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Cataract surgery: everything you need to know

With more than 400,000 cataract removal procedures performed every year in the UK, the common surgical procedure is trusted for its success and longevity, helping eliminate cataracts and potentially the need for glasses.

Are you tired of relying on your glasses for clear vision? We share more about private cataract surgery at BMI The Park Hospital. 

Cataracts refers to the clouding of the lens inside your eye. Your lens sits behind the coloured part of your eye, also known as your iris. It is responsible for focusing incoming light onto your retina (a thin layer of nerve tissue at the back of your eye). Your retina produces an image transmitted to your brain through your optic nerve (the nerve that connects your eye to your brain).

A cataract (the clouding of your lens) occurs when some of the proteins that form your lens clump together. This can impact your vision by interfering with how light travels through your lens.

What causes cataracts?

As you age, your lens can become clouded and discoloured naturally, causing it to turn a yellow colour. Although a cataract is often caused by ageing, you can also develop cataracts following an injury or trauma to your eye, a chronic condition such as diabetes, exposure to radiation, or from using a steroid medication.

What are the three main types of cataracts?

There are three main types of cataracts. You could develop one or a combination of these different forms of cataracts. These include:

  • Nuclear sclerotic cataracts: This form of cataract can cause clouding and discolouration in the centre of your lens, also known as your nucleus. As your cataract (the clouding in your lens) turns a yellowish colour, it can become sclerotic or hardened. You might notice that your distant vision (ability to see objects at a distance) is affected first. The darkening of your lens can impact your perception of colour.
  • Cortical cataracts: This refers to clouding on the outer part of your lens, which can spread towards your pupil. If you are diabetic, you are at increased risk of developing cortical cataracts. It can lead to blurred vision and a glare that could affect your ability to perceive depth.
  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts: This develops on the posterior (back) part of your lens and can worsen. Diabetes and steroid medication can put you at risk of developing posterior cataracts. It can create halos in your vision and a glare around bright lights.

Why might you be advised to have cataract removal surgery at BMI The Park Hospital?

During the early stages of cataracts, you might be offered new prescription for glasses or contact lenses to help you see more clearly. An eye specialist at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham could suggest cataract removal surgery if your symptoms continue to worsen over time, negatively impacting your daily life.

Cataract removal surgery is the only proven method of treating cataracts. At BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham, your cataract surgery will be performed by an eye doctor, known as an Ophthalmologist. The procedure involves removing and replacing your clouded lens with an artificial lens, also called an intraocular lens implant.

You might not experience any symptoms from a cataract until it has reached a large enough size to affect your vision. Cataracts could impact your vision by causing the following symptoms:
  • Clouded or blurred vision: In addition to blurred or clouded vison, cataracts could cause reduced night vision;
  • Double vision in one eye: Double vision, also called diplopia, can cause you to see two images when looking at a single object. These images might appear side-by-side, one raised above the other, or a mixture of the two;
  • Faded colours: You might notice that certain colours appear faded;
  • A glare: This could cause sunlight or other forms of light, for example streetlights or headlights, to appear glaring, and
  • Halos: You might see halos around lights.

Prior to your cataract removal operation, your Ophthalmologist at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham will perform a biometry (a series of scans) to take different measurements of your eye, including the length of your eye, the thickness of your lens and the curvature of your cornea (the outer layer of your eye). These measurements will be used to determine the strength of the lens implant that you will need.

This lens implant could consist of a monofocal lens, which allow you to see objects that are either near or distant, or an accommodating lens, which means you will be able to see both near and distant objects.

What happens during your cataract removal operation at BMI The Park Hospital?

On the day of your cataract removal treatment at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham, you will be taken to an operating theatre, where you will be greeted by your Ophthalmologist. After you are seated and comfortable, your Ophthalmologist will add local anaesthetic eye drops, or a combination of local anaesthetic eye drops and an injection into the skin, around your eye to prevent any feeling.

During your cataract removal operation, your Ophthalmologist will make a small incision in your eye and remove your clouded lens or cataract through a process referred to as phacoemulsification. This will involve using an ultrasound probe to break up your cataract into small pieces, which are then removed from your eye. Your artificial lens, also called an intraocular lens implant, is carefully inserted into your eye. A stitch might be used to close the incision is your eye.

A plastic eye shield or pad could be placed over your operated eye to protect the area and help prevent infection following surgery. You will also be given eye drops to prevent further infection.

How long does a cataract operation take?

Your cataract operation will typically take around 30 minutes to perform.

After your cataract removal treatment at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham, you will be taken to a recovery room where one of our Nurses will offer you something to eat and drink.

You should be able to go home the same day of your operation.

It is important that you avoid driving after cataract surgery until your vision meets the legal standards for driving and your Consultant Ophthalmologist has informed you that is safe for you to start driving again.

Your cataract surgery recovery timeline 

Before you go home following your cataract surgery at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham, your Consultant will provide you with eye drops to encourage the healing of your operated area and minimise the risk of infection. They will explain how to apply these.

During the first four to six weeks after your cataract removal operation, you could experience symptoms such as blurred vision and watery, or bloodshot, eyes. It could take up to six weeks for these symptoms to completely resolve.

After around one to six weeks, your Ophthalmologist, or an Optometrist, at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham will invite you for a follow-up appointment to remove any stitches and discuss whether you require glasses to help you fulfil certain activities, such as reading.

The do’s and don'ts after cataract surgery

The do’s:

  • Apply your eye drops until your Consultant informs that you no longer need to do so (this will often be at your follow-up appointment);
  • Wear your eye shield at night and when showering, and
  • Wear sunglasses or your eye shield when spending time outdoors.

The don’ts include:

  • Do not go swimming for at least four to six weeks;
  • Do not rub or allow soap or shampoo to enter your operated area, and
  • Do not wear any make up on your eyes for the first four weeks after your cataract removal treatment.

As with any operation, there are risks associated with cataract removal surgery. These risks will be discussed at your initial consultation and pre-operative assessment at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham. They can include the following:

  • Bruising: You could experience bruising, which should resolve with time.
  • Posterior capsular opacification (PCO): PCO refers to a clouding of the back wall of your cataract, which can trigger blurred vision. Your Ophthalmologist can treat this through laser treatment.
  • Elevated eye pressure: During the first few days after your operation, you could experience increased pressure in your eye. This can be treated with additional eye drops.
  • Endophthalmitis: If you develop endophthalmitis (an eye infection), your Consultant will give you antibiotics to clear the infection and a steroid to lower inflammation and swelling.
  • Cystoid macular oedema: This condition refers to the presence of inflammatory fluid in your macula (an area in middle of your retina or the back part of your eye). This is usually mild and does not require treatment.

The cost of your cataract surgery at BMI The Park Hospital could vary depending on your diagnosis and the procedure that you need.

At BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham, the price of cataract removal surgery in one eye can cost around £2,119 (not including a lens upgrade). However, if you require cataract removal surgery in both eyes this cost could differ.

The cost of your treatment at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham can be paid using your private medical insurance or through our flexible payment plans. For more information about our payment options and how to set up a payment plan, please click here. 

In addition to delivering Consultant-led care throughout your healthcare journey with us, there are many other benefits to receiving treatment at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham. These include:

  • Flexible appointment times to suit your schedule with our opening hours of 8am to 9pm from Monday to Friday;
  • Treatment plans that are tailored to your needs and requirements;
  • Car parking space and hospital access via public transport for patients based in Nottingham’s surrounding areas including Grantham and Newark.
  • Don’t battle in silence with vision loss or deteriorating vision.

Receive fast help for visual problems today by booking your appointment online, submitting an online enquiry or calling a member of our team on 0115 966 2000.

Specialists offering Cataract surgery

Professor Harminder Dua

Ophthalmologist

MBBS, DO, DO(London), MS, MNAMS, FFMLM, FRCS(Edinburgh), FEBO, FRCOphth, FRCP(Edinburgh, Hon.), FCOptom.(Hon.), FRCOphth.(Hon.), FAICO (Hon.), MD, PhD

BMI The Park Hospital

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Mrs Sushma Dhar-Munshi

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MBBS, MS, DIPNBE, FRCS Ed

BMI The Park Hospital

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