Most of us will at some point be faced with worsening vision due to cataract as we age, and the need to consider cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is often an opportunity to improve your natural level of vision as well as correct short sight, long sight and astigmatism. However, as remarkable as modern cataract surgery is, there are some associated risks to it as with any other surgery.
In the UK, cataract surgery is performed by the NHS and also at private clinics and hospitals.
The NHS does an amazing job of providing cataract surgery to the general population. An ageing population and the fact that most people require cataract surgery as they get older make this type of surgery the most common surgery performed in the UK. This places pressure on NHS trusts and potentially creates long waiting lists. This situation is likely to be exacerbated by the current NHS wide shutdown of services due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The role of the NHS is to widely provide cataract surgery to the population whilst also training the next generation of eye surgeons. In this capacity, the primary aim of surgery is to remove the cataract rather than necessarily provide glasses-free vision, and to this end NHS hospitals only use monofocal lens implants, generally aiming for good distance vision.
Patients will usually require glasses for reading as well as for distance in some cases if they have residual glasses prescription or astigmatism. As the only source of training of junior doctors, NHS cataract surgeries will be performed by different grades of doctors, some of whom are learning surgery.
Overall complication rates in this setting are up to 2% based on the National Cataract Dataset of 57000 cataract surgeries.