Stylised up close image of the pupil and iris of an eyeball. The iris is blue with areas of brown.

Learning About Cataract Surgery

Written By Richard Polley (Vision Norfolk Norwich Hub Coordinator)

Recently, four members of Vision Norfolk’s staff, CEO Andrew Morter, Services Manager Barbara Dunn, Community Outreach Worker Karl Bloor and myself, Norwich Hub Coordinator Richard Polley, were invited to visit the St Stephen’s Gate Medical Practice to find out about the cataract operations that are performed there.

On arrival we were shown around the very impressive practice. We were then briefed on the types of operations that are carried out there, beyond the work carried out at most medical practices.

Two of us were then invited to watch a cataract operation that was going to be happening that afternoon. Unfortunately, both Andrew and Barbara had to return to Vision Norfolk for meetings. This left Karl and I to get changed into some operating room ‘scrubs’, ready for the arrival of the lucky patient who was going to have their cataract removed and the consultant, Mr M Schneiders, who was going to perform the operation.

We were then able to follow the whole procedure, from the arrival of the patient, the assessment to make sure everything was ok for the operation to go ahead and then the operation itself.

We were able to watch the operation in minute detail as the microscope the surgeon was using was linked to a very large TV screen. The operation itself was absolutely fascinating from the first incisions, the removal of the cloudy lens and the replacement with a new lens. The surgery is so fine that there is no need for any stitches to seal the wound. Throughout the surgery Mr Schneiders was giving a running commentary so the patient and those in the theatre, knew exactly was going on.

Once the operation was completed, the patient was led to a consulting room and given instructions on how to care for the eye, put in the correct eye drops and even how to wash around the eye.

I asked the patient if they had been aware at all what was happening during the operation or had felt any pain at all. She said all she could see was the bright light from the microscope and that she had felt no pain whatsoever. The only sensation she had, was when a solution was used to wash around the eye. She will return at a later date for the removal of the cataract in the other eye.

Thank you to Carita Wyatt and the rest of the staff at St Stephens Gate Medical Practice for such a fascinating and informative visit. Consultant Mr M Schneiders and of course the patient for allowing us to watch this fascinating surgery procedure.

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