A cataract is a common eye condition, in which the lens becomes progressively cloudy and is usually linked to aging. The cloudiness causes blurring of vision which slowly worsens over time. Surgery is the only proven treatment for cataracts; the procedure involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with a clear artificial lens. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the UK each year.
Cataract surgery is generally recommended when your cataract has progressed to the point that it is interfering with your daily activities and lifestyle. It is usually safe to delay surgery if you do not feel you have a problem with your vision, or don’t want to have an operation.
Modern cataract surgery is usually quick and can be performed using a local anaesthetic only. Most people are able to return to work the day after their operation. During surgery, your lens is usually replaced with a clear plastic lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL). For most patients, the new lens is chosen to aim for focused distant vision after the operation. Many people still require glasses for fine focusing in the distance and it is usual for you to need reading glasses after your operation.
You should see your GP or optician in the first instance. If they decide that your eye condition needs to be investigated by more specialist staff, they will arrange for you to have an outpatient appointment.