Cataract surgery is a common procedure that improves your sight by replacing a cloudy cataract lens, known as an eye cataract, with an artificial lens.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a cloudy lens in your eye that stops light rays passing through. In a healthy, non-cataract eye your lens is clear and allows light to enter your eye so you can see images and colour. If you have a cataract, your cloudy lens will cause your sight to be blurry and less colourful.
What causes cataracts?
Cataracts are caused by the build-up and clumping together of protein cells in the lens of your eye and makes your lens cloudy and a yellowish/brownish colour. They may affect one or both eyes.
Cataracts are a normal part of the ageing process and may be referred to as age-related cataracts. Factors such as: diabetes, smoking, UV exposure, eye injury, some medications, eye surgery and, very short sightedness, may also increase your likelihood of developing cataracts.
What does a cataract surgery involve?
Cataract surgery is the only way to treat cataracts. Your surgeon will discuss in detail how to prepare for cataract surgery and what will happen during the procedure. It's important that you are fully informed and all your questions are answered.
A cataract surgery is a day case operation, usually performed under local anaesthetic and takes up to 45 minutes. It involves removing your cloudy cataract lens and replacing it with a new clear artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL).
Most surgeons will remove a cataract using phacoemulsification. This involves using a special instrument and ultrasound to break up your cloudy lens. The broken lens is then removed from your eye and the new artificial lens is placed into a now empty capsule where it will remain permanently.
If you have cataracts in both eyes, you will need two cataract surgeries, one for each eye. The second operation will be performed a few weeks after the first one.
Cataract surgery recovery
Typically, as this is a day case procedure you will go home the same day as your cataract surgery. You may take four to six weeks to fully recover following your cataract surgery. After around six weeks, when your eye has healed entirely, you may need a new glasses prescription.
What complications can happen after a cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a common procedure that carries a high success rate and a low risk of serious complications. However, as with any surgery, there are risks of complications occurring such as: eye infection or swelling, bleeding, retinal detachment, damage to other structures of your eye, fluid build-up in your eye, incomplete cataract removal, part of the cataract falling into the back of your eye, incorrect lens strength inserted and, new implant loosening.
If complications do occur they can usually be treated with medicines or further surgery.
Cataract surgery with West Valley Hospital
West Valley Hospital offers convenient appointments with highly skilled consultant ophthalmologists who have a wealth of experience and routinely perform cataract surgery. They will carry out your cataract surgery in our dedicated ophthalmology suite and you will be able to go home the same day.
We offer a number of finance options to pay for your cataract surgery so you can choose which one best suits you and your finances.
If you have cataracts or you are experiencing cloudy vision then we recommend booking an appointment with one of our consultant ophthalmologists. They can arrange cataract surgery quickly as early treatment is recommended to improve your vision and your quality of life.