Your cataract surgery questions answered

Having any kind of surgery is a big decision, and it’s only natural to have lots of questions before going ahead.
If you’re thinking of having cataract surgery, the chances are you’ll have lots of questions about how cataracts can be treated, and what cataract surgery is like. To help you find all the information you need to make an informed decision, we’ve put together the infographic below, which covers a variety of key questions about private cataract surgery with Optegra. 

cataract surgery infographic

What is a cataract?

A cataract is an eye condition caused by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens (the part of the eye which focuses images on the retina). This clouding occurs gradually over time, resulting in a slow degeneration of the eyesight.
When cataracts develop, it’s like looking through frosted glass, which over time is becoming thicker and thicker. You’ll still be able to make out colours and shapes, but they’ll get harder to distinguish as the frosting builds until eventually it is very hard to make out anything through the haze. Cataracts are not physically painful but can be emotionally and psychologically damaging.
To treat cataracts, you will need to have a minor surgical procedure to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a new, artificial one.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

As cataracts form slowly, you may not notice them at first. Often, people only start to notice then they start to block out light. The main symptoms of cataracts include vision that is cloudy, blurry or foggy.
If you start to notice changes in the way you see colour, that could be another indicator that cataracts are beginning to develop in your eye. You could also experience problems driving at night, with glare from oncoming vehicles being a problem.
Other patients start to notice that they are experiencing double vision or that their usual glasses or contact lenses are not working well.

What causes cataracts?

Cataracts are caused when protein builds up in the lens, causing it to become cloudy. This prevents light passing through the lens to the retina, resulting in the eyesight problems mentioned above.
There are several different types of cataracts, which include:
  • Age related - which happen over time
  • Congenital - when babies are born with cataracts or they form in childhood due to injury or infection
  • Secondary – cataracts develop as a result of another medical condition or from being around dangerous substances or medication
  • Traumatic – forming after an injury to the eye

Can a cataract spread from one eye to another?

In short, no, cataracts can’t spread from one eye to another and they are not a contagious condition. However, very often the problem occurs naturally at around the same time in both eyes. It’s usually the case that you notice issues in one eye several months before the other as it tends to develop asymmetrically.

How can cataracts be treated?

The only way to treat cataracts is with a minor surgical procedure. There are two main types of corrective surgery to choose between: standard cataract surgery or refractive cataract surgery. If you want to reduce your dependence on glasses, then opting for a refractive procedure is best.
If you choose not to have surgery, the chances are that your cataracts will get worse over time and result in severely limited eyesight, and potentially blindness.

Can I get both eyes treated at once? 

It’s not common practice to treat both eyes at the same time. In almost all cases, your surgeon will perform the surgery on one eye and then a few days or weeks later, carry out the second operation on the other eye.
This approach allows the first eye to recover its vision and regain stability before the second surgery. Although the rate of complications is low and some surgeons have started to offer simultaneous surgery, it is best to separate the two.

What is cataract surgery like?

Cataract surgery takes under an hour, and most people feel little if any pain. Your doctor will numb the area around your eye with anesthetic (as you need to be awake for the procedure).
They will make a tiny incision in the eye through which they will remove your natural lens and insert the artificial replacement. Your eye will then need some time to recover and heal.

Do I have to stay overnight after cataract surgery?

No, you won’t. As mentioned above, the surgery takes less than an hour in total, with only a few minutes of operating time. You’ll need a short time to recover in the clinic so that your surgeon can assess how it went, then you’ll be free to go home and recover. You’ll need a friend or family member to help you get home safely, as you won’t be able to drive straight after having treatment.

How quickly will my vision improve after cataract surgery?

Your eye may feel a little itchy or sore in the first few days and you may find your eyes water a little more than usual. Bright lights may also cause a problem. It’s best to avoid driving for a while and try not to put any unnecessary pressure or strain on your eye. You may also be asked to wear a patch to help the recovery process.
Your eye will soon heal and your vision will start to return, usually after a couple of hours. It will continue to improve from there, reaching its optimum level after around four to six weeks.

Can cataracts come back?         

Once treatment is carried out, your cataracts can’t come back. It’s a condition that affects the natural lens of the eye, and once this is removed during surgery, you won’t experience the problem again.        

Private cataract surgery with Optegra  

At Optegra, we offer high quality private cataract surgery with world class surgeons, so you can benefit from the best treatment available, without the long waiting lists of having treatment with the NHS.
To find out more, come along to a free open evening, or book a one-to-one consultation with one of our consultants.


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