Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled a list of answers to the most common questions you might have

Cataract Surgery

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a common eye condition characterised by the clouding of the eye's natural lens, which is typically clear. This clouding occurs gradually and can lead to blurry or hazy vision, difficulty seeing in low light, glare sensitivity and faded colours.

Cataracts often develop with age but can also result from factors such as genetics, trauma, or certain medical conditions like diabetes. While they are a natural part of aging, cataracts can significantly impact vision quality and daily activities. However, they are treatable with cataract surgery, during which the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear artificial lens to restore clear vision.

How much does cataract surgery cost?

You can find detailed pricing information for lens surgery on our Prices page. We believe in transparent pricing to ensure our patients have access to clear and comprehensive information about the cost of our procedures.

Please visit our Prices page for a breakdown of our pricing options and feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or would like to schedule a video consultation call.

When can I return to work after cataract surgery?

Generally, you can return to work within a few days to a week after cataract surgery, depending on your job's physical demands and your individual healing process.

Most people experience improved vision shortly after the procedure, although it may continue to improve over several days or weeks. We will provide specific guidance tailored to your situation, ensuring a safe and smooth transition back to your work routine.

How does cataract surgery work?

Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). During the procedure, Dr. Sancy Low will make a small incision in the eye and will use ultrasound technology to break up the cloudy lens into tiny pieces, which are then gently suctioned out.

Once the natural lens is removed, the IOL is inserted into the same capsule that held the original lens, where it remains permanently. This new lens helps to restore clear vision, often reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses. Cataract surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and is considered one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures.

Will I feel the synthetic lens in my eye?

No, you typically will not feel the synthetic lens in your eye after cataract surgery. The intraocular lens (IOL) is designed to become a permanent part of your eye, replacing the natural lens removed during the procedure. Once implanted, the IOL integrates into the eye's structure and is not typically felt by you.

You may initially be aware of its presence as your eye adjusts to the new lens, but most people adapt quickly, and the sensation fades. If you have any concerns about the IOL or experience discomfort, it's essential to discuss them with us for personalised guidance.

Can cataracts spread from one eye to the other?

Cataracts do not spread from one eye to the other like an infection or a contagious disease. However, it's common for individuals to develop cataracts in both eyes, though they may progress at different rates.

Factors such as genetics, aging and lifestyle choices can contribute to the development of cataracts in each eye independently. While the condition itself doesn't spread, if you notice symptoms of cataracts in one eye, it's essential to monitor your vision and consult with us to assess and address any changes in both eyes.

How long does cataract surgery take?

Cataract surgery is typically a relatively quick procedure, often lasting around 15 to 30 minutes per eye. However, the exact duration can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the cataract, the surgical technique used and any additional procedures performed alongside cataract removal, such as astigmatism correction or the implantation of premium intraocular lenses.

Despite its brevity, cataract surgery is a highly effective and minimally invasive procedure that can significantly improve vision and quality of life for those affected by cataracts.

Is a laser used to remove cataracts?

While lasers are sometimes used in certain steps of cataract surgery, they are not typically used to remove the cataract itself. The primary method for removing cataracts is called phacoemulsification, which involves using ultrasound energy to break up the cloudy lens into small fragments, which are then gently suctioned out of the eye.

However, in some cases, a laser may be used to create precise incisions in the cornea or to soften the cataract before phacoemulsification. These laser-assisted techniques can enhance the precision and safety of the procedure, but the actual removal of the cataract is typically performed using ultrasound technology.

Is cataract surgery painful?

Cataract surgery is typically not painful. Most patients undergo the procedure with local anesthesia, which numbs the eye and surrounding tissues, ensuring you don't feel any discomfort during the surgery.

Additionally, we may provide mild sedation to help you relax during the procedure. While you may experience some mild discomfort or scratchiness in the eye after surgery, this is usually temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription eye drops. Overall, cataract surgery is considered safe and well-tolerated by the majority of patients.

Can I eat and drink normally before surgery?

Before cataract surgery, it's essential to follow our specific pre-operative instructions regarding eating and drinking. In many cases, we may instruct you to avoid eating or drinking anything, including water, for a certain period before the procedure to reduce the risk of complications related to anesthesia. This fasting period typically begins several hours before your scheduled surgery time.

It's crucial to adhere strictly to these guidelines to ensure your safety and the success of the surgery. If you have any questions or concerns about your pre-operative instructions, don't hesitate to contact us for clarification.

Can I have cataract surgery on both eyes at the same time?

It is often suitable to have cataract surgery on both eyes at the same time if there are no other internal eye concerns. We prefer to perform cataract surgery on both eyes at the same time for people with high prescriptions. This approach allows both eyes to adjust equally and avoid potential imbalances after surgery. It also has the benefit of a shorter and more straightforward after care regime.

When can I drive again after cataract surgery?

After cataract surgery, it's generally recommended to wait until your vision has sufficiently improved and any potential side effects such as blurriness or glare have subsided before resuming driving. This typically takes a few days to a week for most individuals, but it can vary depending on factors such as the type of surgery, your overall health and your eye's healing process.

We will provide specific guidance based on your individual situation, so it's essential to follow our recommendations closely to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.

What are cataract surgery complications or risks?

While cataract surgery is generally safe and effective, like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks. Complications can include infection, bleeding, inflammation, swelling, or detachment of the retina. Additionally, some individuals may experience issues such as increased intraocular pressure, dislocation of the intraocular lens, or posterior capsule opacification, where the membrane behind the new lens becomes cloudy over time.

However, serious complications are rare, and the vast majority of patients experience significant improvement in vision and quality of life following cataract surgery. We will discuss potential risks and steps to minimise them during your pre-operative consultation.

How long does it take to recover from cataract surgery?

Recovery from cataract surgery is typically relatively quick, with most patients experiencing noticeable improvement in vision within a few days to a week after the procedure. However, the full recovery process can vary from person to person, and it may take several weeks for your eyes to fully heal and your vision to stabilize. During this time, you may experience some temporary side effects such as mild discomfort, blurry vision, glare, or sensitivity to light, but these usually resolve as your eyes heal.

We will provide specific post-operative instructions to help facilitate a smooth recovery and optimise your visual outcomes.

What is the success rate of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery is considered one of the most successful and commonly performed surgical procedures worldwide, with a high success rate. The vast majority of patients experience significant improvement in vision and quality of life following cataract surgery. While individual outcomes can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the cataract, overall health and any pre-existing eye conditions, studies have shown that the success rate of cataract surgery exceeds 95% in restoring clear vision.

Additionally, advancements in surgical techniques and intraocular lens technology continue to enhance the safety and efficacy of the procedure, further improving patient outcomes.

What can I expect after cataract surgery?

After cataract surgery, you can expect a gradual improvement in your vision over the following days and weeks as your eyes heal. Initially, you may experience some mild discomfort, blurry vision and sensitivity to light, but these symptoms typically diminish as your eyes adjust. We may prescribe eye drops to prevent infection and promote healing.

Most patients can resume normal activities within a few days to a week after surgery, but it's essential to avoid strenuous activities and follow our post-operative instructions closely to ensure a smooth recovery. Overall, cataract surgery often leads to clearer vision and improved quality of life for those affected by cataracts.

Will I need glasses after cataract surgery?

The need for glasses after cataract surgery varies among individuals and depends on factors such as the type of intraocular lens (IOL) implanted, pre-existing refractive errors and personal visual goals. While traditional monofocal IOLs correct vision at one distance (usually distance vision), many patients still require glasses for activities like reading or computer work.

However, advanced technology lenses, such as multifocal or extended depth of focus IOLs, can reduce dependence on glasses for both near and distance vision. Additionally, some patients may opt for monovision, where one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other for near vision, reducing the need for glasses. We will discuss your options and help you choose the best IOL for your lifestyle and visual needs.

How can I prevent cataracts?

While cataracts are primarily age-related and can't be completely prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing them or slow their progression. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise and avoiding smoking can help protect your eyes from cataracts.

Additionally, protecting your eyes from harmful UV radiation by wearing sunglasses with UV protection and avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight can also be beneficial. Regular eye exams are essential for early detection and treatment of cataracts, so be sure to schedule routine check-ups with your eye care provider.

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Laser Eye Surgery

How Long Does Laser Eye Surgery Take?

Laser eye surgery, such as SMILE or Presbyond, typically takes only about 15 to 30 minutes per eye. The actual laser treatment itself usually lasts just a few minutes per eye, with the entire procedure often completed within an hour. However, this timeframe may vary depending on factors such as the individual's specific eye condition and our technique.

Despite its brevity, laser eye surgery is a highly effective and minimally invasive procedure that can provide long-lasting vision correction for those who are suitable candidates.

What is the difference between SMILE and Presbyond?

The main difference between SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) and Presbyond laser eye surgery lies in their respective techniques and intended outcomes. SMILE is a type of refractive surgery used primarily to correct nearsightedness by creating a small incision in the cornea to remove a small piece of tissue, reshaping the cornea and correcting the refractive error.

On the other hand, Presbyond laser eye surgery is specifically designed to address presbyopia, an age-related condition that affects near vision, typically after the age of 40. Presbyond employs a combination of techniques, such as LASIK or PRK, along with specialised algorithms to provide a solution that corrects both distance and near vision, reducing or eliminating the need for reading glasses or bifocals. Both procedures aim to improve vision, but their focus and techniques differ based on the individual's specific vision needs and conditions.

How Quickly Will I Notice the Results?

The timeline for noticing results after laser eye surgery varies among individuals, but many patients experience significant improvement in vision within a day or two after the procedure. Some may notice clearer vision almost immediately, while others may experience gradual improvement over the following days or weeks as their eyes heal and adjust.

It's not uncommon to experience temporary side effects such as glare, halos, or dry eyes during the initial recovery period, but these usually subside as the eyes heal. Overall, laser eye surgery often provides rapid and noticeable results, with many patients enjoying clear vision and reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses soon after the procedure.

How Quickly Can I Return to Work After Laser Eye Surgery?

The timeframe for returning to work after laser eye surgery can vary depending on the individual's job requirements and the specific type of procedure performed. In many cases, patients can resume work within a day or two after surgery, as long as their job doesn't involve strenuous physical activity or exposure to dust or other irritants that could potentially irritate the eyes.

However, it's essential to follow our post-operative instructions carefully and avoid activities that could compromise the healing process. Some patients may choose to take a few days off work to rest and allow their eyes to recover fully before returning to their normal routine.

What Does Laser Eye Surgery Feel Like?

During laser eye surgery, patients typically don't feel pain due to the application of numbing eye drops and, in some cases, mild sedation to help them relax. However, sensations can vary among individuals. You may experience pressure or discomfort as Dr. Sancy Low creates a flap in the cornea or removes the outer layer of cells (in the case of PRK), but these sensations are usually brief and manageable.

The laser itself may cause a slight sensation of pressure or warmth during the procedure, but it's generally not painful. Most patients describe the overall experience as tolerable, with any discomfort quickly fading once the procedure is complete.

What are the Main Refractive Errors Treated by Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery is primarily used to correct three main types of refractive errors: myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

  • Myopia occurs when the eye is too long or the cornea is too steep, causing distant objects to appear blurry.
  • Hyperopia occurs when the eye is too short or the cornea is too flat, resulting in difficulty seeing objects up close.
  • Astigmatism is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, leading to distorted or blurry vision at all distances.

Laser eye surgery reshapes the cornea to correct these refractive errors, allowing light to focus properly on the retina and improving overall vision clarity without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

What are the success rates?

The success rates for laser eye surgery are generally high, with the majority of patients achieving significant improvements in vision and reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Studies have shown that more than 90% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better after laser eye surgery, with many experiencing even better visual outcomes.

However, individual results can vary depending on factors such as the patient's refractive error, corneal thickness and overall eye health. It's essential for patients to undergo a comprehensive evaluation with Dr. Sancy Low to determine their candidacy for laser eye surgery and to discuss their expectations and potential risks.

Who Is Suitable for Laser Eye Surgery?

Suitability for laser eye surgery depends on various factors including the patient's age, refractive error, overall eye health and lifestyle. Generally, suitable candidates are adults over 18 years old with stable vision for at least a year, who have healthy corneas with sufficient thickness and no significant eye conditions like glaucoma or cataracts.

Ideal candidates have refractive errors within the treatable range for the chosen procedure, including myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Additionally, candidates should have realistic expectations about the outcomes of surgery and be committed to following pre and post-operative care instructions provided by us. A comprehensive evaluation is essential to determine candidacy and ensure the best possible outcomes.

What Is the Age Limit?

While there isn't a strict age limit for laser eye surgery, candidates typically need to be at least 18 years old to undergo the procedure. This age requirement ensures that the patient's eyes have matured fully, reducing the likelihood of changes in vision stability after surgery.

However, the ideal age for laser eye surgery can vary depending on factors such as the patient's refractive error, overall eye health and stability of vision. It's essential for individuals considering laser eye surgery to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by us to determine their candidacy and discuss the potential risks and benefits based on their specific circumstances.

How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

You can find detailed pricing information for laser eye surgery on our Prices page.

We believe in transparent pricing to ensure our patients have access to clear and comprehensive information about the cost of our procedures. Please visit our Prices page for a breakdown of our pricing options and feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or would like to schedule a video consultation call.

Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost More If Your Eyesight Is Worse?

The cost of laser eye surgery typically does not vary based on the severity of your eyesight. Instead, it is influenced by factors such as the type of procedure, the technology used and any additional services included in the treatment package.

Whether you have mild or severe refractive errors, the overall cost of the procedure is generally determined by these factors rather than the degree of your eyesight impairment. For specific pricing information, we encourage you to visit our Services page or contact our clinic directly to discuss your individual needs and options.

Can Laser Eye Surgery Cure Astigmatism?

Yes, laser eye surgery can effectively treat astigmatism by reshaping the cornea to correct its irregular curvature. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens has an irregular shape, causing blurred or distorted vision at all distances. During laser eye surgery, the laser precisely reshapes the cornea to create a more symmetrical curvature, allowing light to focus properly on the retina and improving overall vision clarity.

Many patients with astigmatism achieve significant improvements in vision and reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses after laser eye surgery. However, it's essential for individuals with astigmatism to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by us to determine their candidacy for laser eye surgery and discuss the most suitable treatment options.

What Are the Alternatives to Laser Eye Surgery?

Several alternatives to laser eye surgery exist for correcting refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.

One option is implantable collamer lenses (ICLs), which are implanted in the eye to correct vision and offer reversible correction.

Another alternative is orthokeratology, involving the use of specially designed contact lenses worn overnight to reshape the cornea temporarily.

Additionally, refractive lens exchange (RLE) replaces the eye's natural lens with an artificial one to correct refractive errors, similar to cataract surgery.

Each alternative has its own benefits and considerations, and the most suitable option depends on factors such as the patient's refractive error, age, overall eye health, and lifestyle preferences. It's essential to consult with us to discuss these alternatives and determine the best option for individual needs and circumstances.

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Contact Details

Call PA

077 1772 1442

Email PA

contact@sancylow.com

Practice Locations

Central London

The Wimpole Eye Clinic
46 Wimpole Street
Harley Street Medical Area
London
W1G 8SD
St. Thomas' Hospital
Westminster Bridge Road
London
SE1 7EH

North London

My-iClinic
960 High Road
North Finchley
N12 9RY