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Cataract surgery

Most eye doctors suggest considering cataract surgery when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life or make routine daily activities difficult, such as reading or driving at night.

What is cataract surgery?

Cataracts will gradually progress over time, leading to deteriorating eyesight. Currently there are no medicines or eye drops that have been proven to improve cataracts or stop them getting worse.

Cataract surgery is the only proven treatment to reverse the effects of cataracts, with the surgical removal of the natural lens and implantation of an artificial lens.

Traditionally, cataract surgery is performed using a lens replacement technique called
phacoemulsification. However, the most precise and advanced method for removing cataracts is now with laser technology – laser cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery has a very high success rate in improving your eyesight with results lasting a lifetime. Whether you choose lens replacement surgery or laser surgery, both are very safe procedures and complications are unlikely.

It usually takes 2 to 6 weeks to fully recover from cataract surgery.

Common symptoms of cataracts

Common symptoms of cataracts may include the following:

  • frequent chance in glasses prescription
  • colours may appear less distinct, or faded in appearance
  • a glare or halo around images in bright lights
  • reduced vision at night
  • seeing double, or multiple images
  • misty or blurred vision.

The benefits of private cataract surgery

After cataract surgery you should be able to:

  • see things in focus
  • look into bright lights and not see as much glare
  • tell the difference between colours

You may also have a reduced need for glasses and contact lenses. If you have another condition affecting your eyes, such as diabetes or glaucoma, you may still have limited vision, even after successful surgery.

Laser assisted surgery also offers additional benefits over conventional cataract surgery:

  • Less invasive – The precise nature of the laser means less strain of the sensitive tissue and structure of the eye, helping to prevent an inflammatory response
  • Increased accuracy and precision – With individual measurements and technology providing unprecedented accuracy, the surgery is programmed in advanced and allows for perfect alignment of the incisions and placement of the artificial lens
  • Bladeless surgery – The laser allows us to create the perfect shape and dimension for access to the cataract without the need for sharp blades

What can I expect during cataract surgery?

If you have cataract in both eyes, your consultant will most likely schedule surgery to remove the cataract in the second eye after you’ve healed from the first surgery, usually within 6 to 12 weeks. Although both eyes can be done at the same time, most consultants prefer to monitor the outcome for the first eye and understand whether any modifications are needed.

The majority of patients are operated on under a local anaesthetic due to the procedure being relatively short and straightforward. If anxiety is a concern, your consultant may recommend a general anaesthetic.

Lens replacement cataract surgery

Traditional cataract surgery is a straightforward procedure that usually takes 15 to 45 minutes. During the operation, the surgeon will make a tiny cut in your eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic one.

During the procedure, you may experience vague shapes and movements and some people see coloured lights. 

Following the surgery, you may be able to choose either a multifocal or an accommodating lens, which allow the eye to focus on both near and distant objects.  After surgery most people will need to wear glasses or contact lenses for some tasks, like reading, although some don’t.

Laser cataract surgery (refractive laser-assisted cataract surgery or ReLACS)

The total time for the laser cataract procedure is around 10 minutes

During the operation, rather than a blade, a laser is used to make the incision and lens opening that allows the surgeon to remove the cataracts and implant the artificial lens. If the patient has chosen a multifocal lens, which can aid both distance and close-range vision, the laser is particularly effective and can also be used to correct minor astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. 

At the start of the procedure some patients notice clearer vision quickly followed by blurry, as well as obscure shapes and movements. Laser cataract removal is designed to be painless, although you may experience some redness to the eye after the procedure.

Recovery from cataract surgery

You’ll have a follow-up appointment with your specialist team one to two days after surgery to check healing and identify any risk of complications.

Gentle low impact exercise can be resumed after a few days of rest, but high impact activity such as running should be avoided for at least two weeks. Swimming should be avoided for a month to avoid infection. 

Driving can be resumed as soon as you feel comfortable, as long as you can read a standard car number plate in daylight from 20 metres distance. 

Many people return to work after a few days, however if you work in non-office environment that is dusty or dirty, then it may be slightly longer before you can safely return.

Complications of cataract surgery

Although thousands of cataract surgeries are completed without any complications each year in the UK, as with every procedure there is a small risk. Your eye doctor will discuss these with you during your initial consultation. 

In most cases, complications are able to be treated using medication or further surgery.


Please call us to discuss pricing at your local clinic.

  • Cataract surgery £2300.00
  • Laser cataract surgery £3300.00

Ways to pay

Paying for yourself

Healthshare provides access to the highest quality care giving you the opportunity to access the very best treatment, facilities and consultants. Healthcare the way you want it, when you need it.

Spread the cost

A fixed term loan, provided by our partners Chrysalis Finance, will allow you to spread the cost of treatment and allow you to pay in monthly instalments over a time period to suit you.

Medical insurance

If you have private medical insurance you can get referred to a Healthshare Clinic for the very best treatment. Contact your insurance provider to pre-authorise your treatment today.

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