For Patients Ophthalmology

A Conversation with Shafiq Rehman on Cataract Surgery, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Optegra Eye Healthcare

Doctify is proud to partner with excellence-seeking healthcare partners and deliver thoughtfully-created conversations to inform those who seek reliable information about various medical conditions and their treatments. In today’s post, we will scrutinize Cataract Surgery with Shafiq Rehman, who is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Optegra Eye Healthcare in the UK. 

Why Cataract Surgery?

One of the most performed eye surgeries, cataract surgery is the answer to general vision decline, dazzle from car lights, sunlight dazzle and changing spectacle prescriptions. “If vision is reduced and has an impact on a patient’s ability to perform daily tasks, then it is quite plausible that they are suitable for cataract surgery.” says Dr. Rehman. Whilst a consultation with an optometrist is often the first stage in establishing a diagnosis, another consultation with an Ophthalmologist is consequently required to confirm that the changes to vision are definitely connected to cataract by ruling out other possibilities. It is only possible for the patient to arrive at a fully informed decision after this discussion with their Ophthalmologist.

Choosing the Right Method 

Turning our attention to the methods, the established method of cataract surgery in the UK is a process called ‘phacoemulsification’. Dr Rehman stresses that this is an incredibly refined and safe method of removing the cataract through a very small incision, the technique has evolved significantly over the past thirty years. In fact, it is a swift and highly effective means of cataract surgery, provided that it is performed by experienced hands. Patients may be surprised to find out that many surgeons will routinely perform this operation using nothing more than anaesthetic eye drops and patients report little to no discomfort. On the other hand, “laser assisted” cataract surgery remains rather controversial. This stems from the fact that it is debated whether laser assisted surgery offers superior outcomes to manual surgery. 

Choosing the best type of anaesthesia for each patient is a decision made by the Ophthalmologist, Dr. Rehman notes that whilst it is very uncommon nowadays, general anaesthesia is an option for patients with co-morbidities such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease or severe anxiety disorders which may interfere with local anaesthesia. At his practice, he treats around 99.8% of his patients without general anaesthesia or injections. 

Regarding the duration of this surgery, did you know that cataract surgery takes around 10-15 minutes to complete by experienced hands? 

Outcomes: What to Expect?

There are a myriad of options to enhance the outcome in a cataract surgery. Traditionally, the approach was to offer a single type of lens implant called a “monofocal” lens implement for every cataract patient and that is still the standard of care in NHS eye care services today. Over the past twenty years, significant developments have taken place in lens implant technology. Namely, toric lens implants can assist in the correction of Astigmatism, a condition which is seen in over 40% of patients to some extent. Moreover, multifocal and extended depth of focus lens implants deliver excellent results in improving eyesight with very little or no need of spectacles required after the procedure. 

Despite significant technological and procedural progress in this field, Dr. Rehman regrets that many patients are unaware of the wide range of customised options that they can access nowadays. In fact, if you are reading this article, you may want to ask your Ophthalmologist about the enhanced vision correction options that are available to you! 

Risk Factors

Evidently, no medical treatment or surgery is without any risks. However, it is primordial to understand that risk can be managed and controlled, hence minimised. In expert hands, it is established that over 99.5% of cataract surgeries will take place without any significant complications. 

In fact, serious problems such as infection(endophthalmitis) are becoming more rare at rates typically at around 0.02% provided that meticulous surgery meets excellent adherence to infection control protocols. 

Pricing Options 

At Optegra Eye Healthcare, the price range is from £1995 per procedure for rapid access cataract assessment and treatment with monofocal lens implants and up to £3495 per procedure for fully-customised Refractive cataract surgery with multifocal/extended focus style lens implants. 

It is important to note that the costs associated with cataract surgery vary in accordance with the specific type of intraocular lens implant selected. For instance, monofocal lens implants are much less costly than advanced multifocal, extended focus or toric lens implants. 

Lastly, patients should certainly ask about the degree of senior supervision if they are having cataract treatment in the NHS. While having a trainee Ophthalmologist is acceptable, it is best to have careful supervision by an experienced consultant. 

Lastly, Dr. Rehman underscores that patients should benefit from the wealth of resources available online to research their surgeon and their institution to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable with both. 

Thank you for reading this blog post co-authored by Doctify UK and Optegra Eye Healthcare. For more information on Ophthalmologists providing cataract surgery and to read verified patient reviews on this condition and treatment, visit www.doctify.com


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