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Cataract Journey

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At CHEC, your vision is our priority. We are here to support you or your loved one through the entire cataract treatment process. If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out. Clearer vision awaits, and we are dedicated to helping you achieve it.

operating theatre

At CHEC, we recognise the impact that cataracts can have on your vision. This page provides insights into age-related cataracts, shedding light on the causes and offering support for those navigating through changes in their vision.

Most cataracts are associated with the natural aging process. As individuals grow older, the proteins in the lens of their eyes may break down, leading to cloudiness. This gradual clouding results in the familiar symptoms of cataracts. While the exact cause of these changes is unknown, it is important to note that aging is a common factor. Approximately 30% of adults aged 65 and above will experience cataracts requiring treatment.

patient guided by nurse
patient with nurse

Cataracts can also be influenced by lifestyle and health choices. Factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, and the use of steroids or steroid-based medications can contribute to the development of cataracts. Additionally, if you have experienced an eye injury or undergone eye surgery in the past, your likelihood of developing cataracts may be increased.

If you find yourself on the path to cataract surgery, know that you’re not alone. Many individuals share similar experiences, and advancements in cataract surgery offer effective solutions to restore clarity to your vision.

Cataract Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a cataract?Chevron

    A cataract is when the natural lens within your eyes becomes cloudy and limits your vision. Often they are there and you may not know that they are present until your optician tells you.

  • Often this is due to aging and nothing more. However, other causes may include:

    • A family history of cataracts
    • Use of medications, such as steroids
    • Injuries to the eye
  • Yes, cataracts can run in families but unfortunately, there isn’t any treatment to prevent them from happening just yet, so we wait until they affect your sight and then remove them through an operation.

  • The only effective treatment for cataracts is an operation. The operation is generally undertaken under local anaesthetic so you are awake. However, the operation is generally quick and fairly straightforward, although complications can occur that impair your vision life-long.

  • Don’t worry, Community Eyecare is there to ensure we meet your expectations and answer any questions so you are at ease before the operation. At the preassessment, you will initially be greeted by our friendly reception staff. They will provide you with an information booklet which you can read whilst waiting for the nurse. Once the nurse calls you into their room, they will go through some medical history questions with you and measure your eyes for the lens we will use to replace your nature lens. Following dilating drops, a clinician will see you and assess your eyes again. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions at this stage before signing the consent form. Don’t worry, we are all here to help and signing a consent form does not mean you have to have the operation. It is just a record of the discussions you have had and confirmation of the eye that is having the operation.

  • Usually, a date for surgery is provided at the time of the preassessment and is usually within 10 days.

  • We pretty much always do one eye first. The eye chosen depends on the discussions with you and the preassessment clinician. Generally, it will be your worst seeing eye, but it also depends on other medical conditions that affect your eyes.

  • On the day of surgery expect a 2-3 visit, sometimes longer. You will again be greeted by our reassuring receptionists. An admission nurse will then go through your assessment again to ensure nothing has changed. Remember to take your normal tablets on the day and if you are on warfarin, bring your yellow book with you. The nurse will then put a small white tablet in your lower eyelid after confirming the eye you are having operated. They will place a wristband on your arm. The dilating tablet takes 30-45 minutes to work. Once you are ready, a nurse will take you into the anaesthetic room where they will check your details and then place some anaesthetic drops in the eye to numb the eye before the operation. When you are ready, you are taken into the operating room where everyone will introduce themselves. We will lay you flat (as much as possible) and then clean around the eye. Please do not wear any face or eye makeup on the day. You will then have a cover over you with oxygen below this. After looking at the bright light for 10-15 minutes the operation will be finished.

  • After the operation, a plastic shield covers the eye and stays in place for the first 24 hours and then at night for 2 weeks. The discharging nurse will give you a nice hot cup of tea and a biscuit while they talk you through the instructions after the operation. They will give you drops to take with appropriate instructions.

  • We usually say not to drive until you have passed the driving criteria according to the DVLA, generally, this is normally when you have seen your optician after 2-3 weeks. You can go on holiday after around 14 days. CHEC provides a free home-to-hospital transport service for patients in need who pass specific criteria – if you’re struggling to find transport either to the hospital or back home, please speak to a member of staff on our Referral Booking Management Team to see if you qualify for our home-to-hospital transport service on 0330 100 4730.

  • We recommend you avoid water in the eye for about 2 weeks. You can wash your face, but use a wet cloth and avoid the eye area. After 2 weeks, you will be back to normal with great vision.

  • Yes, these can be used as well as the new drops you are given. Please use a new bottle and wait for at least 24 hours.

  • Please contact your GP for a re-prescription of eye drops if you run out.

  • The blurriness of your vision usually subsides after a few days, so if your vision becomes worse quite suddenly please contact us immediately. Grittiness and light sensitivity are common and can last up to 6 months in some cases. It’s annoying but an innocent finding.

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