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If you're struggling with your eyesight because of cataracts, you may need to be referred to a hospital for cataract surgery. Cataracts are a common eye problem, especially as you get older. They happen when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy and affects your vision. You might notice changes like blurred or cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, or colours appearing less bright. It can be frustrating and impact your quality of life, but cataract surgery can help improve your vision and restore your independence.

If you are referred for cataract surgery, you will be assessed by an ophthalmologist who will check the health of your eyes and determine if you are suitable for the procedure. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one. It is usually done as a day case procedure under local anaesthesia, meaning you can go home on the same day. After the surgery, you'll need to take some time to rest and recover, but you should notice an improvement in your vision soon after. Your ophthalmologist will advise you on how to care for your eyes after surgery and when to attend follow-up appointments to ensure everything is healing correctly.

At Blackrock Health, we have earned a long-standing reputation for excellence in private medical and surgical care. This includes the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the eye, ear, nose, and throat, for both adults and children Our three hospitals offer easy and speedy access to expert care in these fields. We have a renowned team of consultants, and we use the latest techniques and technologies. This means we can aim to provide you with a fast, accurate diagnoses and an effective and tailored treatment plan. We understand that experiencing problems with your eyes, ears, nose, or throat can be worrying. That is why we are committed to providing compassionate and reassuring care. Whether you need a routine check-up or a more complex procedure, we are here to help. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the highest standards of care and support - throughout your journey to better health. 

Ophthalmology is the study and treatment of eye disorders. Our ophthalmology team treats all eye conditions. Our  team will look after you throughout your diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

As a Blackrock Health patient, you'll be cared for by our team of consultant ophthalmologists and consultant ophthalmic surgeons. All our consultants offer care and expertise in their own specialties and continue to lead research in vision sciences. Many of our eye specialists also consult in major teaching hospitals.

The team includes:

  • Consultant ophthalmologists
  • Consultant ophthalmic surgeons
  • Ophthalmic clinical nurse specialists
  • Ophthalmic technicians
  • Optometrists

Please note that we do not offer an emergency service for eye health issues. If you have the following symptoms, you should call 112 or 999:

Sudden or severe eye pain

  • Loss of sight
  • Lots of flashing lights
  • Chemicals in your eye
  • Severe eye trauma

About Cataract Treatment

If the natural lens inside the eye becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract. It is situated behind the pupil but in front of the vitreous jelly and retina. The cataract is usually removed when it significantly affects the eyesight.

In cataract surgery, the abnormal cloudy lens is removed. Without the lens the eye would be out of focus, but this is usually overcome by placing an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) inside the eye at the time of the operation. Once a lens is in position no further surgical treatment is usually required.

After the surgery, eye medications are usually given for 4 weeks but may need to be continued for longer. Once the eye has stabilised (normally at 3 weeks after surgery) it is often necessary to make small adjustments to the focus of the eye, to provide the best vision, by changing your spectacle lens.

With cataract surgery there is approximately:

  • 95% chance of better vision (better if you have no other problems such as macular degeneration).
  • 90% chance of good (6/12) vision
  • 85% chance of excellent (6/7.5) vision
  • 1% chance of no improvement or deterioration in vision due to complications of surgery.

Types of intra-ocular lens

The intra-ocular lens (IOL) choice falls into 3 main categories:

Monofocal IOLs

Conventional lenses have a uniform focus and provide excellent image quality, but have a limited range of focus.

Multifocal IOL’s

A variety of different types of multifocal lens have been implanted in cataract surgery over the last 20 years. These lenses produce both clear distance and near vision, and approximately 80% of patients are completely spectacle free after implantation.

Toric IOLs

Some patients with pre-existing astigmatism (the eye is egg shaped rather than spherical shaped) will require glasses after surgery unless they have a special toric IOL inserted. Toric means there are two curvatures in the lens, one to correct the astigmatism, and the other to correct long-or short-sightedness. About 15% of the cataract population may benefit from this type of lens.

    At present health insurance companies cover the cost of the conventional IOL but do not cover the cost of special lenses such as the multifocal and toric IOLs. Patients will be charged the excess cost of these by the hospital on the day of surgery. Your surgeon will discuss these options with you, and the cost implications, before the procedure.

    Cataract surgery is a day case procedure: you do not need to stay in hospital overnight after surgery. We do not normally operate on both eyes at the same session. Special order lenses including multifocal and toric IOLs require that biometry is performed at a separate visit in advance of the day of surgery. Biometry is a very accurate non-invasive measurement of the eye structures, taken to establish which power or strength of lens is required.

    Time off Work

    Although the visual recovery after cataract surgery is rapid, you can expect to see quite well within 2 days of surgery, we advise a week off work after each procedure. This is not obligatory an provided you are able to put drops in 4 times per day a return to work on the Monday after surgery will not damage the eye.

    Other Limitations on Activity

    You can be as active as you like after modern cataract surgery. Bending over and lifting heavy weights are no problem, and flying is permissible from the day after surgery. The main limitations are no swimming for 1 week after surgery and no eye make up for one week after surgery - because of the risk of infection. Driving is fine once you can read a number plate at 70 feet. Driving with good vision in only one eye is legal but you should obviously exercise caution until you feel confident and initially drive short distances by day in familiar surroundings.

    How do I get this?

    You will need a referral letter from your GP, optician or consultant before you make an appointment.

    Is this insured?

    Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance cover check page, or by contacting your health insurer. 

    How do I pay?

    If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.

    Available at:
    • Blackrock Clinic
    • Galway Clinic
    • Hermitage Clinic

    Blackrock Clinic

    Rock Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, A94E4X7
    Cataract Treatment

    Galway Clinic

    Doughiska Galway, Galway H91HHT0
    Cataract Treatment

    Hermitage Clinic

    Old Lucan Road, Dublin, D20 W722
    Cataract Treatment