Cataract surgery involves removing your cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. It is normally performed as day surgery under local anaesthetic, so you are awake but your eye will not feel any pain. You will not be able to see properly during the operation, but you may notice bright lights or colours. You will need to lie relatively still during the operation and someone will be holding your hand.– if you need to cough or adjust your position, please warn the hand holder.
We make small incisions (cuts) in the side of the eye, and use ultrasound probes in a technique called ‘phacoemulsification’ (not lasers, as is commonly believed) to remove your cataract, and then replace it with the artificial lens. This is made of special type of plastic and stays in your eye forever, only rarely needing replacement.
Measurements taken before the operation help us decide which lens strength is right for you. Usually, we aim to make you glasses-free for distance, so that you only need glasses for reading. However, there is a chance you will need glasses for both distance vision and reading after surgery, particularly if you have a history of astigmatism or an irregularly shaped eye. The operation usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
Most people have the operation under a local anaesthetic. This means that you’ll be awake during the operation but you won’t feel any pain. Your local anaesthetic may be just eye drops, an injection, or a combination of both.
Most cataract operations are performed as day-case procedures, meaning that you won’t stay in a hospital overnight. You should probably plan to be at the hospital for few hours on the day of your surgery.
If you think that having the operation with a local anaesthetic may be difficult, speak to your ophthalmologist as soon as you can.