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Cataract refers to the clouding of your natural lens. Most cataracts are caused by natural changes in the lens brought on by age.
You may notice that your sight just isn't quite right as cataracts develop slowly. Gradually your sight becomes cloudier, making it harder to see.
Lights can seem to glare and you may notice that colours look different.
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed operations in the UK. Cataract surgery is a small operation used to treat eye cataracts, where cloudiness within the lens of the eye causes blurred or misty vision.
Cataracts are treated by removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial plastic lens (an intraocular implant).
When your vision affects your quality of life and prevents you doing things you’d like to do, surgery to remove the cataract may be recommended.
The standard artificial lens implanted is monofocal. This lens provides one focal point, so you can choose to have either clear distance vision or the near vision needed for reading, using a mobile phone, looking at a watch or choosing from a menu. If you opt for this lens, you'll need reading glasses or distance glasses after your surgery.
These lenses provide clear vision plus a full range of vision - distance, intermediate and near. the need for glasses afterwards is greatly reduced and most patients won't need glasses at all. There are some compromises with these lenses, which will discussed at your consultation.
Toric lenses correct astigmatism and are available as a monofocal or multifocal lens.
Your consultant will advise which options are available to you.
The operation is usually carried out as day surgery so you’ll be able to return home on the day of the operation, although you won’t be able to drive yourself.
The operation takes around 30 minutes and will be carried out under a local anaesthetic, so you’ll be awake but you won’t be able to feel any pain. After the local anaesthetic has taken effect, your surgeon makes tiny cuts on the surface of your eye in order to remove the cloudy lens. The lens will usually be broken up using ultrasound waves, before it’s removed. The capsule the lens sat in is left behind; the new artificial lens will be placed in this capsule, where it will remain permanently.
After surgery, your eye is usually left without stitches, allowing it to heal naturally.
You may have some pain or discomfort after the operation which we’ll help you manage with painkillers. It may take several hours before you can feel your eye again properly, and it will probably be covered with a protective bandage.
We’ll discuss your aftercare and any follow-up appointments with you before you leave Benenden hospital. You may have eye-drops to prevent infection and to help control swelling in the eye.
Cataract Surgery at Benenden Hospital
Jane Styche, Eye Unit Sister, discusses cataract surgery at Benenden Hospital. What cataracts are, what to expect and the different treatment can have for patients.