I will examine your eye and take measurements to determine the power of the implant needed to correct your vision. We will discuss your postoperative optical prescription to determine whether you just want your eyes balanced up, or whether you would prefer better near or distance vision, without glasses.
When will I be able to see after cataract surgery and when will I be able to return to work?
Your vision should be better the day after surgery, although in some patients, the visual improvement is delayed 3 or 4 days. Following surgery, you will need to have drops in your eyes for about 3 weeks. In patients who get good unaided distance vision, focussing on close objects will be difficult until reading glasses have been ordered. Unfortunately, most opticians do not like to prescribe glasses until 5 weeks following surgery. To tide you over, I recommend you purchase some magnifying glasses (e.g. + 1 to + 3, whatever you find best) from a retailer such as Wilkinson or Tesco. It will not harm your eye if the optical power of the glasses is not completely accurate, so you can choose a suitable pair by experimentation (choose +2.5 dioptres if you are not sure).
Can I have both eyes treated the same day?
Infection in cataract surgery can be extremely serious. The risk of infection is extremely low with the procedures we employ, but to be on the safe side, we never operate on both eyes the same day. You can have surgery spaced a few days apart however.
Is the procedure painful?
The surgery is not painful because my anaesthetist will numb your eye beforehand. All you have to do during the procedure is to keep still and try not to talk. This is because your head movements are magnified 20 times by the surgical microscope and small movements can cause complications. If necessary, we will give you something to calm you down, and you will be able to communicate with me during the operation by squeezing a nurse’s hand (which you hold throughout the operation).
Should you wait for the cataract to be ripe before having an operation?
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed operations and has evolved hugely over the last 20 years. Because it is so successful, we now operate on eyes at a much earlier stage when they are easier to remove. You shouldn’t wait years for your cataract to ripen because this increases the risk of a surgical complication.
How safe is cataract surgery?
Cataract surgery is a relatively risk free procedure. The main problems occur in patients with very advanced cataracts, in patients who move suddenly during the operation and in patients with abnormal eyes due to other ocular disease.
Is cataract surgery permanent?
Cataract surgery is permanent and can only be done once. In about 5% of patients, some scarring of the structural support for the implant occurs, which results in glare and blurring of vision. This can be treated by laser as an outpatient procedure.
Will I need reading glasses?
Usually, we aim to get you to see reasonably well without glasses, although you may still need glasses to get the very best distance vision. Most patients require reading glasses after surgery.
What can I do after the operation?
You should be able to see reasonably well the day following surgery, but if the vision deteriorates after initial improvement, get back in contact with my secretary. You can bend over after cataract surgery but avoid heavy physical activity. You can wash your hair although you should try and avoid getting water in your eye until you have stopped taking the steroid (prednisolone forte) drops. If you want, you can gently bathe your eyelids with cotton dipped into boiled water, and this is especially useful the day following the operation, when the eyelids may be stuck together. The most important thing to avoid is poking your finger into your eye. I would also suggest you avoid gardening for 3 weeks, but you can enjoy a round of golf or play bowls as early as 5 days after surgery.