What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. It can cause a deterioration of your vision, glare, difficulty with night time driving and double vision.

What is the treatment for cataract?

Treatment for the cataract would be to remove the lens in your eye and replace it with a clear artificial lens. The surgery is done under a local anaesthetic whilst you are awake and normally takes about 20-25 minutes to perform. You will need to be able to lay flat and still on your back for this length of time. We will make you as comfortable as possible during the surgery. If you have difficulty lying flat please discuss this at your pre assessment appointment.

What happens on the day of surgery?

On the day of surgery you will be asked to arrive at the Yeatman Hospital in Sherborne for either a morning or an afternoon appointment, you will be there about 2 hours. Please eat and drink normally and take your regular medication as normal, bring with you any medication you may need to take during your visit.

You will wear your own clothes to theatre, wear something loose and comfortable.  Do not wear make-up, jewellery or nail varnish. If you wear hearing aids you will need to remove the aid from the side that you are having operated on. This can be done just prior to surgery.

When you arrive at the Yeatman a nurse will carry out some checks with you such as your visions and blood pressure and anything else you may require. After which the pupil of the eye that is to be operated on will be dilated with eye drops or a tiny pellet that sits under your bottom eyelid. Your surgeon will see you prior to your surgery.

Anaesthesia and surgery

When you go to theatre you will be asked to lie down on the theatre bed, we will make you as comfortable as possible.  The area around your eye is cleaned; your eye will be numbed either with eye drops or occasionally with an injection around the eye. A sterile drape is then placed over your head and fixed around your eye. You will be aware of a bright light above you and maybe some shadows but you will not see anything in detail.  You may feel a clamp on your eyelid as this is needed to keep your eye open. During the surgery you will have someone’s hand to hold, if you feel any discomfort for any reason squeeze their hand to inform the team that there is a problem, it is important  that you do not move.

The surgeon makes a small incision on the surface of the eye to insert a small probe that will use ultra sound (soundwaves) to soften your natural lens and then remove it. You may feel some fluid running down your face during the procedure; this is fluid that is used for the surgery.  When your lens has been removed the surgeon will then replace it with the artificial lens. The surgery is then finished, there is rarely a need for any stitches as the wound on the eye is very small and will heal on its own. You will not need a patch or eye shield unless the surgeon has used an injection to numb your eye.

You will then go to a recovery room before going home. We will give you any eye drops that you may need to go home with.

After care

Your eye may feel sore and gritty as the local anaesthetic wears off, DO NOT rub the eye. You can take over the counter pain killers if needed, do not exceed maximum dose stated on packaging. The gritty feeling may last a few weeks whilst the eye heals. You may buy some lubricating eye drops from a pharmacy if it is troublesome; follow the instructions as advised on packaging.

Your vision may be blurred for a few days after surgery whilst you become used to the new lens in your eye. Please take care when moving around your home or near steps/uneven ground.

It is important that you do not do any strenuous activities for up to 4 weeks after surgery; this involves exercise classes including Pilates or yoga, running, aerobics, swimming or any ball sports.  (Gentle walking is acceptable)

 No lifting of heavy items.

No gardening or DIY.

Keep your eye clean and dry; avoid running water (such as a shower) over the eye for the first two weeks. Take care when washing your hair please avoid it for at least a week. Do not splash water over your face for at least two weeks. Avoid dusty atmospheres or anywhere that tiny particles might irritate your eyes.

No eye make up for at least two weeks.

The artificial lens implanted will usually decrease your reliance on distance glasses; therefore if you put on your current distance glasses (or varifocals/bi-focals) it may blur your vision. You can have the lens in your current glasses removed if it causes too much of a disturbance in your vision. You will need reading glasses in order to read.

You will have a follow up appointment 4-6 weeks after surgery which might be with an optician directly. We now have links with some of the local opticians for this and our team will help arrange a post-operative check.  It can take up to six weeks for your eye to settle with the new lens after surgery.

We recommend that you wait for your follow up appointment before driving again.

In case of an emergency

Please call Yeovil Hospital eye emergency number on 07584 312399 if you have any of the following

  • Flashing lights when you move the eye.
  • A curtain or cobweb effect over your vision or sudden loss of vision.
  • A large shower of floaters in the eye all at once.
  • Severe pain uncontrolled by painkillers.
  • Nausea or vomiting with or without a headache.
  • Increasing redness, swelling or stickiness of the eye.
  • Any decrease in vision after you have had some improvement.

The eye clinic is open Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm, if you are experiencing  any of the above symptoms outside of these hours seek help by ringing the emergency department at Yeovil Hospital on 01935 384355.

Please write down any questions below that you have for your pre assessment visit.

Current Covid Guidelines

You will need to have a Covid swab taken 72 hours prior to your surgery. This is a drive through clinic at Yeovil hospital. The Covid team will arrange this with you.

You will need to isolate from the time of having the swab to the surgery, isolation applies to your whole household.

While you must adhere to current government guidance on face coverings, we recommend to avoid situations where you would need a mask and please ensure that the mask is new/freshly cleaned every time.

Ref: 08/21/01
Review: 03/23