Christine Purslow PhD, BSc (Hons), MCOptom
Director of Optometry, SpaMedica
Cataracts are a common eye condition with readily available treatment. The only way to get rid of them, however, is through quick and painless cataract surgery.
Cataracts can significantly impact your daily life, but the good news is that effective treatment is readily available. As the condition is so common, it’s important to know what cataracts are, how they can affect your quality of life and the transformative benefits of cataract surgery.
How the eye changes with cataracts
The natural lens in your eye contains proteins that change as you age. The first sign of this is often that you need reading glasses because the lens becomes stiff and unable to focus as well as it used to. Eventually, these changes cause the lens to become cloudy and lose its transparency — this is a cataract. Cataracts typically develop gradually and get worse over time, as part of ageing, but can also be caused by factors like genetics, certain medications or previous eye injuries.
What are the symptoms of cataracts?
- Blurred or misty vision
- Difficulty driving at night
- Difficulty watching television and reading
- Finding yourself dazzled by sunlight and bright lights, such as car headlights
- Frequent changes to your glasses or contact lens prescription
How do cataracts affect everyday life?
The effects can be significant, with symptoms making activities like reading, driving, watching television and enjoying outdoor scenery a challenge. You can struggle to see detail, particularly when the contrast is poor or light levels are low. Cataracts can diminish your quality of life and limit your independence — but, fortunately, cataract surgery is widely available.
Cataract surgery can be a life-changing procedure, helping you to see the world in a whole new light.
The benefits of cataract surgery
Cataract surgery has a very high success rate and is the most common operation performed in the UK. During the surgery, your cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL), tailored to your vision needs. This procedure typically takes less than 20 minutes and is virtually painless.
Eye drops are used to numb your eye before the surgery, which is performed as a ‘day case’ — meaning you can go home on the same day. After surgery, you’ll be able to get back to doing the hobbies you love, enjoy television and reading and feel safer driving at night. You’re also less likely to experience trips and falls.
Recovery after cataract surgery
The recovery period following cataract surgery is relatively short. Most patients experience improved vision within a day or two, and any discomfort is typically mild and temporary. You’ll be able to resume most activities within a week. Some people find that they no longer need glasses for certain activities while others may still benefit from them for specific tasks.
Cataract surgery can be a life-changing procedure, helping you to see the world in a whole new light. If you suspect you have cataracts or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, book an appointment with your optometrist as soon as possible.
Choose the right hospital for cataract surgery
SpaMedica’s dedicated eye hospitals specialise in NHS cataract surgery. Our waiting times are just four to eight weeks — well below national averages. All of our hospitals inspected by the Care Quality Commission (the independent regulator of health and social care in England) have been graded as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding.’
We put patient care at the heart of everything we do, which is why we have received over 13,000 five-star patient reviews on the NHS website. We offer a free transport service for patients who don’t have anyone to drive them to and from their appointments — and with 50 hospitals across the country, you won’t have to travel far.