Cataract surgery

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What is a cataract?

A cataract is clouding or opacity of the lens inside the eye. It causes gradual blurring of vision and often glare. In a normal eye this lens is clear. It helps focus light rays onto the back of the eye (the retina), which sends messages to the brain allowing us to see. When a cataract develops, the lens becomes cloudy and prevents the light rays from passing onto the retina. The picture the retina receives becomes dull and fuzzy. A cataract usually forms slowly and most people experience a gradual blurring of vision.

Do I need to have a cataract operation?

Unfortunately, the cataract symptoms usually worsen over time and there are no medicines that are able to improve or slow down the effects of cataracts. If your cataract is mild, you can choose to avoid having cataract eye surgery and instead monitor it with regular check—ups. When the cataract progresses to the point that it is interfering with daily activities or lifestyle, even when using up-to-date glasses, then cataract surgery may be the next step. Modern surgery is highly successful for the majority of patients but, as with all surgery, there are cataract surgery risks which your consultant will discuss with you.

Why choose Moorfields Private?

Moorfields Private has a worldwide reputation for providing the highest quality treatment and care for patients seeking private cataract-surgery. All our surgeons hold accredited consultant positions at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, working at the very top of their profession. We pride ourselves on offering a service with complete continuity. At each visit, you will see the consultant surgeon of your choice who will supervise every aspect of our care from start to finish.

Before your cataract treatment

During your initial consultation, you will undergo eye tests and an optometrist will assess your eye prescription. A full medical history will also be taken to ensure you are suitable for treatment. Your consultant will discuss your lens preference with you, as well as informing you of any potential cataract surgery complications and agreeing on a personalised care plan. If you are happy to proceed, an appointment will then be booked for you, following a “cooling off’ period.

During eye cataract surgery

The most common cataracts treatment is a refractive lens exchange operation to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear artificial replacement. This treatment is quick, taking between 30-60 minutes, and can greatly improve vision. Anaesthetising eye drops combined with mild sedatives will be administered to make the procedure as painless as possible.

Laser cataract surgery

If you decide with your consultant surgeon to have laser cataract surgery (also know as femto-phako) your consultant will use femtosecond laser and ultrasound to soften the lens. This is then emulsified and the cataract removal is performed using fine instruments. A clear artificial lens (intraocular lens implant or IOL), made of a plastic-like material, is placed inside the eye. This implantable contact lens is soft, flexible and is implanted between the natural lens and the iris. The back membrane of the lens (capsule) is left behind and this holds the artificial lens in place. At Moorfields Private, we use Visian Implantable Collamer lenses (ICL) and Artisan Intraocular lenses (IOL). Your consultant will be able to advise you on the mot suitable option for you, but all ICLs offer the benefit of treatment for a wide range of eye prescriptions, UV protection and comfort, as you will not be able to see or feel the lens after implantation. The wound from the procedure is very small and most patients do not require stitches, although rarely very fine stitches are sometimes needed to close the wound safely.

For further information about our laser cataract consultant surgeons

After cataract surgery

You will be given instructions for your cataract surgery aftercare following your operation, including information regarding follow-up appointments. Cataract surgery recovery times are different for every person. Usually, there is a fairly quick recovery time for cataract surgery, approximately 3-4 days. During your cataract surgery recovery, it is normal for your vision to take a few days to improve. Your eyes may additionally be sore, scratchy and light sensitive during this period. You will have both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops to help with your cataract operation recovery, typically starting the day after surgery. Cataract surgery is performed on a day-care basis. This means you are admitted to hospital, have your operation and are discharged home all in the same day. Therefore, you should be able to return to work a few days after your operation, depending on your occupation. If you perform a job that is physically demanding, you may require a longer period of recovery. Your consultant will advise you appropriately. When it comes to cataracts and driving, you can drive after your operation once you vision meets the DVLA requirements. This normally takes 3-4 days. The DVLA standard is reading a number plate with both eyes open at 20.5 meters (approximately 25 strides). Your consultant can advise you at your follow-up appointment if your vision meets this standard.

The benefits of cataract surgery

Following surgery, you should be able to: - See things in focus -Look at lights without experiencing glare -Tell the difference between colours more easily If you need glasses after cataract surgery, your consultant will advise you to wait a few weeks after the operation before seeing your local optician to ensure the prescription has stabilized. Temporary off-the-shelf reading glasses generally work very well after cataract surgery.

How much does cataract surgery cost?

Fees for your initial consultation are charged at £220. Call us today and we can arrange an appointment with an appropriate consultant.

Once you have agreed a personalised plan with your consultant, the full costs of onward treatment per eye will be £3040, which includes a standard lens and one post-operative appointment. To find out more, please visit our dedicated cataract surgery cost page.

What causes cataracts?

Most forms of cataract develop in adult life. The normal process of ageing causes the lens to harden and become cloudy. This is called an age-related cataract and it is the most common type. It can occur at any time after the age of 40. Although most cataracts are age-related, there are other types, including congenital (present at birth), drug induced (steroids), and traumatic (injury to the eye). Cataracts are also more common in people who have certain diseases such as diabetes.

Can cataracts come back?

Once the cloudy (cataractous) lens has been removed as part of cataract surgery, it doesn’t come back. However, the thin membrane behind the new lens implant (posterior capsule) may become opaque during the first few months of years after cataract surgery. This creates a filter-effect and can cause your vision to deteriorate. A simple laser treatment (YAG laser capsulotomy) can be performed in the out-patient clinic to clear this membrane and restore clear vision. Approximately 1 in 5 (20%) patients may benefit from YAG laser capsulotomy after cataract surgery. Your consultant will discuss whether this treatment is suitable for you.

More information

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Cataract surgery consultants

A picture of Professor Ananth Viswanathan

Professor Ananth Viswanathan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Mark Westcott


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Frank Larkin


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Saab Bhermi

Mr Saab Bhermi


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Sajjad Ahmad

Mr Sajjad Ahmad


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Romil Patel

Mr Romil Patel


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Jaheed Khan

Mr Jaheed Khan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Poornima Rai

Miss Poornima Rai


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Professor Paul Foster

Professor Paul Foster


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Gillian Adams

Miss Gillian Adams


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Robert Henderson

Mr Robert Henderson


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Professor David Gartry

Professor David Gartry


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Dawn Sim


Associate Professor

A picture of Mr George Voyatzis

Mr George Voyatzis


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Patrick Yu Wai Man

Mr Patrick Yu Wai Man


Consultant Ophthalmologist

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Miss Dhanes Thomas


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Gus Gazzard


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Miriam Minihan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Keith Barton


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Mandeep Sagoo


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Professor Lyndon Da Cruz

Professor Lyndon Da Cruz


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

No image of consultant provided

Mr David Bessant


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor David Garway-Heath


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Aires Lobo


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr John Brookes


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Rajesh Deshmukh


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Louisa Wickham


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Alexander Ionides


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Mark Wilkins


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Harry Petrushkin


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Narciss Okhravi


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Niaz Islam

Mr Niaz Islam


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Chien Wong


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Ms Laura de Benito-Llopis


Consultant Ophthalmologist

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Miss Sharmina Khan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Ms Alessandra Martins


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor James Bainbridge


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Eric Ezra


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Carlos Pavesio


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Vincenzo Maurino


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Hari Jayaram


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Kuang Hu


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Ian Murdoch


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Winifred Nolan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Nicholas Strouthidis


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr George Saleh


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Badrul Hussain


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Parham Azarbod


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Daniel Gore


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Mahi Muqit


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Professor Adnan Tufail


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Martin Watson


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Romesh Angunawela


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Anant Sharma


Consultant ophthalmic surgeon (private practice in Bedford only)

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Mr Julian Stevens


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Andrew Scott  


Consultant Ophthalmologist

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Mr Amanjeet Sandhu


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Bruce Allan


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Ranjan Rajendram


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Kamran Saha


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Miss Linda Ficker


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Alex Day


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

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Mr Michael Miller


Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

14.08.2020

What to expect when you have treatment for cataracts –  Your questions answered
Written in association with Vincenzo Maurino, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
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10.08.2020

When should I have cataract surgery?
Written in association with Mr Badrul Hussain, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
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20.07.2020

Reasons for choosing Moorfields Private
Written in association with Miss Linda Ficker, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
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Paying for treatment

Private Medical Insurance

If you are covered by private medical insurance, please verify the details with your insurer prior to arrival and if possible, obtain a pre-authorisation number.

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Self pay

You don’t have to be insured to come to Moorfields Private. Many of our patients pay for their own treatment.

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Third party sponsorship

​If a company, employer or other third party agrees to settle your account, they will be required to provide a letter of guarantee along with a deposit.

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