Cataract surgery is the lens replacement surgery required when a cataract occurs in the eye. This is when the natural lens has lost its clarity and has become cloudy. The cataract causes blurred vision, loss of contrast and can make driving difficult. Cataracts can occur at any age but are most common in people over 60 years old, due to the natural ageing process of the eye. Cataracts can also be genetic, or caused by other factors such as diabetes or previous eye trauma.
If left untreated cataracts normally become larger, obstructing vision more over time, and eventually lead to blindness.
Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens protein and replaces this with a lens implant that can correct your glasses prescription for distance and near vision.
The cataract treatment process will begin with a consultation with your surgeon, typically 1-4 weeks before your surgery. During this meeting, your consultant will perform specialist diagnostic tests on your eye and you’ll discuss lens choice.
A few things to bear in mind before the procedure:
When you’ve arrived at the clinic before surgery, you’ll be given some eye drops to dilate your pupil. A nurse will then discuss aftercare with you so you can be confident in how best to look after your eye following surgery.
Then you’ll be given more eye drops, this time a local anaesthetic to minimise pain during the procedure. The surgery typically only takes 10-15 minutes per eye to perform.
During the procedure, a small cut is made in the cornea, either using a surgical blade or a femtosecond laser. A hole is made in the capsule bag and the cataract broken up into tiny pieces to remove it. The new intraocular lens is then implanted through ultra-precise keyhole surgery. After surgery, you’ll be able to rest in our relaxation suite for 30-45 minutes.
You’ll have your eyes checked a final time before you go home. You’ll also be given some eye drops and instructions about how often to use them and for how long. Your eyes will feel tired and gritty for the remainder of the day, so do stay at home and rest. Your vision will be slightly misty for up to 72 hours after surgery, but you may notice a dramatic improvement in your sight immediately.
In the first couple of days post-surgery, you’re likely to experience some or all of the following:
Your pupil will return to its normal size after about two days and this will dramatically improve your overall vision.
Cataract surgery has extremely high success rates. At OCL we have serious complication rates lower than 0.2% and an infection rate of 0% due to our high standards of care and surgery always being performed by a consultant.
Find out more about what happens after cataract surgery, and which symptoms aren’t normal.
The simplest lens option for cataract surgery is a standard monofocal lens. This is what your surgeon will implant if you get cataract surgery on the NHS. This lens type corrects vision well, but can only be used for either distance or close-up vision, but not both.
A major advantage of getting private cataract surgery with OCL is that we offer the latest lens technologies to achieve the best possible unaided vision for our patients. All our lenses also have UV filters built in for added protection.
We offer a range of advanced lenses, including premium Monofocal, enhanced premium Monofocal (allowing for astigmatism correction) and Multifocal (allowing for correction of near, intermediate and distance vision).
Cataract surgery complications are uncommon. However, as with all surgery, there are some possible complications to be aware of.
The most common complication is posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which occurs in 5-10% of patients following cataract surgery at OCL. This is when you develop cloudy vision and happens when a membrane grows in the lens capsule, over your artificial lens. PCO is easily treatable with YAG laser treatment, which is offered by OCL and is a quick and painless procedure.
Other, more serious complications are very rare. These include:
If you have any concerns about complications following your cataract surgery, please contact OCL and your surgeon will be able to check your eyes.
There are a number of differences between going to the NHS for your cataract surgery, and going privately through OCL. Here are some of the key ones. You can read more here.
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
We offer 0% interest finance options making it easier to spread the cost of surgery over up to 24 months.
A minimum 10% deposit is required and the balance is split over your chosen monthly period of either 6, 10, 12, 18 or 24 months at a rate of 0% APR.
|Cataract surgery – Monofocal lens||£2,500 per eye, or £94 over 24 months|
|Cataract surgery – Premium Monofocal lens||£2,900 per eye, or £109 over 24 months|
|Cataract surgery – Premium Toric Monofocal lens||£3,000 per eye, or £113 over 24 months|
|Cataract surgery – Premium Multifocal lens||£3,600 per eye, or £135 over 24 months|
|Cataract surgery – Premium Toric Multifocal lens||£4,100 per eye, or £154 over 24 months|
|Cataract surgery – IC-8 Lens||£4,300 per eye, or £161 over 24 months|
|Femtosecond Laser-Assisted Surgery||Additional £500 per eye|
There are some alternatives to traditional cataract surgery that your surgeon may recommend based on various factors.
Our surgeons at OCL perform femtosecond laser cataract surgery with the use of a bladeless, femtosecond laser (the latest advance in cataract surgery), which offers a new level of precision to traditional cataract surgery. This technology is offered at an additional charge of £500 per eye.
Below we answer some of the most common questions our surgeons come across. You can find more FAQs on our top 13 cataract FAQ page.
The decision to proceed with cataract surgery will depend on how well you see. As a cataract causes the natural lens in the eye to go cloudy, the longer you leave it, the more cloudy the lens becomes, progressively worsening your vision. In some people this can then lead to falls or the inability to legally drive. Most people notice an improvement in their vision within days of surgery and wish they had done it sooner.
No – unfortunately there is no cure for a cataract without surgery. The only option is to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a new clear lens. There are many types of lenses available depending on your individual needs and whether you would prefer to be free from glasses after surgery.
Yes, you can sleep on your side, although we give you clear eye shields to wear for the first 2 nights to prevent you rubbing your eyes during the night, so you may find it more comfortable to lie on your back.
After cataract surgery we give you eye drops to use for 4 weeks. The drops include an antibiotic drop to help prevent any infection; 2 types of an anti-inflammatory drops to prevent any redness and lubricant drops to use regularly if your eyes feel tired or gritty.
We have an app which is free to download on your device that will send you notifications when your drops are due so that you never miss a drop.
These are some of the key reasons why our patients choose to have cataract surgery at OCL. Find out more about why you should choose OCL, including testimonials, here.
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
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
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
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.