Cataract Surgery

Auckland Eyes Cataract Surgery

A cataract is an opacity (or cloudiness) in the lens of the eye.

This cloudiness develops inside the lens and restricts light passing through the eye and reaching the retina. When this occurs, vision is affected. An opacity can be quite minor or it can become so marked that it prevents adequate vision.

Cataract removal is one of the most common eye operations performed in New Zealand today. It is also one of the safest and most effective, and is successful in over 98% of cases.

Auckland Eye is an affiliated provider to Southern Cross Health Society for cataract surgery. 

If you have a question or would like to book an appointment, please contact our friendly specialist team on 0800 AKL EYES or email to 

The most common cause of cataract is aging.

Others include:

  • Inherited or developmental problems
  • Health problems such as diabetes
  • Medications such as steroids
  • Trauma to the eye


clear lens without cataracts

Normal Eyes

eyes with cataract

Eyes with Cataract


Common symptoms of cataracts are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity, from car headlights that seem too bright at night; glare from lamps or very bright sunlight; or the appearance of a halo around lights
  • Poor or reduced night vision
  • Double or multiple vision (this symptom often goes away as the cataract grows)
  • "Second sight" where near vision becomes possible without glasses again because of the cataract developing in the lens. This state is usually temporary, and followed by progressive loss of distance vision
  • A need for frequent changes of glasses or contact lenses

Only cataracts causing symptoms need treatment. Modern cataract surgery is effective in restoring vision to most patients. Cataract surgery is performed as a day case procedure. It is very quick, usually taking 30 minutes. Though you will be at Oasis Surgical for approximately 2 hours to allow time for preparation and recovery.

Surgery involves removing the cloudy lens from inside the eye through a small incision, and replacing it with a new artificial lens, called the IntraOcular Lens (IOL) or implant, made from silicone or acrylic materials.?

There is now a range of implants to choose from and your surgeon will advise the implant best suited for your individual needs. Generally, patients undergoing cataract surgery will have a single focus implant that provides clear vision at one focal point, usually distance. This means reading glasses will still be required after cataract surgery.

To reduce the need for reading glasses after cataract surgery, multifocal implants are available. This implant provides a clear image for both distance and near, which means a significantly reduced dependency on glasses for your daily visual needs. In fact experience has shown that up to 85% of patients manage without glasses at all.

There are also implants that correct for astigmatism, called toric IOL's. For 20-30% of patients who undergo cataract surgery and have significant astigmatism, a single focus lens will mean glasses will still be required for distance. A toric implant will give a far greater chance of clear vision for distance without the need for glasses. However, reading glasses will still be required.

There are also wavefront implants available, which are particularly suitable for patients who require cataract surgery but have had previous refractive surgery (such as laser eye surgery) to improve their low contrast/low light vision.

normal eye vision

Normal Visions

vision through eye with cataract

Vision through a Cataract

Cataract surgery at Auckland Eye offers people suffering from cataract problems a range of potential life-changing benefits, including:

  • Improved sight and colour vision
  • Improved clarity of vision
  • Increased independence
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced dependence on corrective eyewear

Cataract removal is one of the most common eye operations performed in New Zealand today. It is also one of the safest and most effective, and is successful in over 97% of cases.

1. How is a cataract detected?

A cataract may be detected by your optometrist or family doctor. It is also important that a thorough eye examination is performed by your optometrist or eye specialist to ensure that there are no other causes for your blurry vision.

2. How fast does a cataract develop?

How fast a cataract develops varies among individuals and may even vary between eyes. In younger people and people with diabetes, cataracts may progress rapidly over a few months. However, most age-related cataracts progress gradually over a period of years.

3. When should a person with a cataract have surgery?

Cataract surgery is usually considered when loss of vision begins to interfere with daily activities or affect your quality of life. Based on the specific symptoms, a patient and their surgeon should decide together when surgery is appropriate.

cataract extraction with intraocular lens replacement

4. How is a cataract treated?

During the early stages of a cataract, a change in glasses may improve the clarity of vision, though this is usually temporary. When cataracts begin to interfere with daily activities, surgical removal is the only effective treatment.

5. Is cataract surgery permanent?

Yes. It is not possible to get another cataract once it has been removed. However, approximately 10% of patients may become aware of a gradual blurring of vision some months to even years after the surgery as a result of the thickening of the lens capsule that supports your artificial lens. If this occurs clear vision is often simply restored by laser treatment, called a capsulotomy, which can be done during a short visit to the clinic.

6. Will I need glasses after the surgery?

Most patients will require glasses for fine visual tasks although some patients can get by without them for certain activities.

7. What if I have other eye diseases -will cataract surgery help?

There are many diseases which can affect and limit the eye's visual improvement following cataract surgery. These can be diagnosed before the operation and your eye specialist will discuss the impact of any such problems with you.

8. Does the operation hurt?

No. An anaesthetic is applied before surgery so that there is no pain, but some people experience slight discomfort after the surgery. The anaesthetic stops the eye from moving during the operation and your eyelids are held open by a small gentle spring, so all you have to do is lie still for the surgery. You cannot see what is happening during the operation.

9. Can problems occur after surgery?

Cataract surgery is very safe and has high success rates. However it is important to understand that complications can occur during or after the surgery. If you experience even the slightest problem after surgery, please contact your surgeon immediately.

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Surgical Catarcat Extraction

Auckland Eye - New Zealand Centre of Excellence for Eye Care