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Cataract surgery

Tired of relying on your glasses or contact lenses for clearer vision? Cataract removal surgery can reverse blurred vision and eliminate your need for glasses. Find out more about private cataract surgery, including the average cost of surgery, key benefits and your expected recovery timeline.

A cataract is when the lens of your eye, which is normally clear, becomes cloudy. If you have cataracts, you will probably have cloudy vision, and perhaps things will look blurry and less colourful.

Private cataract surgery falls under the medical specialism of ophthalmology. Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine and surgery that deals with the treatment of disorders of your eye. Ophthalmologists are medically trained doctors who help treat people with short-term and long-term eye conditions.

We have a large network of specialist Ophthalmologist Consultants who can help you manage and treat your vision problems.

You don’t have to rely on your glasses or contact lenses for clearer vision.

Booking your first consultation to discuss cataract surgery with us is a fast and simple process.

With affordable pricing packages and easy payment options, we are here to make your treatment journey fast, accessible and high-quality.

Why might you need cataract removal surgery?

A cataract operation help remove cataracts, which occurs when the lens inside your eye develops cloudy patches, causing blurred vision. The lens on the inside of your eye is a small transparent disc behind your iris. It helps you focus light, or an image, onto your retina.

Many people ask: "what is the first sign of cataracts?" At first, you may not notice that you have cataracts. The change in your eyes can happen slowly. However, as time goes on, you might notice that your vision becomes less clear, or less colourful. You might also develop an increased sensitivity to light.

Living with blurred vision can be understandably frustrating. It can interfere with simple things, like reading or exercising. Everyday activities like driving can become a source of anxiety and induce feelings of inadequacy. A study published by the National Library of Medicine found that blurred vision has a: “a detectable and significant impact on functional status and well-being".

Cataracts and driving

Blurred vision caused by cataracts can make it unsafe for you to drive, an activity that many people require to travel to work and fulfil everyday activities.

This is one of the reasons why it is important to have an eye exam with your Ophthalmologist, if you suspect you are suffering from cataracts.

If you are battling the effects of cataracts and don’t fully understand why yet, you’re not alone.

According to The National Eye Institute, most cataracts are age-related. By age 80, most people in the UK either have cataracts or have had cataract removal surgery. They occur because of the normal changes that happen to your eyes as you get older. You can get cataracts in one or both eyes, but cataracts cannot spread from one eye to the next.

Cataract symptoms

You might need cataract removal surgery if you’re struggling with the following key signs of cataracts:

  • Increased sensitivity to light or glare
  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Colours may look faded
  • Double vision
  • You might see circles of light around bright lights

In the initial stages of experiencing cataracts, you may have to change your glasses prescription regularly as the eye becomes progressively more short sighted as the lens changes shape with the onset of cataract.

What are the three types of cataracts?

There are several types of cataracts, which differ depending on where they form in the lens of your eye. The three main types of cataracts are:

Nuclear sclerotic cataract: This is the most common type of cataract. It develops in the middle of your lens (the nucleus) and spreads to the outer layers of your eyes. It can cause double vision and deteriorated sight, making everyday activities like reading difficult.

Cortical cataract: This type of cataract develops on the outer layer of your lens. This may cause sensitivity to light and blurred vision.

Posterior subcapsular cataract: This type of cataract develops near the back of your lens. Although this type of cataract can be small, symptoms can be significant. This may also cause increased sensitivity to light and blurred vision.

All three forms of cataracts cause progressive vision loss, meaning you might not know you have cataracts when they first develop, but symptoms become more significant as time passes.

Fortunately, cataracts are not painful, no matter which type of cataracts you have. Neither do they make your eyes red, itchy or irritated. However, as mentioned previously, living with blurred vision can be debilitating and prevent you from doing the things you love.

In addition to this, relying on wearing glasses or contact lenses for clear vision can be inconvenient.

In most people, cataracts are a natural symptom of ageing. In fact, ageing is the most common cause of cataracts. However, the condition can be caused by other factors, such as: 

According to the National Eye Institute, your risk of developing cataracts increases as you age, but can also increase if: 

  • You have spent a lot of time in the sun
  • You have had an eye injury, surgery or radiation treatment on your upper body
  • You have existing health problems, including diabetes or arthritis

Although cataracts can be a debilitating condition to live with, there are treatment options available to help improve your symptoms. These are: 

Eye glasses or contact lenses: This treatment option is particularly effective if your cataract is in its initial stages of development. Eye glasses or contact lenses can help treat cataracts in the short-term, helping improve your vision using glasses or contact lenses. Your Ophthalmologist will help determine the best prescription for your visual needs. This might change regularly with cataracts, which can become challenging to manage. 

Cataract eye surgery: You cannot reverse cataracts without having cataract removal surgery, which is usually used as a form of treatment when your cataracts has developed into a more long-term problem, causing severely blurred vision and reduced quality of life. According to the NHS, there are no medicine or eye drops that have been proven to improve cataracts or prevent them from progressing. This is why cataract removal surgery is often a desired treatment option, often helping eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses entirely. 

Many people find relying on glasses or contact lenses for clear vision an inconvenience. This is especially so when your vision is significantly impaired, making finding your glasses or inserting contact lenses even more challenging.  

Cataract removal surgery is a commonly performed surgery with high success rates. Harvard Health states: “the success rate of cataract removal surgery is high, and the rate of vision-threatening complications is relatively low.” 

You might be wondering what the process of cataract removal surgery involves.  

Most cataract surgeries are performed under local anaesthetic, which means that you’ll be awake during the operation, but you won’t feel any pain or see any instruments moving towards your eye. 

Most people will need to wear glasses for some small, everyday tasks after surgery (like reading), but this mostly depends on the type of lens fitted, as some lenses can correct vision symptoms, removing the need to wear glasses entirely. 

There are different types of cataract removal surgery available. 

Most cataract surgery in the UK is performed by phacoemulsification. This is a form of cataract removal surgery involving the use of a specialist instrument that uses ultrasound to break up the lens in your eye. 
Our network of specialist Ophthalmologists performs cataract removal surgery by phacoemulsification. During this process, your Ophthalmologist will make a small incision on the side of your cornea. They will then insert a small probe into your eye. This will emit ultrasound that break up the lens of your eye, so that it can be removed using a suction technique.  

After your lens has been removed, your Ophthalmologist will usually replace it with an artificial lens. You will know which type of lens you will have fitted before your surgery. The type of lens you have fitted will depend on your individual visual needs. For example, whether you are long-sighted or short-sighted.  

We offer a range of different lens options, including: 

Monofocal: A monofocal intraocular lens aims to reduce the need to wear glasses for distance vision.  
Multifocal lens: A multifocal intraocular lens aims to reduce the dependence on wearing glasses for a wider range of activities, including intermediate and near vision.  
Toric lens: A toric intraocular lens aims to correct astigmatism, as well as near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Astigmatism happens when your eye has a slightly curved, meaning light is focused at more than one place in your eye. It can cause blurred vision and sensitivity to light. 

Our Ophthalmologist will ensure you have the right lens fitted for your visual needs. Before your surgery, you will have an assessment with your Ophthalmologist to discuss the following: 

  • Your lens preference depending on your visual needs
  • Your expected recovery timeline
  • The benefits of having surgery, and 
  • Whether you will need glasses following surgery

This assessment is there to ensure you feel safe and informed throughout each step of your healthcare journey. 

How long does the procedure take?

Cataract removal surgery typically is a straightforward procedure that typically takes 15 to 30 minutes in total. If you require cataract removal surgery in both eyes, your Consultant will typically wait for one to three weeks before performing cataract removal surgery on your second eye. 

The incision made on your eye during surgery will heal on its own without stitches. A protective shield will usually be placed over your eye after surgery to accelerate your healing journey.  

Remember, your healthcare team are here to answer any questions you have throughout each stage of your healthcare journey. They will be able to keep you consistently informed of your procedure and how it is performed. 

You should be able to return home the same day as your cataract surgery. You should also be able to eat and drink soon after surgery. Your Consultant will provide you with a pad or a plastic eye shield to wear over your eye when you leave the hospital. Prior to surgery, remember to:

Arrange travel: You will not be able to drive yourself home from hospital, so you will need to arrange a friend or family member to collect you before your surgery.

Eliminate tripping hazards at home: It may take a few days after surgery for your vision to return fully. To prevent any accidents at home, eliminate tripping hazards such as loose tiling or general mess before your surgery.

As previously stated, the incision made on your eye during the procedure will heal without stitches, so there is no need to follow any stops to heal stitching. You can usually remove your eye pad or plastic shield the day after surgery. Ask your Consultant about this and any other cataract surgery aftercare questions you have.

You might experience some of the following side effects while recovering at home:

  • Watering
  • Blurred vision
  • Grittiness
  • Double vision
  •  A red or bloodshot eye.

If you experience any of these symptoms when recovering at home, please do not worry. These are normal and should improve within a few days.

Please do avoid rubbing your eyes after surgery. This is to prevent infection and help your eye heal.

If your eye is painful or there are any concerns after surgery, you should contact your Consultant and you will either be given his contact details or will be able to contact him through the hospital switchboard. Remember, your healthcare team are there to support you after surgery, as well. They will be available to contact with any queries or medical support, if needed. If you have an infection, they will be able to provide you with the right treatment, so that you can continue your recovery journey at home.

Your long-term recovery

Within six weeks, you should be fully recovered from cataract removal surgery and have clear sight, again.

Complications can occur during any surgery. However, it is uncommon to have serious complications after cataract surgery. The vast majority of patients have a marked improvement in their vision and quality of life.

Any surgery may carry risk and the standard figures quoted in most units is that there is a risk of worse vision in 1% and loss of vision in around 0.1% of patients. Depending on the pre-existing health of the eye, the exact figures may be more or less. Your surgeon will discuss these risks prior to surgery and you will be provided with written information about all of these.

There are many benefits of cataract surgery, including:

  • Consultant-led care;
  • Quick access to treatment;
  • Personalised treatment packages;
  • High quality treatment delivered with our network of hospitals;
  • Option to have a premium lens to reduce reliance on glasses to correct vision, and
  • Flexible payment options available.

To find out more about private cataract surgery, you can book a first consultation with one of our Consultants who will provide you with more detailed information.

Cataract removal surgery starts from £2,119 for one eye*

The final cost will depend on various factors, including the type of cataract surgery you need.

Our cataract surgery package prices include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. Our costs include all surgery fees and aftercare appointments with our Consultant Ophthalmologists and Optometrists.

However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant’s outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

We provide fixed term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 12 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 9.9% APR.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. More details on our flexible payment options can be found here.

If you would like to learn more, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

Specialists offering Cataract surgery

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Mr Hiten Sheth

Consultant Ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon

BSc (Hons), MBBS, FRCOphth

The Chiltern Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Markus Groppe

Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon

State Exam Med, PhD, FEBO, FRCOphth

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Mandeep Singh Bindra

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MBBS (Hons), FRCOphth, FRCS (Ed)

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Kuan Sim

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MB BCh, BSc (Hon), FRCS Ed (Ophth)

Bishops Wood Hospital 3 more The Chiltern Hospital Hendon Hospital The Shelburne Hospital

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Mr Mike Adams

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth PGDipCRS

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

Miss Asifa Shaikh

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon


The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

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