Cataract Surgery

Discover cloud and cataract-free clearer vision.

Wellington Eye Centre is proud to offer dedicated cataract surgery to help restore the vision of those suffering from cataracts. Safe, painless, fast & effective, the modern methods we use have a high success rate.

Cataract surgery is the most common eye operation and one of the most common surgical procedures performed in New Zealand today. We have well-established processes in place to help you safely and comfortably through your cataract surgery, from the initial assessment, through to the expert surgery and post-operative care.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. A normal lens is clear and lets light pass to the back of the eye. If the lens becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract. Over time, it may become cloudier, making it harder to see.

Find out more about the causes and symptoms of cataracts as well as their diagnosis.

How are cataracts treated?

Cataracts can’t be permanently treated with medication, eye exercises, alternative therapy, diet, or glasses. The symptoms of early cataracts may be improved with new prescription glasses, better lighting or effective sunglasses.

Once cataracts progress however, surgery is the only effective treatment option. Cataract surgery is usually recommended when cataracts cause impairment of vision to an extent that daily activities are affected.

The cataract surgery procedure

Cataract surgery is a fast procedure that involves our eye surgeon removing the cloudy lens, and replacing it with an artificial lens implant. The artificial lens is called an intraocular lens implant (IOL) and it’s a transparent disc with a shape similar to your natural lens. This artificial lens which replaces the cataract can be of any power and may be used to correct any previous optical prescriptions (such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism). 

The eye is carefully measured prior to surgery so that the appropriate sized intraocular lens can be selected.  There are now a range of intraocular lenses available and your surgeon will be able to advise which is best suited for your needs.

Previous laser eye surgery will be taken into account at this time if it is needed. The aim of surgery is to restore vision as much as possible. 

Generally patients undergoing cataract surgery will have a single focus implant that provides clear vision at one point – usually distance.  This means that reading glasses will still be required after surgery.

IOL Variations

Toric IOL’s are also available to help those with significant astigmatism where a single focus lens will not allow for clear vision without spectacles at distance.

Multifocal IOL’s are available to reduce the need for readers after surgery. The lenses provide a clear image for both distance and near, which means majority of multifocal patients have a significantly reduced dependency on glasses for their daily visual needs.  

Cataract surgery is most commonly performed as a day-stay procedure. It is usually carried out under a local anaesthetic though in rare cases general anaesthetic may be recommended.  We use a surgical technique called phacoemulsification to remove the cataract.

How long does cataract surgery take?

Cataract surgery is usually performed as a day procedure under local anaesthetic, which means you’ll go home the same day as you have your surgery. Your total time in hospital is around three hours.

It takes only 20-30 minutes to remove the cataract and your vision recovers quickly.

If cataracts affect both of your eyes, we’ll usually wait until the first eye has healed before operating on the second eye – this normally takes one week.

How much does cataract surgery cost?

The total cost of cataract surgery is usually split three ways:

  • A hospital or facility fee where the surgery is performed

  • A surgeon’s fee

  • An anaesthetist’s fee

Costs will vary depending on what type of surgery and which lens implant you require. Each treatment plan is customised to your needs, so contact us to organise a consultation with our eye specialist to devise a treatment plan that is right for you. Our staff will provide you with a summary of surgery costs when you have this initial consultation. We are a Southern Cross affiliated practice.

Is cataract surgery right for me?

You have plenty of time to decide about cataract surgery – a cataract doesn’t need to be removed immediately. But if your vision has deteriorated to the point that it affects your work and lifestyle (including driving, reading and hobbies), it’s time to consider cataract surgery.

Having a consultation with us allows you to meet with an eye surgeon who’ll help you decide if cataract surgery is the best option for you. Some pre-existing conditions may affect the results and increase the risks of cataract surgery, if these apply to you this will be discussed with you at the time of this consultation. We’ll tell you what the process involves and give you brochures to take away to help you make a decision.

Is cataract surgery safe?

The success rate of cataract surgery is extremely high, with over 95% of cases achieving a good result. Although rare, complications can occur just like with any surgery. If you have any concerns at all after surgery you should consult your specialist immediately.

What happens after cataract surgery?

You’ll be seen by the surgeon the day after surgery, and then again at one week and  one month after you have had your cataract removed.

Recovery is usually quick. Soon after surgery, most people notice that their vision has improved, although glasses are still needed for reading in many cases.

Usually you can enjoy your usual activities and exercise in moderation a few days after the operation. After the eye has healed and adjusted to the intraocular lens for several weeks, your eye will need to be tested again. You may find you need glasses and be given a new glasses prescription.

Can cataracts be cured completely?

Yes. It is not possible to get another cataract once it has been removed. However, approximately 10% of patients may become aware of a gradual blurring of vision some months to even years after the surgery as a result of the thickening of the lens capsule that supports your IOL. If this occurs clear vision is often simply restored by laser treatment, called a capsulotomy, which can be done during a short visit to the clinic.

Contact us today if you have any questions about the cataract surgery process or wish to book an initial consultation. Our friendly team are happy to help create the best treatment plan for you.