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What exactly is private cataract surgery?

16 April 2020

One in three UK adults will go on to have cataracts, but many more do not realize the range of treatment options.  While surgery is the only solution – a quick and pain-free procedure to remove the cataract – increasingly people are opting to have private cataract surgery, to give them an even better end result with optimum vision.

So what is private cataract surgery?  In a nutshell, while the NHS provides standard cataract surgery where the natural lens of the eye – which has clouded with the cataract – is replaced with a standard lens, specialist private hospitals like Optegra can also offer the same treatment but with a personally tailored, prescription lens.  This can mean freedom from glasses and contact lenses as well as the cataract.

So, let’s take a closer look at how this works and what your options are.

When your optician or optometrist diagnoses a cataract, the only solution is surgery. But rest assured, it is the most commonly performed elective surgery – with over 300,000 procedures carried out on the NHS every year.

In fact, the demand is so high, that the NHS is now even using private hospitals such as Optegra to carry out these NHS procedures on its behalf, in order to help reduce waiting lists.

The NHS procedure – also called ‘standard cataract surgery’ – takes place as a day case, the eye is prepared with drops including local anaesthetic to numb the eye and surrounding area. The procedure then involves the surgeon making a tiny incision – we promise you will not feel this! – and removes the cloudy lens which has been affected by the cataract.  They replace this with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL).  The whole procedure typically only takes around 20 minutes.

Recovery involves a series of eye drops to reduce risk of infection, and you are good to go from the hospital after a little rest and a cup of tea!

So how does private cataract surgery differ?

The practical advantage is that you can have a consultation and appointment within weeks – avoiding the long waiting lists of the NHS.

As for the medical advantage? It is exactly the same procedure, but here is the key difference – private cataract surgery uses an advanced ‘upgraded’ lens.  A multi-focal lens which is specifically tailored for your individual eyes – both from a medical, biological point of view, but also to support you in your everyday lifestyle choices.

So whether you want to improve your long sight, short sight, or mid-range….or even if your vision is affected by astigmatism, your private eye consultant can recommend the exact lens for you, based on detailed examination and discussion.

It will also suit your lifestyle.  So if you need to see incredibly fine detail for needlework, artwork, reading and so on…or if you are the sporty type and want ultimate long distance vision for driving, golf, skiing or hiking…  your personal lifestyle and vision needs will help your consultant determine the exact lenses for you.

Private cataract surgery is not available on the NHS, and so will not be discussed with you in an NHS setting.

So, if you are diagnosed with cataract, do check out your options before you commit to standard cataract surgery. You can only do this procedure once, so it is worth a free consultation with specialist eye hospital group Optegra – where you can hear all the options and make an informed choice.

You may choose to have standard or private cataract surgery with Optegra in a stunning five-star hospital with the latest technologies, no waiting lists and excellent results record.

You may choose to join the list for standard NHS treatment…but we just ask that you know all the options, consider it carefully and make the right choice for you and your precious vision going forward. Learn more about our 5 star private cataract treatment now.

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