Planning Your Treatment (RLE)

RLE/Cataract Surgery is routine and straightforward, taking around 10 minutes, and is normally performed under local anaesthetic. We do not usually operate on both eyes at the same session, and there is no overnight stay. For patients requiring surgery to both eyes, we typically schedule the operations one week apart on successive Friday and Thursday evenings (alternating weeks), with admission in the early afternoon for the first eye, and late afternoon for the second, to allow time to measure the eye for correct IOL selection (biometry when not already performed) and other preparatory steps.

Surgery is virtually painless, and there is little discomfort afterwards. In most cases, patients can expect to see quite well within just 1-2 days of surgery. Aftercare is simple (just eye drops, 4 times per day) and there are few restrictions on activity.

Time off work

Although visual recovery after RLE/cataract surgery is rapid, we advise few days off work after each procedure. This is not obligatory, and provided you are able to put eye drops in 4 times per day, a return to work on the Monday after surgery (if necessary) will not damage the eye. Dusty environments and should be avoided for 1 week after surgery. Patients undergoing refractive lens exchange, or cataract patients, who were dependent on distance glasses prior to surgery, will have difficulty obtaining balanced vision in spectacles in the week between having the first and second eye operations.

The alternatives for this stage are: wearing a contact lens in the un-operated eye, or leaving one eye relatively blurred (simply removing one spectacle lens will create problems with unequal image size) or if you wear contact lenses this can be inserted in the non-operated eye for balancing. Once the second eye is treated, there is normally a swift return of balanced vision.

Minimum time in the UK for patients coming from abroad

For RLE/cataract patients coming from overseas, we recommend a minimum of 1 week in the UK. An initial consultation should be scheduled on the Wednesday prior to surgery. For patients having both eyes treated, it is normally considered safe to fly out after a review consultation the week after surgery on the second eye. However, further follow-ups locally are recommended.

Other limitations on activity

You can be as active as you like (within common sense) after modern RLE/cataract surgery. Bending over and lifting weights are no problem, and flying is permissible from the 2 days after surgery. The main limitations are as follows.

  • No swimming for 3 weeks after surgery, and no eye make-up for 5 days after surgery.
  • Avoid gym/running /exercising for 5 days after surgery.
  • Wear the protective plastic clear shield provide after surgery for one week.
  • Driving is fine, as long as you meet the legal minimum driving standard of vision (reading a car number plate at a distance of 20 metres). If you are in doubt, Mr Maurino will check that your vision meets this standard. Driving with good vision in only one eye (between operations) is not illegal, but your depth perception may be affected and you should exercise extreme caution until you feel confident, and drive short distances by day in familiar surroundings before branching out.