Cataracts

A cataract is an eye condition that makes it difficult to see. Vision will become blurry as the cataract develops, until the whole of the lens is cloudy.

What is a cataract?

If you have a cataract, the lens is cloudy. This happens gradually over a long period of time. Your vision will become blurry as the cataract develops, until the whole of the lens is cloudy. Your sight will slowly get worse, becoming blurry or misty, making it difficult to see clearly.

Cataracts can happen at any age but usually develop as you get older. Cataracts can also develop due to diabetes, use of steroid medication, trauma or for genetic reasons.

If a cataract prevents you from reading or driving, or doing your normal day-to-day activities, it is advisable to have surgery so that you can get back to living the life you want to lead.

After surgery, the cataract will be gone and you should be able to see much more clearly. Your eyesight won’t be perfect if you have other eye problems, but you should be able to return to routine activities of daily life and the things you enjoy.

What happens during cataract surgery?

  • When it’s time to go to the operating theatre, our ward staff will escort you
  • Once there, our theatre staff will take you to the anaesthetic room
  • They are very reassuring - they will understand how you feel and will try to help you in every way possible
  • You will be given eye drops before the operation. These are prescribed by the consultant and are needed to prepare your eye
  • Cataract surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic
  • Your surgeon will make a tiny incision (cut) in your cornea (the outer layer of your eye)
  • Using a tiny probe that emits ultrasound waves, the surgeon will break up the cataract and remove the pieces from your eye. (This is called phacoemulsification) 
  • A new lens implant will be inserted replacing the cataract.