Ashburton eye clinic

What does Cataract Surgery involve?

The treatment the cataract is surgical removal of the clouded lens. The eye, however, cannot focus without a lens, so vision will be indistinct unless some device is employed to take the place of the missing lens. Since about 1980, we have achieved this by inserting a plastic lens into the eye (intraocular lens).

The cataract is usually removed by a small incision made in the outer white coating of the eye (the sclera) or through the cornea (clear corneal incision). The procedure utilizes sound waves to remove the clouded lens.

A special implant lens is introduced into the eye, usually behind the iris in the space where the clouded lens was removed. This intra-ocular lens implant is designed to last a lifetime.

Visual rehabilitation after this type of procedure is usually very quick and some patients can see quite well within a week following the surgery.

The intraocular lens implants come in different sizes and powers. Intraocular lenses have improved technically in recent years both for the quality of the image they produce and with more choice and visual options.

Intraocular multifocal lenses now offer both distance, reading and intermediate vision without the need for reading glasses for most purposes. They have some distinct advantages for patients who wish to be spectacle nondependent. Please contact the Ashburton Eye Clinc to discuss this.

The power of the lens required to be inserted in the eye is calculated using an A-scan machine and laser Biometer with an inbuilt computer.

This estimates the power of the lens that has to be inserted in the eye. The calculation is only an estimate and may have to be corrected with a fairly weak pair of glasses in some circumstances to make the vision as perfect as possible, especially for reading.

Will I be awake for Cataract Surgery?

Most surgery for cataract extraction in the elderly is done under local anesthetic, although general anesthetic is sometimes used. The choice of the type of aesthetic is made between you, the anesthetist  and your eye doctor.

The advantages of local anesthetic is that the patient feels better sooner. Patients may have a general anesthetic if they wish and a suitable medically.

How long does the surgery last? Will I need to be hospitalized?

The surgery usually lasts about half an hour. Hospitalization is not necessary and day surgery is used.


Patients are advised, in private surroundings, of all costs involved in the procedure including hospital costs.

For those patients who do not have private health insurance, any concerns in relation to fees and charges can be discussed privately and confidentially with our reception staff who will be only too pleased to help you.