Cataract is the term used to describe clouding of the lens inside the eye that leads to blurred vision and in some cases other symptoms such as glare or altered colour perception. It is usually age related, but can occur as a result of trauma to the eye or eye diseases.
A cataract usually only needs to be removed once it is significantly affecting your vision, that is, when it is interfering with everyday activities such as driving, working, reading, hobbies or watching TV.
The procedure is usually performed under local anaesthetic and takes under 20 minutes. The cloudy lens is usually removed with phacoemulsification, a tiny probe that emits ultrasound waves, allowing the lens to be broken up and subsequently removed by suction. The natural lens is then replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), which is a clear plastic lens that becomes a permanent part of your eye.
The risks of cataract surgery include bleeding, infection, slightly increased risk of retinal detachment, retinal swelling (macular oedema), unexpected short-sightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism, posterior capsular opacification (clouding of the capsule which holds the lens in place) and about a 1 in 1000 risk of blindness.
Eye drops are usually administered for 4 weeks after the surgery and spectacles are usually fitted about 4 weeks after the surgery.
Driving after surgery
Miss Garrott will advise you when it is safe to resume driving. The timing depends on the health of your eyes, the nature of the surgery, and your glasses prescription. Patients are usually advised to expect blurred vision for first week or so after surgery, but many patients are able to drive within a week of surgery. Other patients may not be able to drive until their glasses prescription is updated, usually at about 4 weeks after the surgery.