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Consultant Ophthalmologist,
Cataract & Refractive Surgeon

BMedSci BM BS MRCS MRCSEd MRCOpth FRCOphth MMedLaw PgD Cataract & Refractive Surgery


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What's going on?

The lens has become cloudy and the vision blurred. Alternatively, the vision is intact but the patient complains of 'haloes' and glare, particularly with night driving.

If I examine the patient, what will I find?

If you look at the patient through the ophthalmoscope and see a red reflex from a few feet away, you will also see black, spoke-like patches within the red glow itself.

What if I've diagnosed it?

Refer routinely if the patient is visually symptomatic.

What will the hospital do?

If the cataract is causing visual symptoms and the patient is motivated for surgery, they will be listed for cataract extraction.

What to tell the patient

The cataract can removed with an operation that has a high chance of success if the eye is otherwise healthy. This is performed as a day case under local anaesthetic. Cataracts do not damage the eye, and only need to be removed if the patient is complaining of reduced vision and chooses to have surgery. Please look at the patient information on cataract for further information.

Problems that may arise, and how to deal with them

After cataract surgery, the patient will be given drops. It is important that they use these, and if they run out a single repeat prescription should be supplied. If the eye becomes red and painful with reduced vision, the patient may be developing infective endophthalmitis – refer immediately.