Cataract Surgery
Including laser assisted cataract surgery

So what exactly happens during cataract surgery?

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the world - David Gartry has performed over 15,000 cataract operations and is also at the forefront of the femto laser assisted cataract surgery procedure.

cataract surgery


Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. The artificial lens is known as an ‘IOL’ (Intraocular Lens) – there are several different types of IOLs that suit various purposes and they are tailored specifically to the individual patient. The removal of the cloudy lens is a two part process – firstly a small incision is made. If you are having femto-laser assisted cataract surgery, this is carried out in the theatre housing our femtosecond laser. If not, the incision will be made manually, by the surgeon, in the main operating theatre. Once the incisions have been made, ultrasound energy is applied at high frequency with an electronic probe that is inserted through the narrow incision. The probe first liquefies, and then washes out, the natural lens. This process is known as phakoemulsification (or phako for short).

After this the artificial lens is inserted through the same incision and unfolded within the lens capsule. The surgeon positions the lens to focus light clearly onto the retina. No stitches are required afterwards as the incision is self-healing. The procedure is comfortable for patients as very little is felt during surgery. David Gartry will explain what is happening as he performs the cataract surgery and the nursing staff will be there at all times to reassure you throughout. After the artificial lens is inserted the procedure is complete.

The Procedure

On the day of surgery you are discharged with a plastic shield over the eye and depending on what type of anaesthetic is used (topical or local), you may also have a patch under the shield. The majority of patients now have topical (drops) anaesthetic and mild sedation which means that they can see reasonably well immediately through the transparent plastic shield. The shield and patch are removed the following morning and the shield only is retained and used only for sleeping for the first week.

On removing the patch the day after surgery, you will find your eye will still be dilated. More so for patients having femto laser as more dilation drops are used just prior to surgery with this technique. The patient’s vision often shows immediate improvement. It is standard to treat each eye separately, with the second eye being done a week later. On each visit you will be in the hospital for around 4-5 hours. Cataract surgery can be life changing where blurry vision is replaced by clear sight and enhanced colour and definition.