Bright Sight

Oliver Backhouse, Consultant Eye Surgeon

Cataract Surgery - local anaesthetic
The Patient Journey

Oliver Backhouse - BSc, MB BS, FRCOphth

What is a Cataract and what are Cataract Symptoms?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. If you imagine the eye is like a camera, it is the lens of the camera that has gone milky and so this prevents light getting to the back of the eye. There are no eye drops, medication or laser which can remove a cataract. Cataract surgery is needed and this is a very successful operation in skilled hands. Successful surgery will remove the cataract symptoms of blurred vision, glare, dazzle and occasionally double vision.

Your assessment.

You will be sent an appointment before the actual date of cataract surgery to have the eye thoroughly examined and accurately measured so we know what strength of artificial lens to use. The doctor will briefly examine your eyes before getting the eye measurements from the advanced IOL-Master. The eyes will be dilated and then the cataract and health of the retina examined. There will be a discussion regarding the different types of artificial lenses that can be used (some can give freedom from glasses for distance and near vision) and consent will be obtained. A date for your surgery will be given to you by my secretary within the following few weeks. Your second eye can be done a week after the first eye.

On the day of Cataract Surgery:

Please take all your usual medications and eat and drink as normal. You will be asked to arrive an hour before the surgery so eye drops can be used to dilate the pupil for the surgery. It is likely your surgery will be using anaesthetic eye drops only which allows for faster recovery, no need for a shield after and avoids the hazards of using sharp needles around the eye. On arrival you will be welcomed and taken up to the day case waiting area where you will be looked after by one of our specialist eye nurses who will start your dilating eye drops. Wearing you own clothes you will be walked through into the operating rooms where more drops will be put into your eye before being wheeled into the clean operating theatre. There are other assistants and nurses in the operating room and some music is played in the background.

Your eye is cleaned and then a sticky towel placed over the eye. There is plenty of space underneath and some fresh air is flowing as well. I will ask you to look at the light and talk to you throughout the procedure about what is going to happen to keep you comfortable. It is not painful but there are times when you feel a little pressure on the eye. The operation is often finished within 15 minutes and you are walked out of theatre back to the waiting room where you can have a drink and something to eat if you wish. The nurse will give you some eye drops to use four times a day and a contact number should you have any questions or concerns. If travelling by car it is essential you have someone to go home with as you will not be able to drive.

Following the Cataract Operation:

When the anaesthetic wears off (usually after about two hours) the eye may feel sore and gritty. It is helpful to rest the eye if possible. Vision will be blurred and the pupil will be large due to the dilating drops used for the operation. The eye should feel much more comfortable by the following morning. It is normal for the eye to be a little blurred still, especially for reading, and also gritty. This quickly settles over the first few days. Do use your drops regularly and if you forget to use them then put another one in. I will review you one or two week later and give you a letter to take to your optician for new glasses.

The main symptoms to look out for are increasing pain; worsening of vision (especially when things had seemed better immediately after the surgery); increasing discharge. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.

What to expect after Cataract Surgery:

If the back of your eye is healthy then you will notice a dramatic improvement in your vision both in clarity and the hue of colours. Previous patients have mentioned a terrific boost to their confidence as well as the joy of having their ’darkness’ removed.

Call me today

to arrange your consultation

0845 456 1729


Wonderful! I can now see things I have not seen for years. It has uplifted me in all ways!

Mrs Bush, Bradford. Cataract Surgery.

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