Cataract Surgery

For general information about cataracts, please click here

How is cataract surgery performed?

Cataract surgery is usually performed as day surgery under local anaesthetic. Frequently your anaesthetist will also give you a strong sedative to allow you to relax. If necessary, a general anaesthetic can be given, however this is not usually preferred. It is uncommon to feel any discomfort during cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery usually only takes about 10 minutes. The cataract is removed using very small instruments and a microscope. After the cataract is removed, an intraocular lens is inserted to allow light to focus after the surgery. Almost always, no stitches are used.

After the surgery, you will stay at the hospital for up to an hour and then be allowed to leave. You will have a shield over your eye and will be given instructions on what to do when you get home. Usually you will start eye drops that night.

What types of intraocular lenses are available?

Intraocular lenses come in many shapes and sizes. These can be monofocal spherical (one focal length), monofocal toric (to correct astigatism) or multifocal (more than one focal length, to allow for far and near vision).

Monofocal sperical and toric lenses are by far the most commonly used. 

Multifocal lenses may be used in certain circumstances with excellent results, however they may have a poorer quality of vision, and more night vision problems due to haloes when compared to monofocal lenses. In order to reduce spectacle dependance after surgery, it is sometimes possible to insert a distance lens in one eye and a slightly closer focusing eye in the second eye. This technique is called monovision. 

Your surgeon will advise which options are likely to be best for you, given the benefits and limitations of the various lenses. There is no 'best' lens. The best lens will differ between people as everyones requirements are different. Surgeons at NES have access to all of the leading intra-ocular lenses available and will work with you to select the best one in your situation.

How do you determine the strength of the intraocular lens?

Before having cataract surgery we will take measurements of the eye. These are used to predict the strength of the lens required for your eye. This process is called biometry and more information about this can be found here. 

Do you use lasers to remove a cataract?

Most surgery is performed with a highly specialised ultrasound machine. This gives excellent results the vast majority of the time.

There is a new technique using a femtosecond laser (called laser-assisted cataract surgery), which can offer potential benefits for some patients. For more information regarding laser-assisted cataract surgery, click here.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is considered safe, low risk surgery. However, as with all operations, there are some risks. 

Common risks: 

Uncommon or rare problems: 

  • retinal detachment (less than 0.1%)
  • severe infection (less than 0.05%) 
  • corneal decompensation (less than 0.1%) 
  • posterior capsule rupture (with or without vitreous loss - less than 0.5%).

Cataract surgery is generally considered a safe procedure. The list above shows the potential risks and is included for completeness but permanent loss of vision from cataract surgery is very rare. Please contact the clinic if you would like more information.

Where is the surgery performed?

Our surgeons operate at a number of different hospitals to cater for both private and public patients. All of our surgeons offer NO-GAP surgery for HBF and DVA gold card holders. Currently we also provide surgery for public patients at Joondalup Health Campus. 

Please click on the link of your surgeon to see where they operate;

Dr Joshua Yuen

Dr Joshua is an experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon, who specialises in retinal diseases and cataract surgery... read more

Dr Brad Johnson

Dr Johnson is an experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon, who specialises in retinal diseases and cataract surgery... read more