What Am I Not Seeing
Thursday 31 March 2016

Although cataract surgery has evolved tremendously over the past two decades, the old fashioned ideas of a 'film that grows over the eye' and needing to be 'ripe' before they can be treated are still believed by many - resulting in people struggling unnecessarily where treatment could improve life very quickly.


Cataract is the clouding of the natural lens inside the eye that typically occurs as we get older and results in a gradual loss of vision that cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. In the UK approximately one third of patients over the age of 65 will have visually significant cataract.


Cataract surgery is one the most commonly performed and most successful operations in the world - typically being done as a daycare procedure (no need to stay in hospital), under local anaesthetic (awake but numb, no feeling sick afterwards), and with visual recovery beginning within hours. A typical cataract operation takes around 20-25 minutes and does not involve needles or stitches. The procedure is a 'keyhole' procedure, with the largest opening routinely being less than 3mm but possibly even less than 2mm with the modern equipment. To remove the cataract through such a small opening, ultrasound power +/- laser energy is used. 


After cataract surgery most patients will quickly demonstrate less dependence on spectacles - with some 'premium' lenses they may even be completely free of spectacles for distance and near - and so some patients feel it to be a nicety rather than a necessity. However there is good evidence to support patients experiencing improved quality of life: it has been shown to reduce the risk of falls/accidents and to reduce the impact/progression of conditions that affect mood and memory such as Alzheimer's.


If you have any concerns regarding Cataracts or would like to book an appointment to see Mr Saj Khan, Consultant Ophthalmologist please contact North Downs Hospital on 0800 0468036 or complete our online enquiry

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