Skip to main content

Cataract surgery

Are you suffering with cataracts and considering private cataract treatment? Discover more about private cataract removal surgery, including the average cost and key benefits..

Eye cataracts commonly occur as people get older, resulting in reduced vision. A cataract describes the clouding of the lens in your eye. Normally, the lens in your eye is clear and helps focus the light entering your eye.

Developing a cataract will cause your sight to become cloudy and misty. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes. 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. 

Intraocular lens implant is an effective treatment option used to treat cataracts. An intraocular lens (IOL) is a small, artificial lens that is implanted into the eye to help refocus its lens. There are different types of intraocular lenses.

Your Consultant will advise which lens would benefit you most. We perform thousands of cataract removal operations each year. Our specialist Consultants offer fast diagnosis and will create a bespoke treatment plan based on your individual needs.

Cataract surgery has advanced significantly over the years and our network of hospitals use advanced technology to provide the best outcomes. We can also offer our patients a range of premium options.

Our premium lens implant options can provide better visual outcomes, potentially eliminating the need to wear glasses after surgery.

The main cataract symptoms to be aware of are:

  • Clouded or blurry vision;
  • Colours might appear faded;
  • Sunlight might appear too bright, or
  • Double vision.

You may also have to change your glasses prescription regularly. If you have mild cataracts, or early cataracts, you might not experience symptoms at first, but these could develop over time

There are three main types of cataracts that mostly develop with age. These are nuclear sclerotic, cortical and posterior subcapsular. These are categorised by where they develop in the eye.

Nuclear sclerotic cataract

This is the most common type of cataract. It begins in the middle of the lens (the nucleus). As it develops, clouding can spread to other layers of the eyes, causing poor vision.

Cortical cataract

This starts in the outer layer of the lens. As it progresses, it forms lines that lead into the centre of the lens, reducing vision.

Posterior subcapsular cataract

These develop near the back of the lens, directly in the path of light. It can reduce a person's vision, especially in bright light.

What causes cataracts?

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.

Early signs of cataracts include increased sensitivity to light and glare and double vision. These can become progressively worse over time.

Cataract vision can be blurry, hazy or less colourful. People might not notice they have cataract vision at first.

Cataract removal is a potential treatment option. Find out more about it below.

Why do I need eye surgery for cataracts?

Surgery is a potential treatment option for cataracts as the cloudy lens is replaced to restore vision. Before having surgery you should decide whether it's the right treatment option for you.

Your Consultant Ophthalmologist will discuss your treatment options with you so that you can make an informed decision.

Most cataract surgery in the UK is performed by phacoemulsification.

Phacoemulsification cataract surgery is a way of removing your cataracts with an instrument that uses sound waves to break up the lens in your eye. During the procedure, your Consultant will usually break the cloudy lens into small pieces using ultrasound (sound waves) and remove it through a small incision in your eye. A new lens will then be inserted in its place.

Most cataract surgeries are performed under local anaesthetic, which means that you’ll be awake during the operation, but you won’t feel any pain.

With laser cataract surgery, the cloudy lens will be broken using a laser. This laser breaks the lens for it to be suctioned and removed. Laser surgery adds precision, accuracy and reproducibility, which potentially reduces risks and improves visual outcomes of cataract surgery.

Most people will need to wear glasses for some small, everyday tasks after surgery (like reading), but this mostly depends on the type of lens fitted, as some lenses can correct vision symptoms, removing the need to wear glasses.

We can offer different lens options when having cataract surgery:


A monofocal intraocular lens aims to reduce the need to wear glasses for distance vision.

Multifocal lens

A multifocal intraocular lens aims to reduce the dependence on wearing glasses for a wider range of activities, including intermediate and near vision.

Toric lens

A toric intraocular lens aims to correct astigmatism as well as near-sightedness and far-sightedness.

Cataract surgery, also known as cataract removal, should be considered when blurred vision is preventing you from fulfilling everyday activities.

The procedure is not painful because it is performed under anaesthetic and is one of the most common performed procedures in the UK.

Can cataracts come back after removal?

No, cataracts cannot grow back, because the entire lens is removed during surgery.

How long does a cataract operation take?

It usually takes between 30 to 45 minutes.

Most cataract operations are performed under local anaesthetic, though other options are available, which can be discussed with your Consultant.

Following cataract surgery, you should be able to go home a few hours after your operation. Before this, your team will offer advice on cataract surgery aftercare and managing your recovery at home.
Full cataract surgery recovery will take between two to six weeks.

Some pain, grittiness, double vision and a red eye are common side effects after cataract surgery and will reduce with time.

Your anaesthetic should wear off after a few hours, and your vision will likely take a few days to return fully.

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 need to avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks after surgery.

You will not be able to drive until your Consultant says it is safe post cataract surgery, and you will not be able to wear eye make-up for around four weeks. You will also need to speak to your Consultant 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.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

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.

There are many benefits of cataract surgery, including:

  • Consultant-led care;
  • Quick access to treatment;
  • Personalised treatment packages;
  • High quality treatment delivered with our network of hospitals;
  • Option to have a premium lens to reduce reliance on glasses to correct vision, and
  • Flexible payment options available.

To find out more about private cataract surgery, you can book a first consultation with one of our Consultants who will provide you with more detailed information.

Our cataract surgery package prices include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments.

However any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our costs include all surgery fees and aftercare appointments with our Consultant Ophthalmologists and Optometrists.

We provide fixed term monthly payment plans over 12 - 60 months with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 12-months, you will pay interest free. If you are paying for a longer period, you pay 9.9% APR. More details on our flexible payment options can be found here.

Speak to one of our dedicated advisors on 0141 300 5009 or book a consultation online to find out more.

Specialists offering Cataract surgery

Dr Alasdair Fern

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MBChb, DO, FRCS(Ophth), FRCOphth

BMI Ross Hall Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Vaughan Tanner

Consultant Ophthalmic, Cataract and Vitreoretinal Surgeon

BSc Hons (Lond), MBBS (Lond), FRCOphth (Lond)

BMI The Princess Margaret Hospital 1 more Circle Reading Hospital

View profile Book online

Mrs Salwa Abugreen

Consultant Ophthalmologist


BMI The Beardwood Hospital

View profile Book online

Ms Kadambari Oswal

Consultant Ophthalmic and Vitreoretinal Surgeon

MBBS, MS in Ophthalmology, MRCOphth, FRCOphth, Ongoing: Surgical Leadership Programme from Harvard Medical School.

BMI Woodlands Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Pavi Agrawal

Consultant Ophthalmologist

FRCOPhth, MRCOPhth, MB BChir, BSc(Hons)

BMI The Park Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Shery Thomas

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon


BMI The Park Hospital

View profile Book online

Find a specialist

General Enquiries