My medical school training started as a medical student at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital. I had the privilege of working with a very passionate eye surgeon, Mr Fitch, who I think first gave rise to my interest in ophthalmology. When I saw my first cataract operation and saw the impact it had on the patient afterwards, I was convinced that this was the path I was going to follow.
The main advantages that cataract surgery in the private sector offers is the reassurance you can choose the surgeon.
More recently, true laser cataract surgery has evolved, and it uses laser energy in various ways. It can perform what we call the capsulorhexis stage, which is where we cut a hole in the central capsule of the eye.
Most patients will simply have a chat with me after the cataract surgery. I will make sure that I have answered all their questions, and that they are going home happy and reassured.
If this is something you are paying for yourself, in other words, you are funding the cataract surgery without a health insurance company, most hospitals will offer a fixed price package to reassure you of all charges to include a standard intraocular lens.
One of the commonest cataract symptoms is just a general, slow reduction in vision. It can happen so slowly you may not even know it until it gets to an advanced age. You may realise that you are not reading as well as you used to, or you can't see the TV as clearly as you used to.
The one thing that you could do - if you are a smoker- is stop smoking! Smoking is certainly at the root of all evils when it comes to eye diseases.
One of the common risks factors is time. So we all will, with time. Eventually, the lens in the eye will become cloudy. There are certain circumstances under which a cataract can form earlier in someone’s life. Especially if they have conditions such as diabetes or inflammatory disorders of the eye called uveitis.
Cataract surgery is something that is usually performed routinely because cataracts by its usual cause, develops very slowly. It will be very rare to require urgent cataract surgery.
Most people will be able to resume almost all normal household activities, such as cooking or walking around the house a day after the operation. The eye is certainly comfortable enough to allow them to do that. Within a week, normal activities such as walking outdoors, anything that is not too strenuous, including yoga, is acceptable.