The duration of a cataract operation

Most cataract surgery is done under local anaesthesia. This involves placing a local anaesthetic around the eye to ensure that you are pain-free throughout the operation. This can sting a little just like the anaesthetic you would have at the dentist, but after that, the eye is numb and ‘asleep’.

You will be awake for the procedure and will be able to hear our team and some relaxing music if requested. This has the advantage of a faster recovery.

The cataract operation

Modern cataract surgery is a technical and advanced procedure carried out under a microscope. Ms. Crawley has a lot of experience with this process. She performs both routine and complex cases in her role as a cataract and glaucoma surgeon at The Western Eye Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Patients are usually in the hospital for 1-2 hours for this operation. The time is divided between when you arrive at the hospital, having the pre-operative eye drops, the actual procedure, which is approximately 20-25 minutes, and the initial steps of your recovery. If you have normal vision in the eye that wasn’t operated on and can look after yourself at home then you will probably be able to go home the same day. For patients with poor vision in the other eye, an overnight stay in the hospital may be helpful. It’s a small amount of time spent for a huge benefit afterwards. 

After surgery

The vision will improve steadily in the two weeks following the operation. It is normal for it to be blurred immediately after and during the first few days after the surgery. If you need a second operation for the other eye, it can usually be done 2-4 weeks after the first surgery to balance both.