Frequently asked questions…

Please find below answers to some of the more commonly asked questions, but if you’d like to ask something that is not covered here, please do get in touch. 

frequently asked questions
Can I drive to my appointment?

Most outpatient appointments involve you having your eyes dilated (your pupil made wider so that we can see inside your eye more clearly). The effects of these drops can take some time to wear off and your vision will be blurry in the meantime, so please do not drive yourself to your appointment. Your family/friends/carer is also welcome to wait in the reception area or they can drop you off and we’ll give them a call when you’re ready for picking up.

Do I need to bring anything to my appointments?

You’ll need to bring the following with you for this appointment:

  • All your current glasses
  • A recent copy of your current glasses prescription if you have one.
  • A printed list of your current medications from your GP
  • A record book (if you’re diabetic or taking Warfarin) and a contact number of a relative/friend.
  • If you wear contact lenses these should not be worn for at least 48 hours before your appointment.
How do I arrange a consultation to see someone?

If you would like an appointment convenient for you, please call us on 020 3137 3237 or fill in the online form to request a call back.

How long will my pre-operative assessment appointment take?

Your appointment will last about 1.5 hours (and includes about 20 minutes to allow your pupils to dilate). We will examine your eyes and conduct a sight test to check the quality of your vision and give you instructions on how to prepare for your operation and check that you are fit for the operation.

Can I still have surgery if I have a cough or cold?

If you have a cold or are unwell, you should not proceed with surgery. We can always arrange it for another date. During the surgery it is important to remain as still as possible and most of our patients don’t find this an issue. If you need to move, sneeze or cough for example, that’s fine, just let us know so that the surgery can be paused to allow you to cough – just think of it like the dentist where you have to keep your head still for a few minutes. And, as a matter of fact, many of our patients have said that they found cataract surgery a much better experience than going to their dentists! If you cannot control your cough your GP may be able to prescribe something that will help suppress it.

I’m taking antibiotics can I still have surgery?

Please inform us if you are taking antibiotics, in some cases long term antibiotics will not stop you from having surgery. However, if you have an active infection, your surgery should be rebooked until you are better.

Can I have a general anaesthetic?

The majority of cataract surgery is performed using a local anaesthetic, which is administered by eye drops, which numb the eye. This means there are no needles or injections!

My blood pressure is high can I still have surgery?

If your blood pressure is too high, we may not be able to precede with surgery on that day and you will be advised to see your GP for further management.

What do I do if I run out of eye drops?

Your drops should last for the prescribed course. If you do run out just let us know so that you can pick up a prescription from us or your own GP. A letter will be posted to your GP to let them know the details of your eye surgery, but it may be worth taking your drop bottle and eye drop booklet when meeting with them.

Can I use lubricating drops?

Your eyes may feel especially dry or gritty after cataract surgery, and you may want to use lubricating eye drops, which you can get from your optician or local chemist. Remember to leave at least 5 minutes between using the two different types of drops.

If you already use ‘artificial’ tears medication please use a new, unopened bottle following surgery.

How long do I have to wear my eye shield for?

The most important thing following surgery is to protect the eye from infection and so it is important not to rub or touch the eye.

The eye shield should stay on for the day and night following surgery and it is designed for you to be able to sleep with it on. This can be removed in the morning, the day after surgery, but should be put back on before you go to sleep for the next seven nights, using micropore tape. Remember to wash your hands every time you remove and replace your shield.

Can I bend?

It’s OK to bend down for a short while eg while tying shoes, but prolonged periods of bending should be avoided.

When can I exercise?

You should aim to keep any sport activities or exercise to a minimum for the two weeks following surgery – it’s OK to resume these after this time

When can I go swimming?

Please do NOT swim until after you have attended your post-operative appointment and your eye has been checked. We recommend you wear goggles if swimming within one month of surgery.

When can I do my gardening?

You should NOT garden until after your post-operative appointment.

When can I have a drink?

It’s OK to drink alcohol following surgery, UNLESS you had a sedative for surgery, in which case you should wait 24 hours before having a drink.

When can I wear makeup?

You should NOT wear any eye make-up for 3 weeks.

When can I go on holiday/fly?

It’s OK to fly one week following surgery, but we would recommend you wait if you can until after your post-operative appointment.

When can I go back to work?

If your workplace is dust free with no physical activity then you can return to work one week after surgery. If this is not the case then you should wait two weeks before returning to work. Please let us know if you require a doctor’s ‘fit’ note to give to your employer if you need to be off work longer than one week.

When can I read/watch television?

It’s OK for you to read and watch television following surgery – your vision may be a little blurred for the first few days.

When can I cook?

If you’re feeling OK it’s fine for you to do everyday activities, like cooking, pretty much straightaway when you get home. Just be cautious if your vision is blurry with handling hot objects and liquids etc.

When can I have a bath or shower?

It’s OK to have showers and/or baths, but keep your eyes closed or shower from the neck down to avoid splashing water in the eye.

When can I wash my hair?

Back wash your hair for the first week. This is to avoid getting soap or shampoo into the eye. If you can use a mild or baby shampoo, avoid getting soap in your eye and don’t rub the eye.

Can I be intimate with my partner?

We would recommend avoiding sex for 2 weeks.

When can I drive? And can I drive to and from my follow up appointment?

The purpose of your post-op appointment is to check your eye health and test your vision following surgery. Several eye tests will be conducted, with your appointment lasting about 1.5 to 2 hours (which includes about 40 minutes to allow your pupils to dilate).

Dilating the eyes causes blurred vision and sensitivity to light, so you won’t be able to drive; so it’s important to make sure you organise a lift or arrange transport to/from the hospital.

I take warfarin do you need to know my reading?

Please let us know at your pre assessment appointment if you are on warfarin. You must continue your warfarin, inform your anticoagulation clinic, and obtain an INR result within a week of surgery.

My warfarin INR is out of range can I still have surgery?

If your INR is out of range, please inform your anticoagulation clinic, and contact us so that we can rebook your cataract surgery for a later date.