I'm due to have a cataract operation, what can I expect to happen?

Usually cataract operations are very straight forward and successful.

Most cataract surgery is performed as a 'day case', so you will not need to stay in hospital overnight, the hospital will explain how the surgery is organised from your arrival up to when you can expect to leave.The operation is performed using local anaesthetic (eye drops, an injection or combination of both), you will be awake but unable to feel any pain.

While in the surgery you may be able to see movement and a change in lights or shadows, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to see any detail of what’s happening. The operation usually lasts between 20 and 45 minutes, although this can vary. Your ophthalmologist will be able to let you know how long they expect your operation to take.

After the surgery you will probably have to use eye drops for a number of weeks. Your eye may take about a week to heal, but many people see an improvement in their vision quite quickly. Generally speaking, you have a 97 per cent chance of your cataract operation being successful, meaning you’ll have a good level of clear vision following the operation.

If you have another eye condition as well as a cataract, then there may be other considerations which you and your doctors will need to think about.

Further information including activities you should avoid after the operation and how the cataract is removed can be found on RNIB's Cataracts webpage.

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