Of all the different kinds of surgery in the medical world, cataract eye surgery is one that can easily sound a little daunting. This is often because people generally don’t know exactly what a cataract is, only that it occurs in the eye, and the idea of eye surgery naturally sounds very complex.
The good news is, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the UK every year. Many thousands of UK patients undergo cataract operations successfully, improving their quality of life and the clarity of their vision.
What is a cataract?
To get a full picture of cataract surgery, it’s best to start right at the beginning, with the question of what a cataract actually 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 make 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.
What is cataract surgery?
Thanks to modern medicine, we now have a safe way to remove the cataract from the eye. This is achieved through surgery and is the only way to restore clear vision after developing cataracts.
Cataract surgery involves a surgeon making a cut in your eye from which they remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear artificial one. This new lens is made of plastic and allows much more light to reach the eye, granting improved vision.
An eye cataract operation should take less than an hour, and is done under the effects of local anaesthetic, allowing the patient to leave when the surgery is completed.
In most cases, artificial lenses can come in two different forms, monofocal and multifocal. Monofocal lenses correct only the long-sighted vision after cataracts, while multifocal lenses correct both long-sighted and short-sighted vision. Many healthcare providers offer both options to their patients.
What to expect afterwards
Following a successful operation, you may experience some slight discomfort and you might find your vision quality drops in bright light. This is normal, and your doctor may provide you with eye drops for your comfort and to stop infection.
Recovery time from the surgery tends to be anything from four to eight weeks and if a cataract operation is required in both eyes, there will need to be around 12 weeks between each procedure.
While almost everyone who undergoes cataract eye surgery enjoys noticeable improvement in their vision, you might still need to wear glasses for the highest quality vision possible.
Things to consider
The risk involved with cataract surgery is generally considered to be very low and any issues that arise can normally be treated with other medicines or, occasionally, other surgery.
Any concerns are best discussed with a medical professional before the procedure, who can offer advice, insight and reassurance.
At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced ophthalmologist, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the very best treatment.
At Ramsay 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 our Private Patient Pledge offering 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.
Please contact us for more information.