Your Concerns Allayed. Why There’s No Need to be Terrified of Cataract Surgery.

7 September 2023

By Author: Shafiq Rehman

Many prospective patients are irrationally terrified of cataract surgery. Here, we’ll discuss why there’s no reason to be nervous about cataract surgery and why it is one of the safest and most popular treatments carried out in the world.

At Optegra, we are cataract surgery specialists, conducting tens of thousands of cataract procedures each year through one of our dedicated eye hospitals. While it’s perfectly normal to have some nerves before your operation, our expert team of caring staff will be there to ensure your procedure will be as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Your cataract treatment will be carried out by one of our renowned cataract surgeons, all of whom have been trained by the NHS and have conducted many successful procedures.


Optegra eye specialist wearing a mask in front of site equipment

Is Cataract Surgery Scary?

Routine Procedure. Technology and evolution within the eye surgery field have refined and perfected the technique over decades, making it a routine and highly predictable surgery. Even so, it is important to do your due diligence and ensure that you choose an experienced surgeon to carry out your procedure.

Minimal Discomfort. The surgery is typically performed under local anaesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain during the operation.

Quick and easy. Cataract surgery is incredibly quick, taking as little as 8–20 minutes to complete. The surgeon removes the clouded lens and replaces it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore clear vision.

High Success Rates: The success rates for cataract surgery are impressively high, with most patients experiencing a significant improvement in their vision. It’s not uncommon for patients to report clearer and brighter vision immediately after the surgery.

Low Risk. While all surgical procedures come with some minimal level of risk, cataract surgery is considered one of the safest. Complications are rare, and advancements in technology have made the procedure even safer over time. At Optegra, we’re immensely proud of our success rates. Optegra typically carries out more than 35000 cataract surgeries in a year with an overwhelming sustained success rate of over 99% of procedures completed as expected and without complications.

Rapid Recovery. Recuperation after cataract surgery is swift. Most patients can resume their normal activities within a few days, and many can even see a noticeable difference in their vision on the first day after surgery.

To help alleviate fear of cataract surgery, it can help to know in advance what happens on the day of surgery.

  • After arriving at one of our dedicated eye hospitals, our welcome team will ensure that you’re comfortable. Our team always puts our patients first, so this can be a good time to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have. If you are feeling anxious, you can opt for a mild sedative to help you relax.
  • We’ll explain the surgery process from beginning to end.
  • Treatment will take place in one of our modern and well-equipped theatres.
  • You’ll lie down on a comfortable treatment bed while local anaesthesia is applied to the eye. Our team will ensure you are relaxed and comfortable. The procedure itself is quick and pain-free.
  • After surgery, you’ll relax in a comfortable recovery area. Your after-care kit will be provided including eye drops and detailed instrcutions,  you can then leave for home when you feel ready.

You will be able to see after your treatment, although your vision might be a little hazy.

With Optegra, patients located near one of our hospitals can opt for standard cataract surgery via NHS referral. However, some patients prefer to have one of our more advanced cataract treatments available privately. There are several advantages the option to remove or reduce dependency on glasses while having your cataract removed. Learn more about comparing our NHS vs. private cataract treatments.

Whichever option you choose with us, you can rest assured that there is no need to be worried about cataract surgery. In fact, an impressive 93% of Optegra patients would happily recommend us to their family and friends.


Can You be Put to Sleep for Cataract Surgery?

At Optegra cataract surgery is performed under anaesthesia to ensure the patient is comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. Use of local anaesthesia means the eye is numbed prior to surgery. This ensures you won’t feel any pain during the surgery. However, you will typically remain awake and aware during the procedure. Local anaesthesia is the preferred choice because it allows for a quicker recovery and avoids the potential risks associated with general anaesthesia. 

Answers to common questions about cataract surgery

Prior to treatment, patients have many questions about the cataract surgery procedure. Below are some of the most common:

How Aware Are You During Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs the eye and the surrounding area, so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. You are awake and alert during the surgery, but you will not experience any discomfort. Patients typically describe the experience as painless.

The use of local anaesthesia allows the surgeon to communicate with you during the surgery to ensure that you are comfortable and to guide you through any necessary eye movements. The surgeon will also monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure to ensure your safety.

In case you are overly anxious during the period of your surgery, our medical team can provide sedatives to help you relax.


Can I Blink During Cataract Surgery?

Yes, you can blink during cataract surgery, but there’s no need to worry about it interfering with the procedure. During cataract surgery, your eye is held open gently with a special instrument called a lid speculum, which keeps your eyelids from closing. This ensures that the surgeon has access to your eye and can perform the surgery effectively.


How Long Will Cataract Surgery Take?

People are often surprised to learn that cataract surgery only takes between 8 and 20 minutes per eye. Your eyesight will begin to revert to normal a few hours after the procedure, and you can recover in the comfort of your home.

Close up of a pale green yellow eye

What to Expect After Your Surgery

Following your treatment at Optegra, we will ensure you have all the necessary information for a smooth cataract surgery recovery.

Typically, most patients will return to their normal activities and lifestyle within a week or two of their treatment. Many report being able to enjoy a higher quality of life than was possible while they were suffering from cataracts.


Should I Worry About Floaters After Cataract Surgery?

Patients should not worry about developing floaters after treatment. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the clouded natural lens of the eye, which often contains cataracts as well as any pre-existing floaters. During the surgery, the cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), which is clear and does not contain floaters.

In most cases, patients who have floaters caused by their cataracts will notice a significant improvement in their vision and a reduction or elimination of those floaters after cataract surgery. The surgery effectively removes the cataracts and their associated floaters, leading to clearer vision.


How to Relax Before Cataract Surgery

For those scared of cataract surgery, the following tips might help:


Before the operation:

Educate yourself. Learn about the surgery, its benefits, and what to expect. There is plenty of information about cataract surgery on our blog.

Talk with us. Have a thorough discussion with your consultant to address any concerns.

Use relaxation techniques. Practice relaxation exercises like deep breathing or meditation.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated leading up to your surgery.


On the day of the procedure:

Follow the pre-op instructions. Adhere to the fasting and medication guidelines provided by your surgeon.

Wear comfortable clothing. Dress comfortably for the surgery day.

Arrive early. Arriving on time reduces anxiety.

Bring a companion. Have a friend or family member accompany you for support and transportation.

Trust the team. Trust in the skills and experience of the Optegra surgical team.


Days leading up to the surgery:

Stay informed. Keep up with pre-op instructions and medications.

Prepare your home. Arrange your home to be comfortable during recovery.

Rest. Get adequate sleep to ensure you’re well-rested.

Avoid stress. Minimise stressors and engage in calming activities.


You’re in Safe Hands. Meet Our Cataract Surgeons

Optegra consultants are renowned specialists in the field of cataract surgery. Every Optegra consultant is NHS-trained and a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO). Remember, not only is cataract surgery a routine and safe procedure, but with our brilliant surgeons and medical team, your comfort and well-being are assured.

What next? Get in touch for free, no-obligation advice.

If you’re suffering from cataracts, why not contact us to see if we can help? Our friendly and experienced patient services team is waiting to offer advice on how we can provide treatment quickly and comfortably. Or learn more about cataract surgery with Optegra.

Shafiq Rehman Headshot

By Author: Shafiq Rehman

Mr Rehman is a highly acclaimed ophthalmologist with 27 years of experience.

Medically Reviewed Date: 7th September 2023


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