CATARACT SURGERY IN BIRMINGHAM
Some cataract FACTs:
- Cataracts are common. More than 30% of people over the age of 65 have cataracts which impairs vision especially at night.
- Over 300 000 cataract operations are done in England every year, that’s about 100 cataract operations done per hour.
There are different types of intraocular lenses (IOLs) & your choice before cataract surgery is important because changing the lens after cataract eye surgery is difficult.
The good news is that advanced cataract surgery with the different types of intraocular lenses is available with us here in Birmingham. Some high tech lenses can rejuvenate your vision so you don’t need glasses at all afterwards.
About Cataracts and Cataract Surgery
The lens in our eyes is normally clear. As a cataract forms, people may find that their glasses prescription changes & they have to update their glasses more frequently. Driving at night can become difficult because car headlights cause more glare. And as the natural lens becomes more cloudy, even a new pair of glasses doesn’t clear up your vision. It’s like looking through a frosted window. Initially, one eye may be affected more than the other. But cataracts usually affect both eyes eventually.
There are many causes of cataracts including ageing, smoking, sunshine & diabetes, & some are inherited in our genes. We don’t understand all the causes & even young people occasionally get cataracts.
We can’t avoid getting older, but healthy living when we’re younger may avoid us developing cataracts until we’re much older.
Come & see us or bring your parents & we’ll scan the cataracts & your eyes with advanced technology scanners. Then we’ll & talk about whether cataract eye surgery is the best solution & talk about the best IOL for you personally.
The cataract operation is done carefully & precisely under a surgical microscope. And cataract surgery has progressed to become one of todays most painless & lowest risk, highest benefit operations. This delicate surgery can be gently done by a skilled eye surgeon using only eye drops & no needles. As soon as the day after the operation most people say everything seems brighter, they see better than they have for years & they didn’t realise how much their vision had deteriorated.
Anaesthetic eye drops are dropped into your eye. Needles are usually unnecessary. A 2mm incision is made at the edge of the cornea (the clear window on the front of your eye) using an operating microscope. The cloudy cataract lens is gently softened using an ultrasound probe then “vacuumed” away. A new, clear lens is placed in the same position as the old one, supported by the same supporting ligaments so no sutures are necessary. Patients say the procedure is painless & all they saw were lights & shapes.
There are a few activity restrictions after the operation & we’ll give you instructions about how to look after your eye. There is no additional cost for your follow-up appointments which can be in Birmingham.
Your new artificial lens works by bending light in a similar way to how your natural lens used to focus light when it was clear.
Monofocal IOLs: These clear lenses improve distance or near vision but can’t give you distance & near vision & can’t correct astigmatism. So after monofocal IOL cataract surgery, most people need glasses.
Extended depth of focus IOLs: These IOLs give good distance & intermediate distance (computer & satnav) vision. However, you usually still need near vision glasses after your cataract surgery.
Multifocal IOLs: These lenses provide distance, intermediate & near vision correction, so you can drive, and see your computer & your phone without glasses. They cause some glare at night which usually reduces to the point of not being aware of glare within a few months.
Toric IOLs: These IOLs correct astigmatism & can be monofocal or multifocal lenses.
The best lens is different for each person & depends on the health of your eye, your needs, your lifestyle & the cataract surgery cost you can afford. At your appointment in Birmingham we’ll talk, scan your eyes with high tech scans & decide together on a tailor made vision correction solution for you.
Dr Mark Wevill's Approach to Cataract Surgery
Mark Wevill is one of a select few Birmingham ophthalmologists or eye doctors who has done more than ten thousand of these operations. He’s a refractive cataract surgeon meaning that he not only removes the cloudy cataract but he also selects lenses to make you as free of glasses as possible. These lenses extend the range of your vision & many people can drive & read without glasses afterwards. The latest intraocular lenses such as the Zeiss Atlisa, AtLara, Finevision, SBL3, Tecnis Symfony, Synergy, toric & other lenses have transformed hundreds of his Mark’s eye patients’ lives. Mark Wevill has been an eye surgeon and performing cataract operations since 1992 and in Birmingham & the West Midlands since 2002. He works with a team of experienced & dedicated eye care professionals.
Occasionally a high tech laser adjustment can further improve your vision after cataract surgery & Mark is one of the UK’s most experienced refractive laser eye doctors.
Other Frequently asked questions about cataracts
The most significant risk factor for cataract formation is getting older & unfortunately, we can’t avoid this. Cataracts usually occur in the eyes of people aged over 60 because of the accumulated consequences of smoking, diabetes, exposure to lots of sunlight & other factors. But even babies & children can develop cataracts because cataracts can be genetic too.
“Overusing” your eyes is not a cause of cataracts so don’t try to “use your eyes less” to try to stop the cataract from progressing when it starts. And your cataracts aren’t infectious so don’t “spread” from 1 eye to the other. They often just occur in both eyes at about the same time.
Yes, cataracts can also develop in different parts of the lens & have distinctive shapes or appearances. A small cataract at the edge of your lens won’t trouble you as much as when it grows large and closer to the centre of your lens.
When you’re having difficulty doing normal daily activities such as driving & reading, then cataract surgery is essential.
There is no known dietary, lifestyle or medical treatment for cataracts that will stop or reverse cataract formation once it has started. However, cataract operations are safe & very effective.
Cataracts cannot be completely removed with a laser. However, some steps of the operation can be done with a femtosecond laser. Laser assisted operations are no more effective or safe than routine cataract surgery, however the cost is higher. Mr Wevill used to do laser assisted cataract surgery in Birmingham, but as there was no benefit. He doesn’t do laser cataract surgery anymore to keep the cost to a minimum.
If the focus of the eye isn’t the best it can be after cataract surgery, then a few months later the focus can be adjusted with another type of laser called an excimer laser, which is effective, safe & the best way to adjust the focus. Mr Wevill is one of the most experienced excimer laser surgeons in Birmingham.
And months or years after cataract surgery a membrane often thickens behind the lens. This is called capsular opacification & is removed with a YAG laser.
Cataract operations are usually scheduled for separate days & the worst eye is usually operated on first. But you can have cataract surgery on both eyes on the same day. Most cataract operations in the UK are done on separate days at the moment.
Same-day surgery is more convenient but there is a small risk of surgery complications happening in both eyes to consider.
Straight after the operation you have a patch over your eye which you remove a couple of hours later. By this time you will be able to see well enough to make a cup of tea and get around your home. By the next day your vision is usually quite good and continues to improve over the next few weeks or months.
You’ll usually be there for a couple of hours. The operation usually only takes about 15 minutes but we like to check you’re OK before and afterwards & make sure you know how to look after your eye when you get home.
Severe problems are rare, but as with all operations, complications do occur. These can include infection, inflammation, blurred or worse vision, or further surgery. We’ll go through the risks in detail at your consultation.
On the day of surgery, we will give you detailed instructions about how to look after your eyes, what drops to use & when, what you can & can’t do, give you phone numbers you can call if you are concerned & when to come back for your follow up appointments. You are unlikely to have any pain afterwards.
Book a Consultation
This might all seem a little confusing or overwhelming to you. That is why we are here to assist you, explain everything to you & treat you in the best & most affordable manner possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us to arrange an obligation-free consultation with Mark so that you can claim back your vision.