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Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery involves removing and replacing the lens of your eye

Cataracts affect one in two people over 65. They are characterised by progressive clouding of the eye’s lens, making your vision blurry, foggy and unclear. If cataracts are affecting your vision, our world-renowned ophthalmic surgeons can operate to replace the damaged lens with an artificial implant.

Most cataract surgery is performed using local anaesthetic drops in the discreet and comfortable daycare unit. The consultants use the no needle, no stitch procedure, allowing you to make a quicker recovery.

Surgery can restore your vision and your quality of life. The eye surgeons at Sulis Hospital Bath have extensive experience. Collectively they have performed more than 100,000 cataract procedures. So, you can relax knowing you’re in good and trusted hands.

Your eye is like a camera and has a lens at the front of the eye that sits just behind the iris, the coloured part of the eye. Light travels through the pupil, which is the hole in the middle of the iris, and is focused by the lens onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye.

How does a cataract affect sight?

Early lens changes or opacities may not disturb vision, but as the lens continues to change, several specific symptoms including blurred vision, glare, increased nearsightedness or distorted images may develop.

Cataract usually develops as part of the ageing process, but can also result from eye injuries, certain medical problems such as diabetes, medication such as steroids, or by genetic inheritance.

Currently, there are no medications, eye drops, glasses, or exercises that will make cataracts disappear. You may wish to have your cataract treated as soon as your vision interferes with your daily life and your ability to work, read, or do the things that you enjoy. You may need
surgery if you have a driving licence and wish to continue to drive, as you must reach the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) Standard (the ability to read
a standard number plate in daylight with both eyes open at about 20 metres).

A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally transparent lens of the eye.

If this is significant, it scatters or blocks the light passing through the lens and results in blurred vision.

The lens of the eye is a small transparent disc. As light passes through the lens, it is focused onto a specific part of the back of the eye (the retina). This is part of the process that gives us normal, healthy vision. A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye. It blocks light from passing through the lens, causing our vision to become blurred, distorted and unclear.

Cataract surgery is a quick and simple operation to restore vision by replacing the natural, cloudy lens of the eye with a new, artificial one. It is an excellent operation and one that really can make a huge difference to anyone who has been struggling with vision loss caused by a cataract.

Cataract surgery is one of the most widely performed surgical procedures in the world. During that time, we have had the privilege of seeing many thousands of people benefit from having their sight improved.

Cataract surgery is considered a very safe operation. By surgical standards it is a ‘quick’ operation, normally only taking 15 minutes or so. During the surgery, the surgeon makes a tiny incision into the eye to remove the lens which has become cloudy (the cataract). An artificial lens implant is then inserted in its place.

The surgery is performed under local anaesthetic, meaning you should be able to return home after a few hours. It can take time for your vision to readjust, so I always recommend you have a friend or family member to accompany you home afterwards. You should not drive yourself home.

Lens technology has come in leaps and bounds in recent years, and there are several different lens types to choose from depending on your particular requirements. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, treatment can be tailored to your exact requirements.

Monofocal lenses are the most commonly used lenses.

If you want to reduce your reliance on reading glasses, multifocal lenses are available. They give multiple focal points in distant and near vision, and some of the very newest lenses cover intermediate vision too. While these lenses are very successful, there is a degree of compromise: some patients perceive glare and 'haloes' around lights, particularly at night. These effects often improve with time, but a minority of people can find this troublesome.

Toric lenses are designed to help astigmatism (where the front of your eye is shaped more like a rugby ball than a football). A small degree of astigmatism is very common and almost normal, but if you have a higher than normal degree of astigmatism, you may need a toric implant. Both monofocal and multifocal lenses are available in a toric form.

Unfortunately, a cataract cannot be treated with glasses, contact lenses, laser eye surgery, medication or exercise. Thankfully, cataract surgery is available, and it is one of the most established (and safest) operations in the UK, with a very high success rate.

Hosptial size

Around half the people in the UK aged between 65 and 75 will have a cataract. Although a cataract can develop at any age, the risk does increase with age.

You may find it is becoming hard to read or drive. You might also find yourself feeling increasingly frustrated or vulnerable as a result of having your vision impaired. If a cataract is affecting your enjoyment of daily life, your ability to do certain activities or your capacity to work, you may want to consider treatment.

Click on the short film to discover more.

Our operating theatres are bright, spacious and equipped with the latest technology to support the skills of our ophthalmic surgeons.

The ophthalmology consultants insert the best-performing premium, multifocal and toric intraocular lenses. The Specialist Eye Unit provides individually tailored care; your surgeon will select the lens implant that best suits your eyes, lifestyle and visual needs.

Eye problems can make it difficult to read, work and drive. Long waits for eye surgery can allow your vision to deteriorate, affecting your general well-being and decreasing your health and fitness.

Our Specialist Eye Unit offers investigation, diagnosis and surgery for eye problems with short waiting times so that you can get back to living an active and fulfilling life.

We offer patients exceptional eye care and a great patient experience in a luxurious environment. The en-suite bedrooms, consultation rooms and daycare unit are clean, airy, modern and well-appointed.

The whole team is dedicated to keeping you healthy, happy and comfortable. The chef offers a selection of delicious meals, drinks and snacks to fuel your recovery. The ward staff are skilled and sensitive. Our staffing levels ensure they have the time to offer each patient individualised care and support, as well as a chat and a friendly smile.

You may be covered by private medical insurance, or you may wish to consider spreading the cost of your surgery by opting for a monthly payment plan.

We aim to make our costs as transparent as possible, but it’s important to talk everything through in detail with your consultant at the time of your appointment. Some costs may be paid directly to the hospital, while others, such as your consultant fees, may be paid directly to the consultant.

Treatment Overview

Combining a calming hospital environment with outstanding patient care to aid your recovery.

  • Typical hospital stay Same-day

  • Type of anaesthetic Local

  • Covered by health insurance? Yes

  • Can I pay privately? Yes

You’re in safe hands at Sulis Hospital.

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