What is the procedure and recovery time for cataract surgery?

Written by: Mr Brian Little
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Cataracts are a very common condition of the eye and consist of some clouding of your own natural lens. They’re mostly age-related and come on very gradually. The nice thing about them is that as a cause of poor vision, they are the most treatable and the most satisfactory to treat.

Who is likely to develop cataracts?

The vast majority of cataracts are really age-related but they can be present from the age of 50 upwards. Very occasionally, they happen in younger people for other reasons but that’s very rare indeed. It’s mostly an age-related condition and tends to get worse as we get older.


What are the symptoms of cataracts?

The symptoms of cataracts are quite non-specific in ways. They just normally consist of some blurring and haziness of the vision and particularly glare in bright lights and bright sun lights. Among the first things that people notice with cataracts is that they find difficulty driving at night because of the glare from oncoming headlights. They find that quite disturbing. There are some other symptoms of near vision tasks and particularly reading can become difficult even in bright light.

The decision as to when to have surgery is really entirely subjective and by that, I mean that it depends very much upon the age and lifestyle demands of every patient because the visual requirements differ according to whether you’re of working age and require very good detail vision for computer screen or whether you’re retired and just read headlines and maybe occasionally play golf and your visual requirements would be very different.


What happens during cataract surgery?

The procedure that’s involved is the same for everybody, which is basically using ultrasound energy to dissolve the cataracts and then to suck it out of the eye through a very small incision and to replace it with a folding lens implant that’s injected into the eye and expands to its normal shape once it’s inside the eye.

Nowadays, laser is available also for treating cataracts but that only does part of the operation and the evidence to date is that it doesn't significantly improve the outcomes of our already established treatment methods.


What is the recovery time following cataract surgery?

The nice thing about cataract surgery is that the recovery is generally very quick. In a matter of days, you will have reasonable vision after the surgery. The first couple of days can be a little bit disappointing if you’re expecting miracles because the vision is often bright and blurred because the pupil is still dilated and the eyes slightly inflamed. That generally settles down very rapidly and you’ll be on drops for about a month after surgery with the vision improving significantly over the first few days. 

If you need cataract surgery then book an appointment with our specialist Mr Little

Mr Brian Little

By Mr Brian Little

Mr Brian Little is an exclusive top London ophthalmologist, specialising in cataracts and intraocular lens surgery, who has helped thousands to restore their eyesight.

Prominent in his field, Mr Little holds over 25 years of experience and was listed by the Times as one of the top 10 UK ophthalmologists in 2010.

He serves on innumerable boards and is a fellow of many distinguished organisations. Mr Little also gives his time and expertise to ORBIS, the international eye charity.

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