Cataract Operations
Anaesthetic and procedure

All cataract procedures are performed using an anaesthetic. This will prevent you from feeling pain during the operation.

A local anaesthetic will numb the eye, but you will be awake. This is the most common type of anaesthetic used, as recovery is faster and there are less risks than those associated with a general anaesthetic. The anaesthetic is injected into the skin near the eye.

A topical anaesthetic is where the eye is made numb using drops. Some patients prefer this to having an injection.

Sedation. If you are anxious but wish to avoid a full general anaesthetic, an injection can be administered in to the arm a few minutes before the cataract operation to make you relaxed or sleepy. This is used in conjunction with the local anaesthetic.

A general anaesthetic is given to patients who cannot tolerate the thought of being awake during the procedure. There are more risks associated with this type of surgery, particularly if you have existing heart or chest or vascular problems and the procedure may not always be carried out as a day case.

The Operation

Firstly you will be taken to the anaesthetic room where the anaesthetic will be administered. You will then be transferred to the operating theatre.

After cleaning the area, a sterile drape will be placed over your eye which will loosely cover your face. The drape will not touch your mouth or nose and oxygen will flow under the drape, allowing you to breathe normally.

Do Not Read this section if you would rather not know how the operation is carried out.

A micro incision is made in the eye (approx 2.3mm). It is constructed like a valve, so is self sealing and does not require a stitch.

An ultrasound probe is introduced into the eye, which breaks up the cataractous lens and removes it from the eye. You will hear a buzzing sound during this process. The lens implant is then inserted, using the same incision. It unfolds inside the eye and replaces the original lens.

The procedure normally lasts about 20 minutes, after which you will be transferred to the day ward. If you have had a local or topical anaesthetic you will be seen shortly after the operation and allowed to go home 2 hours later.

If you would like to talk with us about our treatments or have any questions about our procedures, please call us on 01483 576 576 or email We are based in Guildford, Surrey and have a team of highly qualified eye surgeons.

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Call the Surrey Eye Surgeons Cataract Team now, on 01483 576 576.

professional eye treatment

Mike Tappin: 01483 550 939 & 01932 379 120
Joseph Keenan: 01483 575 760
Chris McLean: 01483 457 169

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