What is a Cataract?
A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside your eye. Like looking through a dirty camera lens. Cataracts interfere with the passage of light and result in blurred vision which cannot be corrected with glasses. Everyday activities become harder and colours are dimmed.
Cataracts get worse with time and usually affects people in their 70’s but they can occur at any age.
If you need to wear glasses a new lens with the correct focussing power is implanted so that glasses are no longer required. This includes improvement in both reading and distance vision when a multifocal lens is used.
Cataract surgery is now the most commonly performed operation in the world and is considered by the World Health Organisation as one of the safest surgeries available.
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Cataract surgery is performed over 18 million times worldwide every year*
- The cataract is removed through a process called phacoemulsification or "phaco" in which the cataractous lens is broken up using ultrasonic waves.
- An Intraocular Lens Implant is then placed in your eye.
- This procedure takes only about 15 to 30 minutes.
- You may be eligible for different types of Intraocular Lens Implants. The following simulated images are designed to educate you on your implant options.
*Market Scope.The 2011 Comprehensive Report on the Global Presbyopia Correcting Surgery Market St. Louis MO: Market Scope LLC.
Cataract Surgery Explained
Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a custom made lens. It is performed under local anaesthetic and is pain free. Under local anaesthetic a small incision is made in the side of the eye, under 2.8 mm in length. This incision is so small it does not need stitches and heals naturally.
Ultrasound vibration is used to liquify the cloudy contents of the lens and a suction tube then removes it. The new lens is then inserted in the place of the old lens. For safety, each eye is treated separately with a week's interval before treatment to the second eye. Surgery time is approximately 20 minutes for each eye. Your stay at clinic should last two hours, and after a final check up you are free to go home.
Types of lenses
There are many types of lenses which suit different people depending on your lifestyle and prescription. During your consultation the best lenses and your options are explained. Some complex lenses are made especially for you at an additional cost.
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NHS and Cataracts
The NHS does not allow “top up” fees and this means that the best lenses are not necessarily available to you. The opportunity to be free of glasses could be lost for ever.
Cataract Surgery is often used before a cataract is formed for the purposes of eliminating the need to wear glasses. In this case it is called Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) or Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and is exactly the same procedure.