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A cataract is a clouding of the naturally clear lens located behind the pupil and iris. Often, patients will complain of blurred vision and if left untreated the crystalline lens will become cloudy and turn opaque. Mostly, both eyes will be affected by cataracts simultaneously, but rarely does the disease develop rapidly in one eye rather than the other.
Our summary of cataract statistics indicate that 95% of cataracts are age related and they tend to develop gradually over time. They can normally be cured with a short operation that removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial plastic lens. Unless this surgery is carried out the patient can go blind which, unfortunately, happens all too often in developing countries that don’t have the resources to carry out the number of operations necessary.
Cataract surgery is performed by an approved ophthalmologist on an outpatient basis, meaning you aren’t required to stay in hospital after the surgery. It’s a common surgery and is generally a safe procedure; if done correctly.
If you’re having problems seeing objects properly due to cataracts your doctor may recommend cataract surgery. Also, if a cataract is interfering with the treatment of another vision defect such as myopia or hyperopia, cataract surgery may be recommended before the underlying defect is corrected. For instance, cataracts make it impossible for doctors to examine the inner part of the eye for conditions such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, thus it becomes necessary to recommend cataract surgery.
Cataract Surgery Prices (correct as of July 2020)
|Clinic||Consultation||Cataract Monofocal Lens |
|Cataract Multifocal Lens |
|Optimax||Free||From £2,495||From £3,245|
|Center For Sight||£350||£3,150 – £3,995||£4,100 – £4,500|
|Clinic||Deposit||Interest Free |
|Longest Repayment |
|Optimax||£500||12 months*||36 months (£85.02 at 11.5% APR)|
|Ultralase||£500||12 months*||12 months (£166.25 at 0% APR)|
|Optical Express||£500||10 months||72 Months (£51.19 at 11.9%APR)|
|Center For Sight||Varies||24 Months||24 months|
After cataract surgery, the majority of people will need to wear glasses for short- or long-distance use, even if they didn’t rely on them prior to the operation. 70% of people need glasses when they are fitted with a multifocal lens and 95% with a monofocal lens. This is due to an artificial lens implant being unable to focus on various distances, unlike your natural lens. However, this natural ability is lost with age anyway so most cataract patients will need glasses to read prior to undergoing the procedure.
As they’re constructed from plastic or silicone, artificial lenses are designed to last a lifetime, so you shouldn’t require a repeat operation afterwards unless you suffer from PCO.
A very small number of people who undergo cataract surgery will develop PCO (detailed above), whereby a membrane grows over the lens capsule, clouding your vision. This is often described as a secondary cataract or ‘after-cataract’ and can arise a few months or even years after the initial procedure.
|Understanding Cataracts Publisher: Royal College of Ophthalmologists & Royal National Institute of Blind People|
|Understanding Cataracts: Specific Questions Relating to Cataracts Publisher: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the Royal National Institute of Blind People|
|Cataracts & Driving Publisher: UK Government|
|Treating cataracts by implanting multifocal lenses Publisher: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)|
|Alarm Over Reports of Growing Number of Patients Denied Cataract Surgery Publisher: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists & The Royal National Institute of Blind People|
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