How do you choose the best cataract surgeon in London?
Choosing the best cataract surgeon in London for you can be difficult. You may ask your friends and family which ophthalmic surgeon they choose and how their experience was? Word of mouth is still a very important way to get true and honest recommendations.
If you do a google search would will find a range of consultant ophthalmologists offering private cataract surgery and refractive surgery to improve vision from a london clinic in and around Harley Street in London. The eye doctor may also offer laser eye surgery and many have trained at the Western Eye Hospital or Moorfields Eye Hospital. The difficult thing is how do you choose the best surgeon for you if you don't have recommendations from family or friends? Here is a simple set of criteria to use to try and find the best surgeon for you and your cataract surgery.
What criteria should the cataract surgeon meet?
First and foremost you need to find a cataract surgeon that you feel comfortable with. Your eye surgeon should be someone who is patient focused who is with you from the initial consultation in their private eye clinic through to your surgery and your final outcome. For that reason you should choose someone who is accessible to you that you can easily get to if you have any questions or need any check ups. Central london has a number of private cataract surgeons and has excellent transport links so hopefully that will help focus your search.
Does the surgeon work in an NHS Hospital as well as a private clinic?
Surgeons who work in the NHS as well as in private clinics are more likely to be exposed to more cases. If your ophthalmologist offers cataract surgery in the NHS and in a private eye clinic they are probably very familiar with the surgical techniques. They may be training future doctors too making them even more familiar with the procedure. This isn't a guarantee as there excellent surgeons who work in private clinics alone but is just one point that might help you narrow down your search.
Does the surgeon specialise in cataract surgery?
Your surgeon should specialise in cataract surgery if that is the problem you are wanting to fix. Some refractive surgeons for example only offer laser vision correction and not cataract surgery. Choosing someone who specialises in lens replacement surgery and refractive lens exchange will mean that you are choosing someone with the expertise needed for your procedure.
How do you know if you can trust the surgeon you choose?
You know you can trust your surgeon if they offer realistic expectations, have a clear pricing structure and just come across as open and transparent. Has you surgeon spent time to answer your questions about distance vision or the risk of blurred vision following surgery?
If someone is promising you perfect vision if you have conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, corneal surgery or corneal transplantation be wary.
Having someone who has trained and worked for the National Health Service (NHS) is a good indicator of how good they are. The NHS offers some of the best training in the world.
If they have a substantive consultant post in a prestigious NHS Trust and not just a private practice you can be sure that was a competitive job to get and that they meet the mark with their skills.
If they have good testimonials or rating this might be taken into account although they should be verified.
Should I choose a surgeon who performs a high number of procedures each year?
In short choosing surgeon who does a lot of cataract surgery is more likely to be more familiar with the operation. Try to find a surgeon who is performing at least 30 cataract operations a month and offers high volume cataract surgery as this requires a greater skill set than cataract surgery alone.
Does the success rate of the surgeon matter?
Be worried if a surgeon claims a 100% success rate. Either is is not true or they are only doing simple and not complex cataract surgery that is less likely to be complicated. Look for a surgeon that is open about their complication rate and what they say is matched but the National Ophthalmology Database audit that is available online.
A surgeon that does more difficult cataract cases and is referred such cases from other surgeons is probably the one you want to go for. Lens surgery can be straightforward in most cases but you want someone who knows how to manage if things don't go smoothly in the surgery on your cloudy lens.
Which method is best for cataract surgery?
The best method for cataract surgery is one that is safe and has small incisions on the eye. This allows for a quicker recovery and less astigmatism from the surgery.
Phacoemulsification is the most common method used that is the gold standard at the present time. It uses a small incision and the cataract is broken up and and removed from within the eye. It is done under a local anaesthetic and is usually painless. The intraocular lens is injected though the small incision where it unfolds and is placed in the correct position. This new lens then provides clearer vision. Daily activities can be resumed quicker with this method as the recovery is much faster.
Extracapsular method is used for very mature cataracts that are not suitable for phacoemulsifcation. A larger incision is created and the cataract is removed in one piece. Intraocular lenses are still sed and placed in the capsular bag just as with phacoemulsification. As the incision used is larger the recovery is longer and there is a greater probability that glasses or contact lenses may be needed to give the clearest vision.
Intracapsular method is rarely used and is where the cataract and its capsule is removed in one piece through a larger incision. The artificial lens is then placed in a different location in front of the iris.
Is a Professor more likely to be a top cataract surgeon?
A Professor is usually an academic expert and an incredibly valued teacher. Many university professors get their title by the academic work they do and not through their surgery. A professor may also be an expert on laser treatment or age-related macular degeneration and it doesn't guarantee that they are the best at cataract surgery. For surgery, pick the best based on their surgical training and surgical performance.