Skip to main content

Cataract Surgery Explained

By November 30, 2022January 8th, 2024No Comments

Gill Opticians - A Guide to cataract Surgery

In this blog post we investigate


  • What is a cataract?

  • What are the causes of cataracts?

  • How can we slow down the progression or prevent cataracts?

  • What cataract surgery entails?

  • Things to consider when going for cataract surgery.

  • Post cataract


What is a cataract?

A cataract is a cloudy lens within the eye which reduces the vision of the affected eye. There are many causes of cataracts and most are due to the normal changes in your eyes are you get older.

What are the causes of cataracts?

When you’re young, the lens in your eye is clear. Around age 40, the proteins in the lens of your eye start to break down and clump together. This clump makes a cloudy area on your lens — or a cataract. Over time, the cataract gets more severe and clouds more of the lens. Smoking, UV exposure, poor diet, diabetes and other factors can contribute to the development of cataracts. Some medications such as the long term use of steroids can also cause cataracts. Injury to the eye can also cause cataracts.

Some children are born with cataracts and this type is called a congenital cataract. In this instance immediate surgery is required to remove the obscuring lens and glasses will be prescribed to ensure that the visual pathway can be developed during the critical period.

How can we slow down the progression or prevent cataracts?


  • Wearing UV protected sunglasses and clear lenses will delay the development of of cataracts.

  • Wearing a wide brimmed hat to protect your eyes from the sun.

  • Quit smoking.

  • A Healthy diet including carotenoids from colourful vegetables.


When is a cataract ready for extraction?

Gill Opticians will discuss and decided when the right time to have cataracts removed. Generally cataract surgery is performed when the patients vision can no longer be enhanced sufficiently with glasses and they are struggling with reading or getting close to not meeting driving standards corrected with glasses. Cataract surgery is a surgery and although there are rarely complications, the procedure is an elective surgery and should be considered carefully through consultation with our optometrists.


What is the cataract surgery procedure?

Cataract surgery involves the removal of the clouded lens and replacement with an artificial lenses. During the surgery the patient will receive local anaesthetic to the eye and orbital area. An incision is made and an ultrasonic tool is used to break down the clouded lens and it is removed by suction. Once the old lens is removed the artificial lens or IOL (intra ocular lens) is inserted and hooked into place. Usually the eye does not require stitches and  a protective cup will be worn for a few days post surgery.

Your surgical ophthalmologist will be able to discuss the best options for your requirements. Below are a list of options available which will be discussed before your surgery.


Multifocal implant – leave you not requiring glasses but you may need specs for close work enhancement.

Pros -Patient may be left not requiring glasses.

Cons- There is a higher chance of poorer results if the lens is not implanted perfectly on axis. If Patient likes wearing specs they may not require them anymore.

Single vision distance correction – Patient is left not requiring correction for the distance vision but must wear reading glasses to see up close.

Pros- No spectacles required for distance vision

Cons – Glasses must be carried around for reading purposes.

Myopic result – Patient is left requiring specs to see in distance.

Pros – Patient can read unaided.

If patient is used to wearing specs and would feel strange without glasses then this is the best option. The patient can be fitted with varifocals after surgery.

Cons – Patient will be left with mild blurred vision in the distance uncorrected.

Mono correction – Patient is left with one eye short-sighted and one eye corrected for distance vision.

Pros – If tolerated then patient can function without specs.

Cons – if not tolerated patient may be frustrated with new vision.

Things to consider when going for cataract surgery.

The intraocular lens implant (IOL) will have refractive power in it much like a contact lens. There are various IOL options available and all have strengths and compromises which should be considered before electing for cataract surgery. A patient who has worn glasses for the past 70 years may want to wear glasses full time again after cataract surgery. A patient who wears glasses for reading only may wish to not need glasses at all after their surgery. There are many options to consider when electing for cataract surgery and sometimes the desired results are not obtained due to complications with the procedure. All surgeries carry a risk to the patient but a thoughtful educated approach is best practice to ensure you get the most from your cataract surgery.


Please note that cataract surgery is a surgery and comes with potential risks. Desirable results are not always achieved, this document is to be used purely for light reading purposes. Please take advise from your ophthalmologist on all topics covered in this article.