guest as well as a patient.

Register your interest to hear from us