What will happen during surgery?

The only way to treat a cataract is to replace your clouded lens with a new, artificial one called an intraocular lens, or IOL. Together with your surgeon, you may be able to choose an IOL that corrects other vision problems too – such as astigmatism (a common form of distorted vision caused by an imperfection in the curvature of the cornea or lens of the eye) or presbyopia (long-sightedness associated with ageing) – even if you have had them for a long time.

Talk to your eye care professional about your IOL options.

For most people cataract surgery is a painless procedure that lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. Only one eye is operated on at a time.

In most cases, this outpatient procedure is as follows:

  • A local anaesthetic is applied to your eye
  • A drape is placed around your face so that only the eye that is being operated on is visible
  • The surgeon removes the cataract through a very small incision (surgical cut) and the new lens is inserted through the same incision
  • Once the cataract surgery is complete, your eye may be left uncovered, or it may be covered with a bandage or shield
  • In many cases, the bandage will be removed within a few hours
  • In non-complicated cases, after 24 hours, patients can do most daily activities, with vision improving over time