Cataract Surgery Service

A cataract is a clouding in the lens of your eye. In youth, the lens is transparent (clear) but as it becomes clouded the passage of light is obstructed and this impairs vision or causes glare in bright sunlight.

The eye department removes approximately 1400 cataracts every year.

Your optician will see the cataract when they examine you. You will then be referred to the cataract clinic at NDDH or one of our community hospitals.
You will be assessed by the ophthalmologist and nurse will carry out a pre-operative assessment, which includes measurements of the shape and size of the eye.

Most cataract operations are carried out under local anaesthesia by numbing your eye with eye drops and / or an injection around it. Rarely, you may be put to sleep for the operation. Your doctor will discuss this with you in detail in the clinic.

A date for the operation will be sent to you.

You will attend the Vanguard Eye Theatre at North Devon District Hospital for you operation.

The nurse will prepare you for surgery. This will require having eye drops instilled in to your eye to enlarge the pupil. The operation normally takes 30-45 minutes. Post-operative instruction and eye drops will be given by the discharging nurse.

You will be given an outpatient appointment for 2-5 weeks after the operation to be followed up. Once the eye drops have been stopped, you can make an appointment with the optician for a change of glasses, usually 4-6 weeks after surgery.

Cataract surgery is normally very safe and successful – see our patient information leaflet “Cataract surgery – risks and benefits”. We have less than average cataract complications when compared with other eye departments in the country. For more information on this please see : NHS choices website  or

Last updated: November 3, 2017