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Cataract surgery

Find out how cataracts are treated and how surgery can improve your vision

A cataract occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy.

You might find you have blurred vision or changes in the focus of your eye. This can make activities such as driving more difficult.

If you have cataracts, new glasses may help to some extent. However, cataracts can get worse over time. If the cataract is too advanced, surgery is the only option to restore your vision.

At BMI Healthcare hospitals, we perform thousands of cataract removal operations each year. Our specialist Consultants typically offer fast diagnosis and will create a bespoke treatment plan based on your individual needs.

Read more about our ophthalmology treatments.

Ageing is the most common reason for cataracts, although they can affect children.

Although the exact reason for cataracts developing is not known, it is thought that the following factors might increase the risk of cataracts:

  • Smoking;
  • Diabetes;
  • Injury affecting the eyes;
  • Family history;
  • Long-term use of steroids and
  • Alcohol.

Cataract removal can improve your eyesight. It can help you to see things in better focus, reduce glare when looking into bright lights and make seeing different colours easier.   

Medicine or eye drops cannot improve cataracts – surgery is the only treatment available.   

Cataract surgery normally takes between 30 to 45 minutes. It involves removing the affected lens and replacing it with a new, artificial lens. 

Most cataract operations are performed under local anaesthetic, though other options are available. Your Consultant will discuss the best option for you. 

Your cataract surgeon will usually break the cloudy lens into small pieces using ultrasound (sound waves) and remove it through a small incision in your eye. The new lens will then be inserted in its place.  

Cataract surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you should be able to go home a few hours after your operation. Before you go home, our team will give you advice on cataract removal aftercare. Full cataract surgery recovery will take between two to six weeks.

You will probably have to wear a pad on your eye overnight. You should be able to feel your eye within a few hours, and your vision will likely take a few days to return. Some pain, grittiness, double vision and a red eye are common side effects after cataract surgery and will reduce with time.

You’ll need to take it easy for the first few days. After that you can start getting back to normal and return to work, though you will have to avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks after surgery.

You will not be able to drive until your doctor says it is safe, and you will not be able to wear eye make-up for around four weeks. You will also need to speak to your doctor if you are planning on travelling on an aeroplane.

You’ll then need to go to your optician for an eye test three to six weeks after your operation as you will probably need new glasses.

Most people recover well from cataract surgery and see a marked improvement in their vision.

Cataract surgery is one of the most common operations performed in the UK and has a very high success rate.

However, as with any operation, complications from cataract surgery can arise.

General complications of any operation include:

  • Pain;
  • Bleeding and
  • Infection.

Specific complications of cataract surgery include:

  • Loss of sight;
  • Tear in the bag which holds the lens in place;
  • Severe bleeding;
  • Clouding of the bag;
  • Retinal detachment and
  • Inflammation in the other eye.

The risk of serious complications from cataract surgery are very low. According to the NHS, the risk of losing sight in an eye because of cataract surgery is 1 in 1,000.

It is also possible that a hazy membrane can form just behind the artificial lens implant, causing blurred vision after cataract surgery. This condition is known as posterior capsule opacity, and it can be easily corrected by a treatment called YAG laser capsulotomy. During YAG laser capsulotomy a small hole is made in the membrane to restore sight.

Our 500 trusted eyecare experts offer personalised care at over 40 BMI Healthcare centres across the UK.

Our experts in affordable eye care offer fast access to treatment in a safe and comfortable environment.

Your bespoke treatment will provide the best possible outcome, along with excellent value for money, to help improve your quality of life.

What you pay will depend on the type of surgery you need and what implant you have. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation.

Specialists Offering Cataract surgery

Mr Aravind Reddy

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

FRCOphth (Lon), FRCS (Edin), MS, DNB, MBBS

BMI Albyn Hospital

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Mr Edward Lee

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MA (Oxon) BM BCh PhD FRCOphth

BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital

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Mr Maharatnam Logendran

Consultant Ophthalmologist

FRCS ed Ophthalmology

BMI Three Shires Hospital

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Mr Srini Goverdhan

Consultant Ophthlamic Surgeon

MD, PhD (Soton), FRCS (Edin), FRCOphth (Lon)

BMI The Winterbourne Hospital

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Mr Vikas Shankar

Consultant Ophthalmologist

FRCOphth; MRCOphth; DO; MBBS

BMI The Highfield Hospital 1 more BMI The Beardwood Hospital

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Mr Atul Bansal

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon


BMI The Meriden Hospital

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