- Reference Number: HEY-013/2023
- Departments: Ophthalmology Department
- Last Updated: 31 May 2023
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This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your assessment for cataract surgery. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team caring for you.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is the lens of the eye which has become cloudy making it difficult for you to see well enough to carry out your daily activities. If the cataract is not removed, you may find that the vision gradually gets worse. Some patients find that the vision stays the same for many months or even years.
Why do I need a cataract assessment?
You have been referred to the Eye Hospital because your Optician or General Practitioner (GP) believes that you may need surgery for the removal of cataracts.
The aim of this assessment is to closely examine your eyes in order to assess the amount and type of cataract you may have and to ensure you do not have any other eye conditions causing your vision problems that may need treatment.
Can there be any complications or risks?
Complications from cataract surgery are rare and most complications can be successfully treated.
Detailed information about the risk and benefits of cataract surgery can be found in the leaflet ‘Risks and Benefits of Cataract Surgery’. It is essential that you read this information before you attend for your clinic visit.
We will be happy to discuss any concerns with you when you attend for your assessment.
How do I prepare for the cataract assessment?
The purpose of the visit is to complete all the relevant tests and documentation required to determine if you need cataract surgery. This cataract assessment visit can take up to 3 hours.
- During this clinic visit your vision will be checked. Please bring your current distance and reading glasses and a copy of your glasses prescription if you have one.
- If you wear contact lenses, please refrain from wearing them before the assessment clinic:
– Soft contact lenses refrain for 2 weeks.
– Hard contact lenses refrain for 4 weeks.
This is essential to allow the cornea to regain its normal shape and obtain accurate measurements to calculate power of your replacement lens.
- Details of your medical history, current medications and any allergies will be recorded. Please bring your medications with you or a copy of your prescription.
- Your pupils will be dilated affecting your vision, so please do not drive yourself to your appointment.
- You will see the Ophthalmic Consultant who will examine your eyes and discuss the findings with you.
- Surgery is not always recommended. This is dependent on many aspects, which will be discussed with you by your consultant.
- If surgery is indicated, the consultant and nursing staff will discuss this further with you. At this point, you may have the opportunity to sign the consent form for your surgery.
- The nurses will discuss with you what to expect when you have your surgery and what after care is required.
- You will have some measurements taken of your eyes in order to decide on the type and strength of lens implant that will be used during the operation.
- You will have measurements taken of your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight and urine.
- Depending on your medical history, you may need to have some blood tests and a heart tracing (ECG) performed.
- If there are any concerns over the results of these tests, you will be asked to consult your GP for treatment.
- You will have the opportunity to choose a date for surgery. This is usually 1 to 6 weeks after this initial visit. Should you need both eyes operating on, the second operation usually takes place approximately 6 to 8 weeks later.
What will happen?
The Eye Hospital is situated in Fountain Street off Anlaby Road. A map has been enclosed for your convenience. The Eye Hospital has a small pay and display car park next to the building. You should not drive yourself to this clinic visit or your surgery.
- You should report to the Eye Hospital reception desk where you will be directed to the assessment area waiting room.
- A nurse will come and take you into an assessment room and begin the process of asking you various questions relating to your health and wellbeing.
- Due to space constraints, only bring one person with you.
- Refreshments are not provided. However there is a small cafeteria in the Eye Hospital atrium selling hot drinks and snacks. Diabetic patients should ensure they have sufficient food with them for the period of the assessment and for when travelling to and from the hospital. When the café is closed, there is a vending machine for drinks and snacks.
What happens afterwards?
Once you have been assessed and a decision has been made to place your name on the waiting list for surgery, you will be given a further patient information leaflet entitled ‘Coming into Hospital for Cataract Surgery’. Please read the leaflet and share the information it contains with your partner and family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support. There may be information they need to know, especially if they are taking care of you following your operation.
- The assessment team will discuss with you suitable dates for your surgery.
- You will be sent a confirmation letter for the date and time of surgery.
- If the decision has been made not to proceed with surgery, then you will be discharged from the Eye Hospital.
- If you have another eye condition that is discovered at this visit, then you will receive a further appointment in the main Eye Clinic to further assess and treat that eye condition.
- If your general health is poor, we may need to ask your GP to investigate and treat any problems you may have before your surgery can take place. At this point, you may need to be referred back to the Eye Hospital when your GP considers you are able to safely undergo the surgery.
Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Ophthalmology Department on tel no: (01482) 608788.
General Advice and Consent
Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.
Consent to treatment
Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.
The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:
- you must be able to give your consent
- you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
- you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person
Information about you
We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.
We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.
If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.