About Cataracts

What is a cataract?

We all have a natural lens that sits behind the iris or coloured part of the eye. The function of the lens is to focus incoming light onto the back of the eye so that we can see. As we get older, the lens can slowly become cloudy. This is known as a cataract. Eventually, this can affect the ability of light to reach the back of the eye, resulting in symptoms such as blurred vision, glare, and difficulty with activities such as driving at night. Cataracts are more common in older people but can occur at any age. If your GP or optometrist suspects that you have cataract, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist. At Cataract & Glaucoma Specialists we have the latest in diagnostic equipment and technology to ensure the optimum assessment of your eye and your suitability for cataract surgery. Our ophthalmologists will carefully assess your eyes and outline the treatment options so that you can make a fully informed decision.

How are cataracts treated?

The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery. This is usually performed as a day procedure under local anaesthetic. The cataract, or cloudy lens, is removed with ultrasound, and a precise clear synthetic lens is put in its place, thereby improving vision to the treated eye.

FAQ: 3 common questions

Do I need to have cataract surgery?
Not all cataracts need to be removed straight away. Whilst cataract surgery is safe and effective, it is still a surgical procedure and not without risks. It is important that your ophthalmologist discusses possible risks and benefits of surgery specific to your individual circumstances, and helps you to weigh up your options. Ultimately our goal is to improve your quality of life by improving and optimising your vision.
Are there different types of intraocular lens`s?
Several different types of highly refined synthetic intraocular lenses can be placed in your eye, each with advantages and disadvantages. The ophthalmologists at Cataract & Glaucoma Specialists will take the time to discuss your treatment options and work with you to determine the best choice for your individual circumstances.
What is laser cataract surgery?
Laser cataract surgery is a new technology, and there is currently debate as to whether this produces better outcomes, and whether the extra cost is justified. The ophthalmologists at Cataract & Glaucoma Specialists are very happy to discuss this option with you.

Your Road to Seeing Clearer

What is Cataract Surgery?

What is Cataract Surgery? Cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest operations performed worldwide. It is typically performed under local anaesthetic as a day procedure, ensuring fast recovery with minimal discomfort. Our expert anaesthetists are highly experienced and particularly skilled at ensuring that anxious or worried patients can undergo surgery safely and without discomfort. The ophthalmologists at Cataract & Glaucoma Specialists operate using the latest leading edge cataract surgical technologies. This ensures the highest level of safety for the procedure. During surgery tiny incisions are made in the cornea, the clear part of the front of the eye. The surgeon uses specialised instruments to fragment the cataract and remove it from the eye. A clear plastic intraocular lens is then placed behind the iris, restoring clear vision

Are there different types of intraocular lenses?

The ophthalmologists at Cataract & Glaucoma Specialists are proud to use the latest generation of lenses with a proven record of safety and comfort.

Intraocular lenses are now available to correct astigmatism (“cylinder”) and to provide both distance and near vision.

Your cataract specialist will discuss the different options in detail and take the time to determine which intraocular lens is best for your needs and lifestyle.

Will I still need to wear glasses?

This will depend on the type of intraocular lens used and your usual activities. Broadly speaking, you can have both eyes focused for distance and still use reading glasses for near activities. It is also possible to have one eye, usually the dominant eye, focused for distance and the other eye for near (‘monovision’). A third option is to use one of the latest generation multifocal intraocular lenses. These can reduce the need for glasses for reading and intermediate activities significantly, although they are not suitable for every patient. There are pros and cons with each option and your cataract specialist will discuss this with you.

What is laser cataract surgery?

In laser assisted cataract surgery, a laser is used to perform several steps of the procedure, including formation of the corneal wounds, and softening the cataract so that it is easier to remove. Some surgeons believe that the use of the laser makes cataract surgery more controlled and predictable, although there is an added cost to the procedure when the laser is used.

Laser cataract surgery is a new technology, and there is currently much debate as to whether it produces better outcomes, and whether the extra cost is justified. The ophthalmologists at Cataract & Glaucoma Specialists are very happy to discuss this option with you.

What happens on the day of my surgery?

You will need to fast for 6 hours prior to the procedure. In general you will be able to continue your regular medications, including blood thinners. You will be at hospital for 3 to 4 hours in total. Drops will be placed into your eye to dilate the pupil. Our specialist anaesthetist will greet you and commence numbing your eye. Surgery takes about 30 minutes and you will go home the same day with a patch on your eye. It is important to have someone present to take you home following surgery as you will not be able to drive. You will be reviewed the next day and your ophthalmologist will give you further instructions.

Where will I have my surgery?

Our surgeons have clinical privileges at a number of private and public hospitals in the Sydney area including:

Private hospitals

South Sydney

  • Waratah Private Hospital
  • Kareena Private Hospital
  • Sydney Private Hospital (Ashfield)
  • Liverpool Eye Surgery


  • East Sydney Private Hospital
  • Sight Foundation Theatre (Sydney Eye Hospital Campus)

Public hospitals

  • Concord Hospital
  • RPA Hospital
  • Sydney Eye Hospital
  • St George Hospital
  • Sutherland Hospital
  • Westmead Hospital

For more information, please see Surgical Procedures.