What is a cataract, and how can it be removed?

Most commonly experienced by patients over the age of 60, a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens which causes vision to gradually deteriorate. In the majority of cases, cataracts are linked to age as a natural element of the aging process. Whilst many cataracts are small and don’t affect our vision, more severe cases can cause significant obstructions.

Whilst most cataracts are related to the aging process, other types of cataracts may form, including traumatic cataract (which develops after an eye injury), congenital cataract (occurs at birth or is developed in childhood) and radiation cataract (occurs following excessive exposure to radiation). Risk factors include smoking, alcohol use, diabetes and excessive exposure to sunlight.

Once cataracts have been diagnosed following comprehensive eye examinations, it may be determined that they should be removed via cataract surgery. This involves the removal of the cloudy lens in the eye, replacing it with a clear, artificial implant. Cathedral Eye Clinic’s specialist consultants will assess your eyes and explain the differences to help determine which course of treatment best suits your individual needs.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery is the removal of the cloudy lens in your eye and replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) – a day procedure performed under local anaesthetic

What are the types of procedures are available, and what outcomes can I expect?

The most common cataract surgery is phacoemulsification (phaco) and is usually done as a day procedure under local anaesthetic. Before the operation eye drops are given to dilate your pupil as this makes it easier for the surgeon to see the lens inside your eye. A small incision is made on the side of the cornea and the surgeon will use ultrasound energy to soften and break up the cloudy lens so it can be removed by suction.

The second type of cataract surgery is extracapsular surgery where a longer incision is made on the side of the cornea and the cloudy core of the lens is removed in one piece. After the cloudy lens has been removed it is replaced by an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). The right type of IOL will be determined using tests to measure the curve of your cornea and the shape and size of your eye. You will not see or be able to feel the new lens.

Cataract surgery is a safe operation and is carried out more than any other surgical eye procedure. Problems are rare but as with any surgery risks are carried. Possible complications can include infection, bleeding, inflammation, loss of vision, double vision and lens dislocation. These complications can be treated successfully with prompt attention. Your surgeon will explain in more detail how any risks apply to you.

    • Improved vision results: The vast majority of cataract surgery patients enjoy improved clarity of vision and colour vision. This is because lens implants are selected to compensate for existing focusing problems.
    • Improved safety and health: Enhanced vision results mean that cataract surgery patients typically experience less falls or accidents.
    • Renewed confidence: Enjoy a new lease of life with your improved clarity of vision.

After Care packages

Following all treatments, our personal and comprehensive aftercare package will ensure your recovery is safe and successful. Our clinical team will conduct a full and thorough consultation following your treatment.

Your review appointments will be tailored to your specific needs and will be carried out by our experienced team of Optometrists.

Aftercare appointments take place as follows:

Within one week post-operation

One month post-operation

One-year post-operation

As part of the overall cost of your treatment, we offer one year’s aftercare with an Optometrist*.

*Complimentary care with our Optometry team for one year following surgery, additional treatments or appointments with consultants may incur additional costs

A laser procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy is occasionally required to sharpen vision 6 months to 3 years after cataract / lens surgery.

The formation of a secondary cataract can occur – a condition where the skin of the old lens becomes cloudy. About one in five patients will suffer this complication in the two years following surgery.

It is easily treated with a straight-forward laser treatment (YAG laser capsulotomy) while you are fully awake and sitting in a chair. No anaesthetic is needed. The total charge for this procedure and review (including initial consultation) is £450 unilateral and £800 bilateral. Please note that this will be in addition to the fee paid for your procedure.