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Cataract surgery is the world’s most commonly performed elective surgical procedure.
Surgery is highly effective in the vast majority of cases and is regarded by WHO (world health organisation) as being one of the safest surgical procedures known to man.
A cataract forms when the crystalline lens within the eye becomes cloudy. Over time, less light is able to pass through the lens, resulting in blurry or cloudy vision. Initially, the symptoms of cataract can be improved with new glasses, better lighting, anti-glare lenses, or magnification.
With time, vision can often progressively deteriorate causing difficulties with everyday tasks such as driving, reading and watching TV. The result, if left untreated is total visual loss.
The decision as to when cataract surgery should be carried out is based largely on how much a patient’s ability to function in their desired lifestyle is affected. Each case needs to be taken individually. A major consideration is if one is driving, they must reach the visual requirements set by the DVLA in order to retain their license. Relevant discussions and tests carried out by the optometrist and the cataract specialist surgeon will determine suitability for surgery.
Cataract surgery is a simple procedure and involves removing the natural cloudy lens and replacing it with a synthetic lens (very similar to a contact lens but within the eye).
Surgery is usually performed under a local anaesthetic as a day case. A tiny incision is made on the surface of the eye, the cloudy lens is subsequently removed and replaced with a permanent synthetic lens which sits within the eye. One eye is performed at a time.
Although it is advised to take it easy and avoid physically demanding activities in the early stages of recovery, the majority of cataract patients can resume their daily activities within a few days from surgery. To help promote natural recovery, drops are provided to instill into the eye as prescribed by the surgeon and patients are given a 24 hour contact number should they require any kind of assistance. The treating surgeon will also outline and discuss a management plan based on the individual patient to ensure that they are closely monitored and looked after properly during the recovery stage.