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Cataracts

A cataract is clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens which causes glare, gradual loss of sight and contrast.

About


A cataract develops when the natural crystalline lens of the eye begins to lose transparency and gradually becomes opaque. As we get older the lens naturally hardens and thickens, resulting in a cloudiness which limits the light passing through to the retina. As the cataract progresses vision becomes hazy and blurry, and it is often described as like looking through frosted glass. Given cataracts affects the natural lens, the visual impairment cannot be corrected using glasses or contact lenses and it will get worse over time. It is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of fifty and can occur in one eye or progress to both eyes and often can go unnoticed at first as the changes are gradual, but if left untreated cataracts can lead to blindness. Cataracts can easily be removed to fully restore your eyesight and treatment can be undertaken once it has been diagnosed to avoid a further loss of vision.

There are three different forms of cataracts:

  • The subcapsular cataract: This cataract forms at the back of the lens, you are most at risk of developing this type of cataract if you take steroids or are suffering from diabetes.
  • The nuclear cataract: This type forms deep in the central area of the lens and is most commonly associated with ageing.
  • The cortical cataract: This occurs in the lens cortex, which is the portion of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus. It is characterised by white, wedge-shaped opaque areas which start at the edges and work their way into the centre like spokes on a wheel.

However, cataracts can also be present in various other forms, including as:

Congenital cataracts: These either are present from birth or emerge during the first year of life. They are, however, rare compared to age-related cataracts.

Secondary cataracts: These result from disease or medications. Diabetes and glaucoma are examples of diseases associated with cataract development.

Traumatic cataracts: Such cataracts can emerge in injury-inflicted eyes, though the cataracts might not actually develop until several years after the injury.

Radiation cataracts: A potential side-effect of receiving radiation treatment for cancer.

Cataracts develop as a result of the natural ageing process in the eye’s lens and occasionally younger patients may develop cataracts as a result of trauma, vitamin deficiencies or systemic conditions.

The exact reason why age related cataracts occur is unknown but it is believed to be due to the proteins in the lens coming together and clumping. This leads to a cataract in a small area of the lens and as time passes the clumping continues and the cataract grows larger. There are a number of factors that are thought to contribute to the development of age related cataracts, which include:

  • Age – The longer we live the more likely we are to develop cataracts
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Regular excessive drinking
  • Lifestyle factors – Poor diet & overexposure to sunlight (UV light)
  • Diabetes
  • Steroid medicines
  • Long-term use of statins and phenothiazine’s
  • Other eye conditions such as uveitis or iritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Previous eye injuries
  • Exposure to radiation from cancer treatments and X-rays

Over time, patients will develop symptoms that can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Cloudy, foggy or misty vision (frosted glass effect)
  • Difficulty reading and needing more light
  • Reduced colour intensity (colours are less bright and more faded)
  • Halos and glare around lights
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Yellowing of colours
  • Frequent changes in spectacle prescription

  • Enhanced vision – Clearer and sharper image detail and colours are brighter
  • Improved self-confidence and independence
  • Improved quality of life – Cataracts can cause people to become withdrawn from society and dependent on others
  • Better mental health – Signs of depression caused by the loss of independence triggered by cataracts are significantly reduced
  • Improves the chances of living longer – The Improvement in physical well being reduces the probability of falls and fractures
  • Life style benefits – Regaining the ability to read, work, drive, do sports and other social activities allows patients return back to a normal life and start new hobbies
  • Other eye problems can be treated, should you have such issues and your cataracts are interfering with the treatment of them
  • Cataracts can significantly hamper your ability to enjoy your day-to-day life. Such routine tasks as reading and driving can be out of bounds due to your cataracts.However, according to a 2013 study, people who have cataract surgery enjoy a 36% better quality of life as a result compared to people who don’t receive such surgery.This statistic sheds yet more light on why, if you are suffering from cataracts, you ought to seriously consider receiving cataract treatment from our London clinic. We are based on Harley Street, making us well within reach even for people in areas like Essex and Hertfordshire just outside the capital.There is an urgency to treating cataracts after they have started developing even though some cataracts might stop growing, they won’t get smaller in size without intervention. That intervention can come in the form of cataract eye surgery, which is a very common surgical procedure with

Treatments


The primary treatment for all types of cataracts is Cataract Surgery, which is the same procedure as Clear Lens Exchange procedure. At Advanced Vision Care, cataract surgery is bespoke as it is always tailored to the personal needs of every individual patient.

This procedure involves removing the cataract formed in the natural crystalline lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant to correct the vision. There are different types of intraocular lenses and the lens determines whether a patient will be completely glasses free.

Cataract treatment will take approximately 30 minutes per eye and each eye is treated separately over consecutive days. It is able to completely restore the sight loss caused by the cataract and is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the world, with over 300,000 performed in the UK every year.

It is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the safest treatments available in the world today. The only requirement to be suitable for treatment is to have a cataract, even if it has been just diagnosed and is in its early stages. However, if you do not have cataracts and want to correct your near, far and intermediate vision then Lens Exchange/Clear Lens Exchange could be an option.

When arriving at our cataract clinic in London on the day of surgery our friendly and experienced clinical team will guide you through every step of the way. The treatment will take less than 30 minutes per eye and each eye is treated individually, one day after the other.

  • Anaesthetic drops are used to numb the eye.
  • A sedative is given and the pupils are dilated using drops.
  • An eyelid guard is used to prevent blinking.
  • A micro incision is made at the edge of the cornea.
  • The phacoemulsification probe is used to break up and remove the cataract or natural lens.
  • The tailor-made intraocular lens is placed in the capsule where the natural lens used to be.
  • There is no need for stitches due to the micro incision being self-sealing.
  • Our specialist nurse will go through the precautions and medications that are needed to aid recovery.
  • Your aftercare will begin the next day with a check-up for the treated eye.

Piggy back lenses are designed for people that have already undergone Cataract surgery and were given Monofocal lenses (only correcting distance vision) but want to correct their remaining prescription to become completely free of visual aids.

This treatment will not disrupt or remove the artificial lens placed in your Cataract surgery, instead a second artificial lens (a Piggy back IOL) is inserted in the posterior sulcus which is located behind the coloured part of the eye and is in front of the lens capsule where the first artificial lens is situated.

Intraocular Lens Implants (IOLs)


Usually NHS providers only offer the basic type of intraocular lens (IOL) implants: Monofocal lenses which only correct distant vision. However, at AVC we only offer truly bespoke treatments and we provide you with intraocular lenses best suited to your needs. The type of lens that you will be suitable for is dependent on your lifestyle and visual needs and will be determined by your surgeon after a comprehensive consultation.

When multifocal IOLs were introduced, they were heralded as a means of improving both distance and near vision. However, with the nature of our work in this day and age, we continually demand better intermediate vision, and it could be argued that intermediate vision is even more crucial than near vision what with the use of computers, tablets, smart phones, etc. Trifocal IOLs are the latest generation of multifocal IOLs and improve vision across all spectrums, correcting all fields of vision; distant, near and intermediate, enabling our patients to be glasses free after cataract treatment at our London clinic.

Rest assured that Trifocal lenses do not work like varifocal glasses or multifocal contact lenses and adaptation is much easier and occurs completely naturally. These next generation multifocal IOLs offer a better quality of vision because the transmittance of light through the lens implant is extremely efficient, this improves intermediate vision with minimal glare and halos at night. Published reports indicate higher levels of patient satisfaction, better quality of vision (especially at night) and more freedom from glasses. Imagine having clear vision at all distances!

Here at AVC we use these revolutionary Trifocal lenses and because we have no affiliation with any lens manufacturers we are able to correct any prescription range and are renowned for being able to treat patients found unsuitable by other clinics.

Types of IOL Implants

We offer different types of IOLs, which can give you clear vision at different distances:

  • Monofocal: Available in both spherical and toric (for astigmatism) designs, this is single focus intraocular lens (IOL) which gives clear distance vision, and glasses are needed for reading and computer use.
  • Trifocal: Available in both spherical and toric (for astigmatism) designs, the layered concentric circular design corrects each prescription issue with each layer, enabling for simultaneous correction of near, distance and intermediate vision leaving patients completely glasses free.
  • Piggyback Trifocal: Available in both spherical and toric (for astigmatism) designs. This is the ideal lens for patients who have already had cataract surgery on the NHS and want to be free from varifocal or reading glasses.

Lenses Available at AVC

Advanced Vision Care is a completely independent surgeon led clinic and have no affiliation with any manufacturers or paid consultants enabling us to choose the best lenses to fit our patients’ visual and lifestyle needs. We have access to the three most widely used Trifocal (intraocular lenses) IOLs:

  • AT LISA (Carl Zeiss Meditec, Jena, Germany) – available in spherical and toric designs.
  • FineVision (PhysIOL, Liege, Belgium) – available in spherical and toric designs.
  • PanOptix (Alcon, Fort Worth, Texas) – available in spherical and toric designs.

We also provide to the two most commonly used Piggy back Trifocal lenses:

  • Sulcoflex (Rayner Intraocular Lenses, East Sussex, UK) – available in spherical and toric designs
  • Add-On (HumanOptics, Erlangen, Germany) – available in spherical and toric designs

Technology


This is used to capture a digital reference image of the eye during the initial assessment which is used to create a surgical plan. This equipment is also used throughout the treatment allowing the surgeon to see all incisions and alignments in real time, improving accuracy and minimising errors especially whilst correcting an astigmatism.

RLE / CLE and Cataracts Technology - The VERION Image Guided System

AVC is the first clinic in the UK to possess this equipment and it is the newest phacoemulsification system available (this breaks up and removes the natural lens). It allows for smaller incisions and is able to optimise every phase of the lens removal. The device also controls the intra-ocular pressure throughout the treatment and enhances the control of the surgeon, consequently improving the patient’s outcome and accelerating the recovery process.

CLE and Cataracts Technology - centurion vision system

The Lux-OR LX3 with Q-VUE Ophthalmic Microscope is designed to provide superior visualisation throughout the surgical procedure, this microscope is able to expand the visual field with a highly stable, 6x greater red reflex zone, providing excellent visual detail with superior visualisation of the retina.

CLE and Cataracts Technology - ophthalmic microscope

Insurance


At AVC, we have made our world class treatments more affordable by partnering with the UK’s leading health insurance providers. Claiming private Cataract treatment costs through health insurance is a convenient possibility. AVC enjoys worldwide recognition from both patients and healthcare professionals alike. We are approved as a BUPA accredited Cataract full pathway provider as well as working with several leading health insurance providers including:

BUPA, AVIVA, Allianz, Simply Health, AXA, CIGNA, The Exeter, WPA and many others

To find out if your policy covers your Cataract surgery at our London clinic, contact your health insurance provider.

Benefits of private Cataract surgery:

  • Intraocular Lens (IOL) choice – Your health insurance only covers a Monofocal lens implant (distance vision) but at AVC you have the option of upgrading to a Trifocal IOL (distance, intermediate and near vision)
  • You can have cataract surgery as soon as it is diagnosed – no long NHS waiting lists
  • Your quality of life is improved with early cataract surgery
  • You can carry on with day to day tasks such as driving, reading newspapers and using computers without any hindrance
  • A surgeon is present at every stage of your journey
  • You can rest assured that your surgeon is highly qualified and experienced. Collectively AVC’s world class surgeons have 75 years of experience.

AVC is a world leader in private Cataract surgery; we are one of the few clinics in the country to offer the new high-tech Alcon Suite and a range of lenses to treat people suffering from cataracts. The following surgeons have been approved by our health insurance partners for surgery at AVC:

Alex Shortt

Approved by

  • BUPA
  • AVIVA
  • Simply Health
  • Cigna
  • WPA
  • Allianz
  • The Exeter Friendly
  • AXA PPP

Mr Fadi Kherdaji

Approved by

  • BUPA
  • AVIVA
  • Simply Health
  • Cigna
  • WPA
  • Allianz
  • The Exeter Friendly

Mr Ajai Tyagi

Approved by

  • BUPA
  • AVIVA
  • Simply Health
  • Cigna
  • WPA
  • Allianz
  • The Exeter Friendly

Mr Saj Khan

Approved by

  • BUPA
  • AVIVA
  • Simply Health
  • Cigna
  • WPA
  • Allianz
  • AXA PPP
  • The Exeter Friendly

Price Guide


  • Consultation – £200* (non-refundable)
  • Monofocal Lens – £2950 per eye (deposit of £1250 per eye – deducted from final cost)
  • Monofocal Toric Lens – £3350 per eye (deposit of £1250 per eye – deducted from final cost)
  • Trifocal Lens – £3650 per eye (deposit of £1250 per eye – deducted from final cost)
  • Trifocal Toric Lens – £3950 per eye (deposit of £1250 per eye – deducted from final cost)
  • Complex cases – From £350 extra per eye
  • Private Consultation – £250* (non-refundable)

Our Cataract surgery package includes:

  • Cost of the surgery
  • 1 year aftercare including all check ups
  • 24 hour emergency phone service
  • 1 month supply of drops
  • Free fine tuning (if necessary) in the first year
  • Access to the largest independent optometrist network in the country

An annual follow up is advised once the aftercare program is completed (charged at £100 per visit)

* Fee includes comprehensive testing with the latest technology and the opportunity to meet with the AVC Medical Director and Lead Surgeon, Dr CT Pillai either at initial consultation or at a later date. We ensure everybody benefits from his expertise, has a definitive answer about suitability and is given a bespoke treatment plan.

Interest Free Finance

To make vision correction treatment more affordable, we provide flexible interest free finance plans. Using our flexible finance options, you can spread the cost of your surgery with interest free monthly repayments, meaning you don’t pay more than the actual cost of your surgery.

At AVC, we value flexibility and give our patients the option to pay a larger deposit to reduce the cost of the monthly repayments. We have partnered with Hitachi Finance to provide finance plans that are not only interest free but can be paid off early without being penalised.

From

£141.67 (per month)

12 months interest-free finance

is available starting from just £141.67 per month for complete treatment per eye, with a deposit of £1250 (APR 0%) per eye, subject to application. If you wish to pay a larger deposit, even lower monthly finance rates are available, all interest-free.

Your 4 step treatment plan


Our 5 star treatment is all about what is best for you

Prior to your consultation

Your first point of contact will be with AVC’s highly trained and knowledgeable patient coordinators.

Consultation

At AVC, we believe that it is essential to be selective to ensure that every patient has the best treatment to suit their visual and lifestyle needs which is why determining suitability is incredibly important.

Treatment

Unlike other eye clinics, AVC has both our laser and non-laser theatres under one roof, enabling you to be treated in one convenient location.

Aftercare

Your aftercare begins immediately after treatment when you are taken to the recovery room to relax and, when you are ready to leave, our specialist nurse will examine you before you go home.

Why Chose AVC for a Cataract treatment?


First Class Treatments

AVC was the first clinic in the UK to the have to the latest and most advanced non laser theatre in the UK; The Alcon Refractive Suite. Advanced Vision Care is one of the only clinics in the country to not have any affiliations with any manufacturers meaning we provide truly bespoke treatments with no hidden restrictions.

First Class Services

We provide our patients with the best possible care, and constantly surpass expectations. All appointments from the consultation to treatment and aftercare can be performed at the AVC clinic on Harley Street and for those that would prefer to have their check-ups closer to home we have the largest independent optometrist network in the country, so you can enjoy incredible aftercare at a more convenient location.

First Class Surgeons

Our world class non laser surgical team have over fifty years of combined experience, they are the world renowned Dr Goran Helgason and Professor Martin Filipec. These surgeons are supported by a handpicked team of highly experienced NHS consultants to treat our privately insured patients. AVC is a surgeon led clinic that is completely independent, no affiliations with any manufacturers enables our surgeons to choose the best to lenses for our patients visual and lifestyle needs.

FAQ's

Please scroll within the section faqs

The first successful lens or cataract surgery was performed by Sir Harold Ridley in 1949 and the procedure has an exceptionally high safety record developed over more than 60 years.

Cataract treatment is the most commonly performed eye procedure in the world and millions of operations are carried out every year. With the latest micro-incision phacoemulsification technology, no stitches are required and recovery is very quick. There are no injections as anesthetic drops are used instead.

The CLE procedure is virtually identical to cataract surgery. The only difference between the two is that a clear lens is removed in the CLE procedure and a cloudy lens is removed in cataract surgery.

A lifetime! Once the natural lens has been removed and replaced with a lens implant you will likely never require surgery again. The materials from which the lenses are made have been subject to accelerated ageing tests. Results have demonstrated that the lens material will last in excess of 150 years before showing signs of degradation.

A multifocal lens has more than one point of focus, enabling clear distance, intermediate and near vision. It has revolutionized the results of treatment and allows for patients’ to be completely free from all visual aids.

Patients that have Cataract treatment with the NHS are not given an option regarding lenses and are solely offered Monofocal lenses that will only correct distance vision, leaving you with a reading prescription. Piggyback lenses can be used to treat these patients and a secondary lens (Multifocal) is implanted to correct your reading vision.

No. The optical design is completely different to varifocal spectacles. Instead of you needing to move your head to adjust your focus, you will be able to comfortably see distance and near without having to make any changes. Layered concentric circles are used to correct each form of prescription issue allowing for simultaneous correction of all fields of vision.

AVC provide lenses from the following companies:

Suitability for treatment and the type of lens is determined at your consultation.

If you are unsuitable for Multifocal lenses then Piggyback lenses will not be an option. However, Monofocal lenses are available for those found unsuitable for Multifocal lenses and can undertake Clear Lens Exchange to correct their distance vision but glasses will be needed for near vision.

No pain is felt as anaesthetic drops are used to numb the eye. However, some discomfort or pressure can be felt during the procedure.

Most patients notice a difference to their vision immediately after the procedure. Distance vision is the first field of vision to settle, typically taking 24 to 48 hours. However, it can take a bit of time for your brain to adjust to your new reading vision.

You will be able to perform most everyday tasks the day after surgery without any difficulty but the amount of time needed off will vary according to each individual. Your working environment will also be taken into consideration and the surgeon will advise on what precautions should be taken at your consultation. If there is an interim period between both eyes being treated, it can affect how much time you may need to take off work.

There will be a few restrictions after treatment. For example, it is recommended that you avoid any situation where you may be hit in the eye, like playing sports. At your consultation, we will take into consideration your lifestyle and hobbies when recommending any restrictions.

There is a small risk of infection with these types of procedures. To minimise the risk, each eye will be treated on a separate day.

All our treatments are carried out at our AVC clinic on 77 Harley Street. AVC are one of the very few clinics in UK where everything from consultation to surgery and aftercare is conducted under one roof.

The procedure involves removing the natural lens where a cataract develops, eliminating the chance of developing cataracts in the future. If you currently have a cataract in one eye, this procedure will eliminate the chance of a cataract developing in the other eye. When you undergo CLE treatment, it means that you will never develop a cataract in either eye at any point in the future.

The implant is inside the eye so it cannot be felt, it will not feel like a contact lens and you will be completely unaware that it is there, apart from experiencing greatly improved vision.

Your initial assessment, treatment days, one day after surgery, the two week and the six to eight week aftercare appointments are all usually carried out at AVC’s Harley Street clinic. After this time we can hand you over to the care of one of our many nationwide independent optometrist partners, allowing you to stay closer to home for the remainder of the follow-up appointments.

Recommended by Leading Insurance Providers

"Having worn glasses and contact lenses for many years, my new lenses have given me such freedom and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to have this procedure."

Anne Brown

"I now have 20/20 sight (from approx. -8.00) and am extremely happy.
A big thank you to everyone at Advanced Vision Care."

Phil Scott

"My vision has improved by the day. I have so much more confidence in myself and it’s all thanks to the surgery and people behind it. I could not be more happier."

Marium Hussain

"I couldn’t have picked a better clinic to take care of me and my eyes, and would like to thank everyone of you for making this happen. I have been recommending AVC even before the surgery and will continue to do so."

Sinduja Chandrapalan

See the world as it's meant to be seen.

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