Cataract surgery in Exeter
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If you are suffering from clouded vision, you may have a cataract which can worsen with age if left untreated. At Nuffield Health Exeter Hospital, our leading ophthalmologists specialise in cataract surgery and provide rapid access to treatment.
Why have cataract surgery at Nuffield Health Exeter Hospital?
At Nuffield Health Exeter Hospital we take your eyesight and quality of life very seriously. All of our experienced ophthalmologists specialise in cataract surgery and have built an exceptional reputation across Devon for successfully improving their patients vision.
Our hospital is situated close to Exeter's city centre, so we are easily accessible by a range of public transport links. We also offer an abundance of free parking for both patients and visitors if you are travelling by car.
Please note that cataract surgery is usually performed as a day case procedure, meaning you will not be required to stay overnight in hospital. Even as a day case patient, you will get the opportunity to make the most out of our first-class patient facilities, which include your very own private en-suite bedroom to relax in before and after surgery.
How to book a consultation at Nuffield Health Exeter Hospital
If you are interested in cataract surgery and want to discuss the treatment options available to you, we recommend that you book an initial consultation with one of our Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeons in Exeter.
You can now book online by selecting a consultant, time and date at the top of the page or you can give our dedicated enquiry team a call on 01392 249343.
Please be aware that you will receive eye drops during the consultation to help diagnose the severity of the cataract. We recommend that you arrange transport to and from the hospital, as we strongly advise against driving after receiving the eyedrops.
What are cataracts?
- If you have a cataract, the lens becomes cloudy
- This happens gradually over a period of time
- Your vision will become blurry as the cataract develops, until the whole of the lens is cloudy
- Cataracts can happen at any age, but usually develop as you get older
- Cataracts can also develop due to diabetes, use of steroid medication, trauma or for genetic reasons
- If a cataract prevents you from reading or driving, day-to-day chores, we would recommend you have surgery
- After surgery, the cataract will be gone and your vision vastly improved
- Your eyesight won’t be perfect if you have other eye problems, but you should be able to return to normal activities.
Before your cataract surgery
- Before you come into our Exeter Hospital, you will be asked questions about your health
- Further ‘pre-assessment’ questions may be asked over the phone, or you might be asked to come into the hospital for some simple tests, such as a blood test or a test on the heart called an ECG (Electrocardiogram)
- Please let us know if you are taking any medication
- Be sure to bring your medication with you on the day of your operation in their original containers
- If you do take prescribed medicine on a regular basis, we will give you specific advice about continuing your medication and what to do on the morning of surgery
- If you are a diabetic you’ll be given instructions about your medication on the day of surgery and told when to stop eating and drinking
- It is important you tell us if you are taking any type of blood thinning medication (anticoagulant)
- Medication of this kind can make your blood clot more slowly. We need to ensure your blood is clotting normally before we operate.
What happens during cataract surgery?
- When it’s time to go to the operating theatre, our ward staff will escort/reassure you
- Once there, our theatre staff will take you to the anaesthetic room
- You will be given eye drops before your operation
- These are prescribed by the consultant and are needed to prepare your eye for surgery
- Cataract surgery is normally performed under a local anaesthetic
- Your eye surgeon will make a tiny incision in your cornea
- Using a tiny probe that emits ultrasound waves, your surgeon will break up the cataract and remove the pieces from your eye
- A new lens implant will be inserted in place of the cataract.
After your surgery
- Once your operation is over, you’ll be taken to our recovery room
- You will have a protective pad and a plastic shield covering your eye
- The local anaesthetic does cause numbness, but normal sensation will return within a few hours
- Your eye may feel little bit uncomfortable but regular pain relief is usually enough to treat this discomfort
- After the operation, you will be given more eye drops to help reduce inflammation and an antibiotic to help stop any infection
- Try not to touch or disturb your dressings as this can cause infection
- If you notice discharge or suffer any pain, don’t hesitate to speak to one of the nurses
- After you’ve recovered from the anaesthetic you can be discharged.
Going home after cataract surgery at Exeter Hospital
- Remember to arrange for someone to drive you home from hospital
- You may find wearing sunglasses comfortable at first, as your eyes may be sensitive to sunlight
- You may need help at home for the first 24 hours
- Avoid bending over as this may cause pressure on your eye
- Your eye may be red and bright lights could be uncomfortable
- Your eyesight should improve within a few days, although complete healing may take several months
- You can shower or bath and wash your hair after 48 hours, but be careful not to get soap and water in your eye
- It is important that you don’t rub your eye
- To prevent yourself doing this in your sleep, you will need to use the plastic shield taped over your eye at night for one to two weeks
- Keep the plastic shield clean by washing it with soap and water
- If you go outside, protect your eye with glasses to avoid anything such as dust or grit blowing into it
- If you find that your eyes become sticky, you can gently wipe the eyelids with cotton wool dampened in cool water that has been boiled
- It’s usual to return to see your consultant as an outpatient after your operation
- You will be given details about any appointments before you leave us.
You will be prescribed eye drops to use when you get home. These will have been tested to make sure they are free from germs. To keep them in good condition, please make sure you:
- Keep the bottle tightly closed when not using the drops
- Keep the drops in the refrigerator if you are told to
- Do not put the dropper down on any surface
- Do not let the nozzle of the dropper touch your eye or fingers
- Never lend your eye drops to anyone else
- Dispose of your eye drops after four weeks. (When you open the drops, write the date on the bottle, so you know when to throw them away)
- When you get home, you should rest for the first two or three days, but it is important to keep mobile.
Using your eye drops
- Before using your eye drops, wash your hands thoroughly
- Tilt your head backwards and look up; pull down the lower eyelid until there is a small pocket
- Squeeze the dropper bottle and allow one drop to enter the pocket between the lower lid and the eye
- Don't let the dropper touch your eye or eyelid
- Close your eye and blink several times, but do not rub.
Getting back to normal after cataract surgery
- If you work, your ophthalmology consultant will tell you when you are able to go back to work
- This will likely depend on the type of job you do
- You should avoid excessive bending, lifting heavy objects and doing any strenuous activity for four to six weeks after surgery
- You can do light jobs, housework and cooking almost immediately after the operation and you will be able to read, watch TV and go out as usual
- You should be able to get back to most of your activities by four weeks, as long as your eye has healed
- You can wear glasses if they help with your vision. However, you will need new glasses after the treatment and should visit your optometrist to get them
- Driving is dependent on your vision. You should check with your surgeon when you can drive again
- If you are in any doubt about your insurance cover, it’s best to contact your insurance company.
Complications and risks
As with all surgery, there are risks involved. Your consultant in Devon will be well informed about all of these and can talk you through them and reassure you. General complications from surgery include:
Specific complications of cataract surgery may include:
- Aching of the eye
- Bruising of the eyelid
- Blurry vision (full healing will take several months)
- Thickening of the lens casing (the part which holds the lens in place). This can be corrected with laser surgery.
Cataract Surgery consultants at Exeter Hospital
Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG
|Initial consultation||from £160|
|Diagnostics||If needed to determine treatment plan|
|Pre-assessment, Main treatment and Post-discharge care||£3,260|
The guide price
stated above is an approximation of the cost of treatment only. The final price
may vary according to Consultant fees, prosthesis or drugs used and any
pre-existing medical conditions which may alter your care pathway.
You will be given a fixed all-inclusive price for treatment following
your initial consultation with a Consultant.
Ways to pay
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