The day of surgery
Cataract surgery is the commonest operation carried out in the UK and is, for the most part, very straightforward. Whilst patients are understandably almost always anxious about the prospect of having an operation done on their eye, afterwards the vast majority of patients are amazed at how quick and how comfortable the whole procedure was.
About the operation - Cataract surgery at the Nuffield Hospital Shrewsbury
On the day of the cataract operation you will be asked to arrive about an hour before your operation is due to commence. You will be asked to wait in the waiting area, which is a comfortable lounge near to the operating theatre.
Before the operation, I will come and see you, to say hello, to check that you are happy to proceed and to answer any queries you may have. I will use a marker pen to make a mark on your forehead to indicate the eye the eye to be operated on and check the consent form you signed when I saw you in my outpatient clinic. One of our nurses will put drops into your eye to dilate your pupil making it easier for me to see to remove your cloudy lens. These drops take half an hour or so to begin to work. When your pupil is dilated and theatre is free you will be taken around the corner into the operating theatre (it’s not as scary as that sounds – an operating theatre is just a special clean room where we have all the equipment to do your operation for you).
When you get into theatre we will get you to lie down on a cushioned couch or trolley and make you comfortable, even if you are not comfortable lying flat I will still be able to position you comfortably. During the operation you will need to lie fairly still, but don’t be worried about this, everything possible will be done to make you comfortable and if you need to move because you are uncomfortable this will not cause a problem so long as you say so first.
In theatre, you will be given an anaesthetic. Surgery is almost always carried out under local anaesthesia. This can be either an injection behind the eye or eye drops put on the surface of the eye to numb it. The injection is slightly less comfortable whilst it is being given, but gives a wider area of numbness, including sometimes the skin around the eye. There are some situations where one technique will be more suitable than the other, but for most patients, the choice will be left up to them. A small number of patients, particularly those who are young and fit and are particularly anxious may benefit from having the operation under general anaesthesia.
You can discuss the options and decide which you would prefer with me when you see me in the outpatient clinic prior to surgery.