National Eye Health Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of eye health. This year, it will run from the 20th to 26th September, and the focus is on the importance of regular vision checks.

Your eyes can reveal a surprising insight into your overall health. There are also several conditions that you need to watch out for if you want to protect your vision. Here, we’ll look at why regular vision checks are essential.

Why are regular vision checks important?

Currently, it is estimated that there are around 2 million people living with significant sight loss in the UK. Around half of these cases could have been prevented with regular vision checks.

Vision checks help to detect any potential eye problems early on, like glaucoma. They can also prove useful at detecting other health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In rare cases, opticians can also spot signs of cancer through vision tests. So, these checks aren’t just important for your eyesight – they could also potentially save your life.

Nobody wants to suffer from poor vision. However, few people spend time caring for their eyes. Undergoing a vision check is fast and painless and it could prove invaluable at protecting your sight. So, how does a vision check work?

What happens during a vision check?

Vision checks usually take up to 30 minutes and they can involve various tests. A pressure check will be conducted to look for signs of glaucoma. You will also need to read letters shown on a chart with several lenses. This helps to determine whether you need glasses or contact lenses.

The inside of your eye will also be assessed. Sitting very close to you, the optician will shine a bright light into the eye via an ophthalmoscope. You will be asked to look in different directions as this is done.

Once the tests have been completed, the results will be discussed with you. If anything has been detected, you will be told how you can fix it. That could be wearing glasses or booking an appointment with your doctor for further tests.

Top tips for maintaining good eye health

If you want to avoid losing your vision, there are some preventative measures you can take. Looking after your eye health is quite simple. Did you know you can start by making some dietary changes?

Foods such as leafy greens, eggs, and oily fish, contain antioxidants that are beneficial in eye health. You can also protect your vision with regular exercise. This is because exercise can help to prevent the hardening of the arteries, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Avoiding excessive drinking, smoking, and protecting your eyes from the sun are also great tips to follow.

Overall, getting regular vision checks is vital for your eyesight. You should also take the time to look after your eye health to reduce the chances of developing any vision-related issues.

When you have cataracts, it can be hard to carry out even the simplest of daily activities. The only way to successfully treat the condition is through surgery. The question many patients have, though, is how much will cataract surgery improve my vision? Here, you’ll discover the type of results you can expect when you undergo cataract surgery.

What is cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery aims to remove the cloudy lens, replacing it with a synthetic one. The procedure takes around 10-20 minutes to complete, and you’ll need to stay and rest for up to two hours afterward.
The eye is numbed before the surgery begins. After the cloudy lens has been replaced, a bandage will be placed over the eye.

How long will it take to see an improvement?

Most patients will see a return to clear vision after the surgery. How long it takes for the vision to clear, however, can vary. Many patients will report seeing clearly after just a few hours. For some, though, it can take up to two weeks to notice a full improvement.

You will typically attend a follow-up appointment a week after the procedure to ensure it is healing properly. If you are experiencing any side effects, it is important to mention this to the surgeon during your follow-up routine.

Could I still have blurry vision after cataract surgery?

While cataract surgery restores the vision in most patients, occasionally the vision may remain blurry. If you have undergone the procedure and you are experiencing blurry vision, it could be down to posterior capsule opacification (PCO).
PCO is otherwise referred to as a secondary cataract. It develops due to epithelial cells obstructing the capsule which holds the intraocular lens (IOL) in place. This causes blurry vision.

If you develop PCO, it can be treated with YAG laser capsulotomy. This will usually be performed three months after the initial procedure.

The importance of cataract surgery aftercare

One thing that can impact how quickly your eyesight clears up after surgery is aftercare. Your surgeon will give you strict post-surgery instructions you should follow. These are designed to speed up the healing process, giving you the most comfortable recovery.

It’s important to avoid rubbing your eyes, and you’ll also need to avoid getting them wet. If you are venturing outdoors, you may wear dark, protective glasses if the bright light is uncomfortable.

It’s common to feel some side effects after the surgery. The eyes may have a gritty, sensitive feeling, and you may experience blurry or double vision for a few days. Ideally, you’ll avoid strenuous activity for a few days. This gives the body plenty of time to rest and recover.

Cataract surgery is a very successful procedure to help patients regain their vision. Provided you follow the aftercare instructions provided, you should see a return to your vision within two weeks of the procedure.

For more advice on cataract surgery, call us on 020 3953 4999 to arrange a consultation.

Cataract surgery is carried out successfully on millions of people each year. However, as with any form of surgery, there are potential complications to be aware of.

Mr Zaid Shalchi will go over your specific risk factors and complications during the initial consultation. It is important to remember that even if a complication is common, it may not produce serious adverse effects.

Here, we will address some of the most common cataract surgery complications that can occur during or after the procedure.

What could go wrong during a cataract procedure?

Generally speaking, the chances of something going wrong during a cataract surgery is around 5%. The most common intraoperative complications include:

  • Vitreous loss
  • Zonule dialysis
  • Iris injury
  • Issues with the incision
  • Corneal abrasion

Vitreous loss occurs in approximately 2% of patients. It happens when there is an issue with either the zonules, or capsular bag of the eye. If the vitreous jelly is pushed forward, an anterior vitrectomy will need to be performed. This complication is linked to an increased risk of additional complications post-surgery.

Zonule dialysis and iris injury both have a 0.5% incidence rate. With zonule dialysis, the fibres which support the cataract are weakened. This can make it difficult to implant the intraocular lens. If an iris injury occurs, it can lead to impaired function of the pupil, post-operative inflammation, or glaucoma.

Around 0.3% of patients experience issues with the incision. While not a serious issue, you may need a couple of stitches if an issue does occur. Then, finally, a corneal abrasion occurs in 0.2% of patients. This is basically a scratch on the surface of the corneal. It should heal quickly, with any discomfort and pain fading after 24 to 48 hours.

These are just some of the complications which could arise, though each has a low incidence rate.

Understanding post-surgery complications

Complications may also arise after the surgery has taken place. Some are common, while others are quite rare. These potential complications include:

  • Inflammation
  • Posterior capsule opacification
  • Glaucoma
  • Ptosis
  • Vision loss

Inflammation occurs in 100% of cases. This is a natural side effect of any surgery. To control it, you will be given eye drops and it will resolve itself, typically within a week. Rarely will inflammation become chronic after cataract surgery.

Approximately 30% of people will also suffer with posterior capsule opacification. This causes blurry vision, and it occurs when there is scarring around the implanted lens. A simple laser treatment is usually enough to correct the issue.

You may develop glaucoma temporarily after the procedure. This is mostly short-lived, but in very rare cases it can become a long-term problem. Ptosis is another common complication, causing the upper eyelid to droop. It may require surgery to correct it, though most cases clear up by themselves.

As you can see, there are several complications to be aware of when you are considering cataract surgery. However, the good news is that serious complications are rare, and the majority of patients enjoy a successful procedure.

Cataract develops in the natural lens of the eye, causing it to become cloudy. When this occurs, it can lead to significant problems with the eyesight. To correct the problem, cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens, replacing it with an artificial one.

Generally speaking, cataract surgery is a straightforward procedure with relatively low risks. In order to ensure the surgery is effective, there are some things you’ll need to do prior to the procedure. Here, you will discover some of the best ways to prepare for cataract surgery to guarantee the optimal outcome.

Medical conditions and medications

You will need to let Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Zaid Shalchi know of any pre-existing medical conditions you have and medications you are taking. Most conditions won’t affect your ability to undergo the procedure, but you may need to monitor certain medications beforehand. On the day of the surgery and during recover, take all your usual medication as normal.

You may also need to undergo several tests to ensure you are suitable for the procedure. A complete ocular examination will be carried out which includes checking for existing conditions which may increase the likelihood of an infection, as well as assessing the anatomy of the eye

Prepare to succeed

It’s best to avoid drinking for 24 hours before your surgery. Alcohol can dehydrate the eyes, but also affect certain medications that you’ll be given during or after surgery.

You’ll be advised to shower and wash your hair before you come in for the operation, as you should not get your eye area wet for two weeks afterwards.

Another important piece of cataract surgery preparation advice is to avoid wearing make-up for at least 24 hours before your operation to avoid any irritation of the eyes. After surgery, you will be advised not to wear eye make-up for a few weeks.

Get your house in order

After cataract surgery, you will be advised to rest for at least a few days. However, the full recovery will take anything from two to six weeks. As you won’t be able to carry out normal activities, it will help to get your house in order before the procedure.

Making sure the home is clean, tidy and uncluttered is a good idea. This will allow you to fully relax when you return home. You can also plan meals in advance, so you won’t have to cook.

Consider rearranging your furniture to provide more space to manoeuvre or planning where you may sleep for the first few days especially if you have poor vision in the other eye. The more preparation you do before the surgery, the easier the recovery will be.

Enlist help for after the surgery

As you will be limited in what you can do, it’s also a good idea to enlist help from family and friends. You will definitely need somebody to help drive you home immediately after the surgery. You will need regular eye drops after your operation and it can be helpful for someone else to put these in initially.

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Cataract surgery is a routine and effective procedure. However, like with any surgical operation, it does require a period of recovery. Your surgeon will give you specific aftercare instructions you should follow. However, there are some general dos and don’ts you should pay attention to.

Here, we will look at what you expect from the cataract surgery recovery process.

What can you do after cataract surgery?

It will typically take four to six weeks to fully recover after cataracts surgery. During this time, there are things you can do to aid in your recovery.

You will be given an eye shield and eye drops to use after the procedure. The eye shield should be worn all day after the surgery, until the following morning. You will also need to apply the eye drops as recommended by Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Zaid Shalchi.

You can have a shower and bath as you usually would after the surgery, provided you keep the eyes closed when washing your face. You should wait at least 24 hours before washing your hair.

In most cases, you will still be able to look after children immediately after the procedure. However, this depends on whether you were given a sedative. You can also watch TV and read as normal.

When venturing out, wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun. Your eyes will feel a lot more sensitive as they heal.

What can’t you do after your cataract procedure?

Now that you know what you can do, what about the things you should avoid during your cataract surgery recovery period?

For the first 24 to 48 hours after the surgery, you shouldn’t drive. Some people find it can take a few days to feel well enough to drive. You should also avoid rubbing the eye, as well as getting any type of contaminants in there such as shampoo or soap.

Wearing make-up is another thing to avoid. Ideally, you should invest in new products. This is because there is a lot of bacteria in used make-up, and the eye is more susceptible to infection as it heals. It typically takes four weeks before you can start to wear make-up again.

Avoiding strenuous activity is also advised. It is important to take it easy to allow the body to heal. This includes heavy lifting as well as vigorous exercise. You should also avoid dusting the home as the dust particles could get into the eyes, causing an infection.

These are just some of the recommendations given to those recovering from cataracts surgery. Mr Zaid Shalchi will give you comprehensive guidance to ensure you achieve the best results and avoid potential complications. For more information on cataract surgery, call 020 3953 4999 to arrange a consultation.

Cataracts are a common age-related condition, and it is estimated that 30% of people in the UK who are 65 years or older have a cataract that is affecting their vision in one or both eyes. Yet, it seems that younger and younger patients are developing vision problems – a 2015 audit by a leading vision clinic chain found that a fifth of their cataract enquiries came from people in their 40s and 50s.

When seeking advice on surgery, these younger patients are often advised to wait until they are at least 60 years of age. This can understandably be frustrating if the cataracts are causing issues in your daily life.

While it can be better to wait for cataract surgery, there isn’t necessarily an age limit. Patients do not have to wait until the condition deteriorates to a certain point before undergoing the procedure.

So, when exactly is the right time to have cataract surgery? Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know…

How severe are your cataract symptoms?

The main indicator of when cataract surgery is right for you, is the severity of your symptoms. Cataracts can cause several symptoms including:

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • You need brighter lighting to read
  • Sensitivity to glare and light
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Difficulty with vision at night

If you have mild symptoms and it isn’t impacting your daily activities, surgery may not be required right now. If the symptoms are severe however, surgery should be undertaken as soon as possible.

In some cataracts, they can cause you to see halos around lights. This would present great challenges when driving at night. If the cataracts advance, you could also fail the vision test when it comes to renewing your driver’s license.

So, if the symptoms are severe and they do interfere with everyday activities, you will need surgery as soon as possible.

Cataract surgery can be performed at any age

Cataract surgery is mostly carried out on the over 60s. However, it can be performed on patients of any age. Technology has advanced a lot over the years, and modern cataracts procedures are much safer and more precise than they used to be. This means younger patients can now benefit from the surgery with minimal risks.

The surgery is known to improve vision in 95% of patients who have it. Most patients can return home the same day and the recovery is fairly quick too compared to what it used to be.

Older patients can also have the surgery without the risks that used to be present with older techniques. So, age isn’t a factor, it is more your overall health that will determine when cataract surgery is ideal.

Monitoring your cataract symptoms

You may find that your symptoms are not impacting your daily activities. In this case, delaying cataracts surgery is an option. However, you should closely monitor your symptoms as the condition can progress at a rapid pace. In some patients, cataracts develop slowly, whereas in others it can worsen suddenly with little warning.

Overall, there is no set age or time that you should undergo this procedure. It is a personal choice, unless your symptoms are restricting your daily activities. Book a consultation today with London and Berkshire cataract specialist Mr Zaid Shalchi to find out whether cataracts surgery could be suitable for you now.

A new global study has recently been carried out to determine how vision problems impact quality of life. It is thought that over one billion people across the world suffer with some form of problem with their vision that could have been corrected or prevented.

Here, we will look at what this new global study found and why seeking treatment for eye conditions is important.

Understanding the new study

The new cross-sectional study, published within the JAMA Ophalmology, looked at nine systemic reviews that were published from 2010-2020. The goal was to discover how vision problems link to quality of life.

Out of the nine systemic reviews, five of them were quantitive observational studies. Another three were qualitative studies and the final one was a combination of qualitative and quantitive studies. The researchers also looked at 33 different interventions that could be used to potentially improve quality of life.

It was revealed that all of the studies showed patients with vision problems suffered a poorer quality life. However, it also showed that timely treatment can improve quality of life.

Timely interventions could help improve quality of life

Out of the 33 interventions assessed, it was discovered that 25 of them could improve quality of life. The treatments found to have the biggest impact were cataract surgery, and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy.

The earlier treatment is sought, the better. The trouble is many patients are facing a lengthy wait to receive the life-changing procedures they need. This is leading to an increase in the number of patients going private. When you seek private eye care, waiting times are drastically reduced and early intervention can be provided.

Treating your cataracts through surgery

Those with cataracts in the studies, were particularly shown to see marked improvements in quality of life after undergoing surgery. One of the most common surgical procedures carried out around the world, cataract surgery helps to restore and improve vision.

When you have cataracts, it causes the natural lens of the eye to harden and cloud over. This lens contributes towards 33% of your eye’s ability to focus. If left untreated, the condition can worsen, causing significant vision problems that impact your day-to-day life.

In cataract surgery, high-frequency ultrasound is used to remove the cataract. A small incision is made before a new artificial lens is inserted. For most patients, the surgery will be carried out under local anaesthetic.  This is provided through eye drops which work to fully numb the eyes.

Patients can expect to see results within just one day after the procedure. As with any type of surgery, there are risks you should know about before undergoing the procedure. Mr Zaid Shalchi will go through the potential risks and complications during your consultation.

Overall, vision problems can greatly impact quality of life in patients. However, as the new global study shows, timely treatments can help to improve quality of life.

Call us on 020 3953 4999 or email us on to arrange a consultation with London Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Zaid Shalchi today to see how cataract surgery could help you to return to a normal life.

Flashes and floaters are common eye issues that are usually harmless, but it can be concerning when you first experience them. They are caused by degeneration of the vitreous, the gel inside the eye, and it is important to have the retina examined by an eye specialist if you experience a new, large floater or shower of floaters, persistent flashes of light and loss of vision.

Floaters are small specks moving in your field of vision. They are actually tiny clumps inside the vitreous and can appear as dots, lines or clouds. As we get older, the vitreous gel thickens and shrink, forming clumps inside the eye. They can be a sign of something more serious; if the vitreous gel pulls away from the back of the eye it can cause posterior vitreous detachment and tear the retina.

Flashes occur when the vitreous gel rubs or pulls on the retina and again are more common as we get older. Inflammation of the eye, known as uveitis, and recent intraocular surgery are also risk factors of developing flashes and floaters.

What are treatment options for floaters and flashes?

Treatment options depend on the underlying cause. Most floaters and flashes are harmless. Small tears on the retina can be treated with laser and, if it is the result of retina detachment, you may require surgery.

If you’ve recently developed flashes or floaters, call 020 3953 4999 to arrange a consultation with eye specialist Mr Zaid Shalchi.

The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on elective surgery in the UK is still emerging; during the first surge last March, the NHS in England postponed non-urgent routine hospital treatment.

During 2020, the specialties most impacted were oral surgery, orthopaedics and ophthalmology – at 42%, 42% and 40% lower respectively than the same period the year before. Some areas of the country have felt the impact of COVID-19 more acutely than others, depending on their infection rates and ability to restart routine hospital treatment.

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed procedure in the UK. Cataracts usually form slowly with your vision affected very gradually. Mr Zaid Shalchi recommends surgery if the cataract is impacting on your ability to perform normal activities and that varies from person to person, depending on your lifestyle and employment.

What happens if my cataract surgery is delayed?

If your cataract surgery has been postponed or cancelled, then you can be reassured that delaying surgery will not put your eyesight at permanent risk. While waiting for your cataract surgery, it is essential your remove any potential trip hazards round the home. Ensure there is good lighting around the house and also for close tasks to cut down on eye strain. Limit driving at night as cataracts can cause glare around lights. Cataracts can make your eyes more sensitive to sunlight so wear sunglasses or a hat with a brim to protect your eyes.

Currently, Mr Zaid Shalchi is seeing patients for consultations and performing private cataract surgery at the London Eye Unit at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth.

You may think that rheumatoid arthritis only affects the joints, but inflammation – the root cause of arthritis – can affect the body in a number of ways. As the inflammation affects collagen in connective tissue, it can also cause changes to the sclera, or white of the eye, and the cornea, which are essentially composed of collagen.

Keratitis Sicca or Dry Eye Syndrome

This is the most common eye condition associated with rheumatoid arthritis, affecting women more than men. You’ll notice dryness and blurry vision as the corneal lens begins to dry out.


RA can cause inflammation of the white of the eye. The symptoms include redness that isn’t alleviated with eye drops, severe pain, sensitivity to light and, in some cases, reduced vision.

Keeping your arthritis under control is essential for limiting inflammation in the body. However, in some cases, corticosteroid eye drops can be prescribed.

Cataracts and rheumatoid arthritis

Inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis can also raise the risk of developing cataracts. However, the steroid medication you are prescribed to control RA, can also greatly increase the risk.

An ophthalmologist can remove the cataract and replace the cloudy lens with an artificial lens. For more advice on preserving your vision, call 020 3953 4999 to arrange a consultation with Mr Zaid Shalchi.