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    Cataract Surgery on the NHS

    Cataract treatment is one of the most common surgery types performed in the UK. Patients who require the surgery can opt to have it done via the NHS, or privately at their own expense. Each option has its own benefitsfor example, basic cataract surgery on the NHS is free of charge for the patient but going private means having having more options on lens choice and freedom from spectacles post-surgery with advanced options available to reduce reliance on glasses or contact lenses.


    NHS Patients

    Thousands of NHS patients use Optegra to have their NHS cataract surgery at one of our five-star clinics and hospitals. This means patients can use one of our many renowned NHS cataract surgeons who have a track record of delivering high volumes of cataract treatments with excellent outcomes.

    The NHS has selected Optegra as a partner to deliver first-class cataract surgery for their patients for several reasons. We have several clinics and eye hospitals nationwide that are ideally equipped to carry out treatment. Our top five surgeons alone have conducted over a hundred thousand cataract surgeries to date, and patients benefit from short waiting times (typically between 4 to 6 weeks).


    Optegra surgeon in a suite


    A cataract develops when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Signs of cataracts include blurred vision and loss of vision, fading of colours, light sensitivity (glare), and difficulty with night vision. Cataract sufferers may also experience symptoms like headaches, prescription changes, and poor depth perception.  



    Our NHS referral system is simple to use. Patients require only a referral from their GP or optician. Once Optegra receives the referral, we will email or letter you with your appointment details, an important health questionnaire, a registration form, and directions to your nearest clinic.

    The NHS allows you the right to be treated where you like – it means that if you have a long waiting time for your NHS cataract surgery elsewhere, you can opt to be treated at Optegra and reduce your waiting time. Learn more about preparing for your cataract surgery.


    How Long is the NHS Waiting List for Cataract Surgery?

    The NHS cataract surgery waiting lists have grown significantly in recent years. Patients can wait several weeks to months to have their cataract surgery. Of course, it can be very difficult to wait so long for surgery, which means getting an NHS referral to one of our clinics for treatment can be very beneficial. Alternatively, some patients may want to explore private cataract treatment.


    Am I Eligible for NHS Cataract Surgery?

    The NHS provides cataract surgery to patients whose conditions impact eyesight and quality of life. Cataracts usually worsen over time, and corrective surgery is the only option for treatment.

    How to Find Us

    Optegra offers NHS cataract surgery at several locations nationwide. These locations include:

    • North & West London
    • Brighton
    • Birmingham
    • Hampshire
    • Maidstone
    • Manchester
    • Surrey
    • Yorkshire
    • Colchester
    • Nottingham
    • Newcastle
    • Preston
    • Sheffield
    • Uttoxeter

    NHS patients who live in these areas can be referred to Optegra for their cataract surgery.

    Optegra Diagnostic Centres

    Optegra also has additional diagnostic centres available for patients to have NHS cataract treatments available locally. These locations include:

    • Manchester
    • Hampshire

    Why Choose Optegra for NHS Cataract Surgery?

    There are many reasons why patients opt for Optegra to have their NHS cataract surgery:

    • Be seen quickly, within 4 to 6 weeks, instead of waiting much longer on the NHS.
    • Free standard cataract surgery is paid for by the NHS and executed by one of our expert surgeons.
    • Be treated in one of our luxurious dedicated eye hospitals and clinics. Our facilities only treat eyes, so we are true specialists in cataract surgery.
    • Easy referral: Get a referral from your GP or optometrist, and you can be treated quickly at a location near you.
    • We are focused on patient-centred care and have excellent feedback on patient review platforms like Trustpilot and Doctify.
    • We have state-of-the-art equipment used to conduct our surgery.
    • We are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

    Our NHS Cataract Surgeons 

    Learn more about our world-renowned cataract surgeons.

    NHS Cataract Surgery FAQs

    Yes, cataract surgery is free on the NHS and with a GP or Optometrist referral to Optegra.

    The waiting time on the NHS depends on the area in which the patient resides. Patients can expect to wait from several weeks to several months or more in areas where waiting lists are growing.

    Generally, patients can fly the day after cataract surgery; however, if you plan to fly after surgery, you should seek advice from your consultant.

    With NHS cataract surgery, patients usually get a monofocal lens. These lenses have a single point of focus, which means they are fixed for either near or distance vision. Optegra offers additional lens choices for patients who may want different vision options.

    Amir Hamid Headshot

    By Author: Amir Hamid

    Mr. Amir Hamid is a Clinical Lead for Vision Correction and an expert refractive surgeon, based in London.

    Medically Reviewed Date: 1st July 2024