Information on Cataract surgery


What is a cataract?

A cataract is an ageing change in the lens of the eye.  Developing cataracts is an inevitable part of getting older, much like grey hair and wrinkles.  Almost everybody over the age of 60 has some early cataract but, the good news is that, not everybody needs to have cataract surgery.  If you have no visual symptoms and are safe to drive, then you don't need surgery.  If, however, you have visual symptoms due to cataract, then there is a very good procedure to treat this.

Moorfields Eye Hospital has developed a comprehensive patient information leaflet which outlines all of the important risks and benefits of modern cataract surgery. You can download this by clicking on the image of the leaflet or by clicking here.


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Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?

In the past, the aim of cataract surgery was to improve spectacle-corrected vision - patients expected to wear glasses for distance and near vision after the procedure.  Nowadays with modern lens calculation formulae and measurement technology most patients do not need glasses for distance vision after cataract surgery and, depending on what type of lens implant is used during the surgery, some patients do not need glasses for close work either.  

Even the most modern technology and formulae cannot, however, guarantee spectacle-independence and 10-20% of patients will require glasses for distance vision tasks (such as driving) after cataract surgery.  Such patients may benefit from enhancement laser refactive surgery to achieve spectacle-independence for distance vision.  Combining cataract surgery with laser refactive surgery to achieve the desired refractive outcome is known as bioptics.  This is particularly relevant to multifocal lens implants (see below) which need optimum distance focus to function properly.

Mr Flynn is one of a relatively small group of eye surgeons who perform both cataract surgery and laser eye surgery.  



Why are there different types of lens implant?

During surgery, after the cataract has been removed, Mr Flynn will implant a permanent artificial lens in your eye.  The power of the lens is chosen before surgery for each patient individually based on the measurements of their eye.  The type of lens must also be chosen and Mr Flynn will discuss these options with you in detail at your consultation. Mr Flynn uses three types of lens implant.

Aspheric single focus lens:  Ideal for patients with no astigmatism who want good distance focus and are happy to wear reading glasses

Toric single focus lens: Ideal for patients with astigmatism who want good distance focus and are happy to wear reading glasses

Multifocal lens: Ideal for patients who want to be free of glasses for distance and near vision.  Although the upsides to multifocal lenses are considerable, there are some caveats to choosing them. 

  • For multifocal lenses to work successfully the eye must be otherwise entirely normal. 
  • The distance focus must be close to perfect. Laser eye surgery after cataract surgery may be required to achieve this
  • Patients can experience unwanted optical side effects such as halos and glare.

Mr Flynn will assess you and discuss your suitability for each type of lens and help to make the right decision for you and your lifestyle.  


How much does private cataract surgery cost?

For information on the cost of cataract surgery with Mr Flynn click here.