CATARACT SURGERY PATHWAY
Example Patient Journey
Referral and Assessment
Referral agreed during sight test at your opticians, which is sent on to the Cataract Referral Service.
If appropriate the referral will be sent on to us (N2S). You will receive a letter with a booking reference from the Cataract Referral Service, usually giving you a date to contact us on if you haven’t heard from us in two weeks.
Your referral is received and registered on the N2S waiting list.
Patients with a mobile number/email address will receive an acknowledgement and an indication of waiting times at this point (wait times are on the homepage and updated when necessary).
Due to the amount of patients waiting we can only reschedule your appointment once, so please do try and make any necessary arrangements to attend. Only you (the patient) will be allowed to enter the practice, unless agreed prior due to care needs.
An OCT scan of the back of your eye will be performed. They will put some drops into your eyes to dilate your pupil, which will allow our optometrist to get a good view of your cataracts and retina.
You will then go through and see the optometrist/ophthalmic nurse, who will check the condition of your cataracts and eye health in general. The purpose of this check is to make sure your cataracts meet the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) criteria and confirm that there isn’t anything else potentially affecting your vision. At this point your eyes will be measured for a new lens, and a surgery date will be set (usually within 2-4 weeks, depending on surgeon availability). If your cataracts are not ready for extraction, or should they not be the reason for your limited vision, we will write to both your GP and optician to let them know.
You will be given some eye drops to take away, which are to be used on the day of your procedure to start dilating your pupil one hour before you are due to attend. Instructions are provided.
You will receive a letter in the lead up to your surgery (approx. one week beforehand) with the instructions for the day.
On the day of surgery you will be given an arrival time. We are monitoring the amount of patients we have in the practice carefully, so please do not arrive any earlier than 10 minutes before your stated arrival time as you will be turned away. Your temperature will be checked, and at this point you may be asked to leave should your temperature be above 37.5°C.
You will be escorted upstairs to the waiting area, where a member of the theatre team will check how dilated your pupil is and put in some more drops in preparation for the procedure. They will mark your eye and ensure anything of note (allergies, relevant health issues etc) is made clear for the surgeon. You will have another OCT scan before surgery.
Afterwards a member of the theatre team will collect you and perform a post-operative check to make sure everything seems to be okay. You will be given eye drops and several documents to take away with you: a guide for post-operative care with a diary to keep track of your drops, a certificate of exemption for wearing a face mask for two weeks after surgery (to avoid your breath going into your healing eye – example not provided to avoid abuse), and a form to take to your optician once you’ve healed and are ready for a new prescription which is usually six weeks after surgery. You are then free to go home.
Some patients will be offered a face-to-face post-op appointment; those with certain medical issues, complex procedures or memory problems. This will be discussed on the day of your procedure and a time and date agreed.