Private Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed elective surgery in the UK and permanently removes the cloudy lens protein that causes loss of vision with cataract. Once removed, an artificial lens implant is inserted into the eye to correct the patients’ vision.

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What is cataract surgery?

A cataract is the clouding of the natural lens of the eye, limiting the amount of light that can enter, and preventing us from seeing well.

cataract lens

Traditional cataract surgery is performed manually and involves a small incision being made in the eye to remove the cloudy lens using a highly-sophisticated ultrasound probe, and then the insertion of an artificial transparent lens to clear up the mistiness and restore sight. Cataract surgery is normally carried out as a day-case procedure, and both eyes are usually treated within a single visit (using different equipment).

The procedure typically only takes 10-15 minutes to perform, during which the lens is implanted through a keyhole microscopic suture-less corneal incision. Surgery is carried out under local anaesthetic drops and is not painful.

Cataract treatment

You will usually have your cataract surgery 1-4 weeks after the consultation with your surgery. Most people spend between two and two and half hours at the clinic on surgery day, and we recommend that you take at least two days off work.

When you come to have your eye surgery, remember to bring your consent form. It’s also a good idea to bring sunglasses to wear on the way home, and please don’t wear eye makeup.

Many people bring a friend or family member with them to help them get home afterwards, as your vision may be blurry for 48-72 hours. You will be able to see within a few minutes of the procedure being completed, but it will be a few days before you can see well enough to drive. Even if you take a taxi or use public transport, your friend can make sure you pay the correct fare and get home to the right house!

Your cataract surgery

Once at the clinic, the nurses will use drops to dilate your pupil(s). A nurse will discuss the aftercare with you, explaining the eye drops and how to look after your eyes immediately after treatment and in the days that follow.

We will collect your signed consent form before you see your surgeon again to talk through the treatment.

Anaesthetic eye drops will be put in your eyes to numb them. Most of these procedures are carried out under local anaesthetic, although a general anaesthetic or sedation may be used in particular circumstances. The surgery then takes approximately 10-15 minutes per eye. After surgery, you will rest back on the ward for 30-45 minutes.

Immediately after your surgery

Your surgeon will check your eyes again before you leave the clinic. Your eyes will feel tired and gritty for the rest of the day so we advise you to stay at home and rest.

You will be able to see afterwards, but your vision will be slightly misty for 48 – 72 hours. Depending on what the vision was like before, you may notice a dramatic improvement straight away.

Read our cataract surgery testimonials


I would most definitely 100% recommend. What was achieved for me exceeded my greatest expectations. I am so delighted with my vision that it’s as if a whole new part of me has just hatched!

Read about Ann’s experience

What makes our service unique?


Treatment tailored for you

You are always at the centre of everything we do. We do not offer a one size fits all approach but rather customise every single treatment to your individual visual needs, so you’ll always get the best procedure for your eyes and your vision


The choice for healthcare professionals

Our surgeons are known the world over and are some of the best in the country, with over 30,000 completed surgeries between them. We treat many surgeons, doctors and anaesthetists who also refer their friends and family to us as they know they will be in safe hands with our expert surgeons


State of the art technology

We have spared no expense. Eye surgery requires perfect precision, that’s why we have invested in only the latest and most advanced technology. We are not tied into any particular company or manufacturer which means we have complete freedom to choose the best from the many options


Experts you can trust

Patients need to be able to trust us with their eyes. We are honest with our approach and offer the very best evidence-based treatment with the your best interests always at heart. We pride ourselves on recruiting and retaining the best staff in the business to ensure that you are supported throughout every step of your journey.

Are there any risks with cataract surgery?

Allon Barsam Cataract Surgeon

Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to restore vision and serious complications are very rare. 85% of our patients have better than 20/20 vision one month on from the procedure. And 100% of patients have better than 20/40 vision (the legal driving standard) one month on from the procedure. Our surgeons have complication rates of less than 0.5%, compared to the UK average of 3% for cataract surgery. Our surgeons are also recognised as among the best cataract surgeons in the UK as voted by other ophthalmologists.

It’s completely normal to experience a little-blurred vision while your eyesight settles for a day or two, or in some cases for a week or two. Some people can require glasses for distance or near vision after cataract surgery but also have the option of laser eye surgery to decrease the need for glasses. Following cataract surgery, a minority of individuals do experience the onset of visual problems similar to those caused by cataracts, with symptoms including blurry vision and difficulty with glare from bright lights. This relatively common phenomenon is caused by a condition known as posterior capsule opacification, and is caused by a thickening of the lens capsule that secures the artificial lens in place.

Treatment is a quick, simple, routine and low-risk procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy and can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Following this, patients can expect their sight to return to normal within a few days (the same level of sight that was originally restored by the cataract surgery).

Our surgeons are different

The choice of your surgeon may be the most important thing you decide about cataract surgery. Whilst most general ophthalmologists perform cataract surgery, all our surgeons are dual trained in cataract and laser eye surgery. This gives them a unique skill set and approach to cataract surgery that aims to achieve optimal potential vision for the patient.

This is possible because of their ability to use laser eye surgery to refine the outcomes of the cataract surgery for best potential vision. This matters to you for the simple reason that lens prediction in cataract surgery isn’t perfect. As a national average 70% of patients will be within +/- 0.5 dioptres of the refractive target, and 90% within 1 dioptre. 10% will be outside this range. This means that glasses can be needed for best possible vision in some cases including driving.

Astigmatism correction is similarly unpredictable. At OCL we are one of the few clinics in London to use the Lenstar Hill-RBF artificial intelligence lens prediction technology which achieves accuracy of over 95% within 0.5 dioptres of target outcome. If you are having a multifocal lens and are off target or have astigmatism you will not have the best possible vision from that eye without glasses. The fact that our surgeons use AI technology to predict lens power and are able to refine their outcomes by laser eye surgery, where necessary, means that the patient achieves their full potential vision.

Mr Ali Mearza

Cataract surgery in complex cases

As surgeons that perform corneal transplants and reconstructive surgery we are often referred complex cases from other general eye surgeons including cataract surgery in Fuchs’ dystrophy, radial keratotomy and combined corneal transplantations. Complex reconstructions of the front of the eye are also performed including implantation of artificial iris and pupil segments.


If you suffer from cataracts, you are more than likely suitable for surgery. That being said, you should book an initial consultation with a specialist, where the appropriate treatment can be advised based on an assessment of your health and any other circumstances.

Premium lenses

Permanent lens replacement/cataract surgery has evolved from simple removal of a lens/cataract to restoration of best possible vision. This type of ‘vision surgery’ requires the expertise of a surgeon that performs vision correction surgery including laser eye surgery to achieve best possible results. With premium multifocal lenses this can mean distance and reading vision with minimal need for glasses and correction of astigmatism.

Most often, traditional cataract surgery is carried out and one of the latest premium intraocular lenses will be inserted dependent on a number of factors including your current prescription and personal preferences.

A number of alternatives are available, however, which your surgeon can discuss with you in more detail.

Monofocal Lenses

Corrects distance vision (myopia/short-sightedness) only, providing that the patient does not suffer from astigmatism. Glasses may still be required for reading or distance vision.

Premium Intraocular Lenses

Can correct astigmatism and/or offer both distance and reading vision (hypermetropia/long-sightedness) simultaneously, allowing patients to be free from wearing glasses entirely.

Customised Aspheric IOLs

Lenses can be specially tailored and customised to the individual optical properties of a patient’s eye to provide the optimal quality of vision.

Toric IOLs

Correct astigmatism as well as myopia and hypermetropia. Multifocal and Trifocal IOLs can also be used in toric format to address astigmatism whilst addressing near and distance vision.

Multifocal and Trifocal IOLs

Are divided into multiple zones which are focused for distance, intermediate and near vision, allowing most patients to be free from wearing glasses entirely.

Extended Depth of Focus IOLs

Enable patients to have better vision across a broad range of distances.

IOL Blended Vision

The dominant eye is corrected for perfect distance vision and the non-dominant eye is corrected for reading/intermediate vision. The result is independence from glasses for all activities except close reading.

IC-8 Pinhole IOL

The new lens is inserted into your non-dominant eye and uses a pinhole design that allows only focused light to enter the eye, giving patients greater independence from glasses for far, near and intermediate distances.

Alternatives to cataract surgery

What to expect after cataract surgery

When can I expect to notice the effects of the new artificial lens?

For most people it’s within a day, with vision reaching its maximum level of improvement after about a month

Will my eye hurt after surgery?

Your eye may feel a little sore and gritty for a few days after surgery. Some patients feel no discomfort at all. Most patients will not experience any major discomfort.

What follow up appointments are there?

Patients will have a follow-up appointment around 2 weeks after surgery in order to check vision improvements and address any concerns. After 4-6 weeks patients are required to complete an eye test.

Will I still need to wear glasses?

Many patients can completely dispense with glasses for distance vision, although most will still require reading glasses.

If you wish to be 100% glasses free – speak to your surgeon about premium, multifocal intraocular lenses, including trifocal and extended depth of focus lenses.

How long does cataract surgery last and will I need surgery again?

In most cases, the effects of cataract surgery last a long time, with the majority of patients experiencing long-term improved vision, free of side effects.

When can I go back to work after surgery?

You should be able to return to work within 1-2 weeks after surgery. If you work from home and simply use a computer you can resume work as soon as you feel comfortable to do so.

When can I drive or fly after surgery?

You can drive again whenever your vision has cleared and you feel ready. For most people, this takes a few days, but may take longer.

We recommend that for air travel you wait at least one week after surgery.

How much does cataract treatment cost?

Insurance Options

We provide fee assured private insurance services at our flagship Central London clinic and surgery facility for cataract surgery.

We are part of the AXA PPP and BUPA cataract networks; if you’re insured with these companies, we will bill your insurer a pre-agreed package price which includes your cataract consultation, diagnostic tests, surgery and aftercare.

Learn more about private insurance options at Ophthalmic Consultants of London here: Insurance options at OCL


Self-pay prices


Initial consultation


RLE / Cataract Surgery (Premium Monofocal Lenses) [per eye]

Femto Laser – premium monofocal [per eye]



RLE/ Cataract Surgery (Premium Toric monofocal)

Femto Laser – Premium toric [per eye]



RLE / Cataract Surgery (Premium multifocal) [per eye]

Femto Laser – premium Multifocal [per eye]



RLE / Cataract Surgery (Premium multifocal toric) [per eye]

Femto Laser – premium Multifocal toric [per eye]



YAG (original surgery with surgeon) – one eye


YAG (original surgery with surgeon) – both eyes


YAG (original surgery elsewhere) – one eye


YAG (original surgery elsewhere) – both eyes


Find out more about our pricing.

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