Cataract surgery is a common day case eye procedure that replaces a cloudy cataract lens with an artificial lens to improve sight.
What is a cataract?
A non-cataract healthy lens is clear and can focus by bending or refracting light rays as they enter the eye. An eye cataract is a cloudy eye lens that prevents light rays from passing through it and causes blurry, misty or less colourful vision. A cataract will develop over time and is a normal part of ageing. Cataracts can affect one or both of your eyes.
You might be wondering what causes cataracts? As you develop cataracts your eye lens becomes cloudy and a yellowish/brownish colour caused by a build-up and clumping together of protein cells in your lens.
Some factors can increase your likelihood of developing cataracts such as: diabetes, smoking, UV exposure, eye injury, some medications, eye surgery and, very short sightedness.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
Cataract symptoms may not be apparent at first. As a cataract progresses you may notice signs including:
• Things seem blurry or cloudy.
• Poor night vision that makes driving at night more difficult and a need for more light when reading.
• Sensitivity to glare of bright sunlight or car headlamps.
• Halos around light sources.
• More frequent need for stronger prescription glasses or contacts.
• Colours start to look more faded, washed out and yellow tinted.
• Double vision, where you can see two or more images of a single object, in one of your eyes.
• Clean glasses feel dirty or like they need cleaning.
You should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. They can perform an assessment, diagnose your eye condition and, recommend the best course of treatment for you that will allow you to see more clearly again. Advanced cataracts carry more risk of complications during their surgical removal and they may even lead to blindness.
What are the benefits of cataract surgery?
Cataracts will never go on their own. Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts. Cataract surgery is a very common and straightforward day case procedure that aims to give you improved eyesight. Following your cataract operation, you should be able to: see things in focus, differentiate colours and, look into bright lights without too much glare.
One of the greatest benefits of cataract surgery is an increased quality of life. With better vision you have many lifestyle benefits such as reading, working, driving, socialising and, playing sport as well as greater independence, safety and reduced likelihood of falling. This in turn can also improve your self-confidence and mental health.
What does cataract surgery involve?
A cataract operation is a quick and straightforward day case procedure. It is usually performed under local anaesthetic and takes up to 45 minutes.
Your ophthalmology surgeon will remove your cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial one, known as an intraocular lens (IOL).
If you have cataracts in both eyes, you will need a cataract operation for each eye, with the second procedure performed a few weeks after the first.
How long will it take to recover from cataract surgery?
You should be able to go home on the same day as your cataract surgery.
It can take four to six weeks to recover fully after your cataract operation. Once your eye has completely healed, usually after six weeks, you may need to order new glasses.
What is the cost of cataract surgery?
If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.
A cataract surgery may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment.
What complications can happen after cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery has a high success rate and the risk of serious complications developing is very low. However, as with any operation, there is a risk of complications including:
• Eye infection or swelling
• Retinal detachment
• Damage to other structures of the eye
• Incomplete removal of the cataract or part of it falling into the back of your eye
• Incorrect strength of lens inserted
• Loosening of new implant
• Fluid build-up in your eye
Most complications can be treated with medicines or further surgery.
Book your appointment with Ramsay Health Care
If you are experiencing any cataract symptoms you should book an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Early treatment can help improve your vision and lead to a better quality of life.
At Ramsay, we have highly skilled and experienced consultant ophthalmologists who can offer convenient appointments for cataract surgery at a Ramsay Hospital near you.
Contact us to book an appointment at your local hospital that offers cataract surgery.