covid and cataract surgery

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.