Cataract and corrective lens exchange

At Spire Elland Hospital in Elland, West Yorkshire, specialist eye surgeons carry out private cataract removal and premium lens implant surgery to patients from Huddersfield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Bradford and surrounding areas.

Premium service at a premium private hospital in your area

Vision correction using premium lens implants is available to self-paying patients and you don't need an optician or GP referral to see one of our specialist eye surgeons. If you have private medical insurance and your insurer has agreed to fund your cataract surgery, they may allow you to pay a top-up to have premium vision correction lens implants.

Your eye is very similar to a camera. Inside the eye there is a lens which sits behind the pupil.  The eye’s ability to focus depends on three main factors: the shape of the cornea (which is known as the “window of the eye”, the clarity and thickness of the crystalline lens inside the eye and the axial length of the eye.  Refractive errors can occur with any abnormality of these ocular components.

These include:

  • myopia (short-sightedness) where objects in the distance appear blurred or out of focus
  • hyperopia (long-sightedness) which affects people’s ability to see objects close to them;
    long-sightedness often becomes more noticeable after the age of 40 and this is known as presbyopia
  • cataracts are also increasingly common with age and are cloudy patches in the lens of the eye which can make vision blurred or misty 

Cataract removal involves taking out the cloudy lens in your eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial intraocular lens(IOL) to restore vision. The cataract removal procedure most commonly performed is known as phacoemulsification (cataract removal using ultrasound). 
Lens exchange (clear lens exchange / refractive lens exchange) can also be performed to eliminate the need for distance and near glasses or contact lenses. The procedure is similar to cataract removal. This type of lens exchange is generally most suitable for people over 45 years of age, who are already wearing reading glasses and whose prescription is outside the treatable range of laser eye surgery.

About premium lenses

Traditional IOLs used during cataract surgery are monofocal, meaning they offer vision at only one distance (usually aimed for far vision). This means that you are likely to still need reading glasses for close up work. 

IOLs are considered premium when they offer benefits that are unavailable in conventional IOLs.  Such benefits include, for example, correction of vision at multiple distances or correction for existing astigmatism (a minor and common condition that causes blurred vision).

About cataract and refractive lens exchange surgery

Before the operation
Before the operation, eye drops are given to dilate (widen) your pupil. This makes it easier for your surgeon to access and remove the lens inside your eye. You won’t be able to see out of your eye as it is being treated, but you may be aware of light and movement. This is normal, and to be expected.

During the operation
You will be asked to lie on a theatre table. Local anaesthetic eye drops will be put into your eye initially to numb the outer surface. A local anaesthetic is then injected to the back of the eye. This occasionally will feel like a deep pressure sensation behind the eye, which passes quickly.  Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, your surgeon will make a tiny incision on the cornea and use an ultrasound probe to break up the lens. The fragments are removed with a fine tube and a new lens is inserted. This usually takes 5 to 10 minutes.

After the operation
Immediately after the operation your eye may be covered with a protective pad. You may need to wear this for a few hours. It is normal to have  slightly blurry vision for a few days afterwards. Your eye may also ache, but this generally settles down within a few days. There is a slight possibility that your eyelid or eye will be bruised, but again this should settle over a few days.

How safe is it?
Cataract removal and refractive lens exchange is one of the most commonly performed operations and is generally safe. However as with all operations, it carries risks. Possible complications are listed below – in rare cases these can lead to reduced vision or blindness.

  • Heavy bleeding inside your eye. This may require further surgery.
  • Severe infection inside the eye. This may require antibiotic treatment.  
  • Tearing of the supporting capsule behind the lens.  
  • Lens dislocation. This may require further surgery.  
  • Posterior capsular opacification – when the supporting capsule behind the lens thickens, resulting in reduced vision. The condition develops in up to one in five people within five years of cataract removal.  Simple laser treatment can be used to correct this.

The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. Your surgeon will explain in more detail how any risks apply to you.

Why should I consider having surgery at a Spire hospital?

Whether you have medical insurance or are paying for your treatment yourself, with Spire Healthcare you will be seen quickly by the consultant-grade doctor of your choice at a time that suits you. You will be treated in a premium private hospital with some of the UK's highest standards of cleanliness and infection control.

See a short video about Ophthalmology at Spire Elland


Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

For more information call our Self Pay Adviser01422 324069

Meet our Consultant Ophthalmologists
who offer corrective lens exchange surgery

Come to our free open evening on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 to find out more about corrective lens surgery.
Tel. 01422 324069 to book a place.

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)