Cataract, patient information in English

Cataract is a cloudiness of the natural lens in the eye. It may cause impaired vision, glare, and/or letters that appear double.

Cataract is a cloudiness of the natural lens in the eye. It may cause impaired vision, glare, and/or letters that appear double.

The lens lies in a lens capsule. During cataract surgery, the unclear lens is removed by ultrasound keeping the lens capsule intact. A new clear lens is placed in the lens capsule which is fitted to your eye based on pre-examination measurements.

The surgery is usually done under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.

Most people will experience a better vision after surgery unless there are other visual disturbing conditions in the eye.

Pre-examination before surgery

  • Bring your glasses
  • Bring your health card (Sundhedskort)
  • Do not use soft contact lenses 24 hours prior to the examination
  • Do not use hard contact lenses 72 hours prior to the examination.

An examination of your eye will be made.

Note: Eye drops will be used to widen/dilate your pupils. This will cause blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light for approximately 4 hours. Therefore, we advise you to bring a pair of sunglasses. Furthermore, we strongly recommend that you do not drive yourself.

The decision for surgery will be made based on

  • Your vision
  • The amount of cataract
  • If you drive a car: How close are you to the needed visual acuity limit.

If both eyes need surgery, you will be given an appointment for the procedure where both eyes will be done on the same day. In some cases though, two separate appointments are given on two separate days.

If you are used to read without reading glasses, you should consider if you

  1. Still wish to be able to read without reading glasses. By choosing this option, you will be dependent on glasses for distant vision
  2. Want to have an optimal distant vision without glasses. If you choose this option, you will need reading glasses.

Please contact us prior to surgery if you

  • Have a cold sore on your face or any other sore with signs of infections
  • Get ill e.g. the flu or pneumonia.

The day of surgery

  • Wear clean clothes
  • Do not use any face cream, powder or eye make up on your face
  • Do not wear contact lenses
  • You will be offered relaxing medication.

The surgery

  • The surgery itself will take approximately 30 minutes
  • You will be lying down and a thin piece of paper cloth is placed over
    your face. You will still be able to breathe through your mouth and nose
  • The eye is kept open with an eye speculum.

After surgery

You can go home after surgery, but you are not allowed to drive yourself,
so arrange for transportation home

Eye drops

  • The eye drops can be picked up at the pharmacy after the
  • The eye drops prevent swelling of the retina
  • If both eyes need surgery, you will have to purchase 2 bottles at the
    same time
  • To prevent infection, you need to use separate bottles for each eye
  • You can pick up the eye drops several times on the same prescription
  • Are you using eye drops for the pressure in your eye, you should continuing doing so
  • 4 hours after the surgery, you should start to use the eye drops in the operated eye/eyes 3 times a day for 3 weeks: Morning, afternoon and evening
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  • Remember to wash your hands before using the eye drops in your eye
  • In the enclosed eye drop description, it says to close the tear duct with a finger. For hygienic reasons, do not do this.

Nurse assistance

If you need assistance with the eye drops, this can be arranged if you talk to
the staff on the day of your surgery. They will contact the home care in your hometown and a nurse will come to your house 3 times a day to assist you for 3 weeks.

Normal reactions after the surgery

  • Foggy vison lasting from a few days to a couple of weeks
  • The eye may be itchy and it may feel sandy
  • The eye can be slightly red and runny
  • Some will feel a slight pain when the anesthesia stops working.
    You may use pain killers such as Panodil, Pinex or Pamol.

Right after surgery you may

  • Watch TV and read
  • Work in a dust free environment without any lifting (office work and physical therapy)
  • Get vaccinated
  • Bow down, do grocery shopping, cook and clean
  • Ride a bike and use of public transportation
  • Take a shower and wash your hair with the eyes closed
  • Use your old glasses if you feel it helps
  • Use sunglasses if you find it comfortable
  • Travel by plane (note: Talk to your travel insurance company).

1 week after surgery you may

  • Do physically hard work in dusty environment and work where there
    is a risk of infection (e.g. handy work, kindergarten teacher)
  • Do sports and gymnastics
  • Have sex
  • Go to the dentist.

2 weeks after surgery you may

  • Swim in the ocean, swimming pool and bathtub
  • Use eye make-up.

Check up after surgery

You need to make an appointment with your eye doctor 1- 6 weeks after you have had surgery on the last eye (max 8 weeks after the first eye). You need to make the appointment as soon as you know the date for the surgery.


Individual assessment.

Sick leave

If your employer wants a requisition stating that you are not able to work, he will need to contact us for such a requisition.

New glasses

You need to wait a least 1 month after the surgery before you buy new glasses. Until that, you may try one of the following:

  • Use a patch on the operated eye together with your old glasses
  • Use a patch on the non-operated eye without your usual glasses
  • Remove the glass from your eyeglass frame
  • Buy a cheap pair of reading glasses (approximately +2.5 diopters).

Note: Your eye will not be harmed by using your old glasses until you get new ones.

What can go wrong

The risk of vision impairing complications are less than 1 %.

Following can occur

  • Corneal edema and edema of the retina and increased pressure in the eye
  • Retinal detachment
  • Loss of lens material in the eye
  • Bleeding and infection in the eye.

Certain conditions like iris inflammation, glaucoma, and strong myopia prior to surgery, increase the risk of complications.

Secondary cataract

Is an opacification of lens capsule which occurs in 15 % of cases after a few months or years after undergoing cataract surgery. It can be diagnosed and treated on a outpatient basis and it is pain free. The procedure is done by using a YAG laser. Your own eye doctor can do this procedure. You will have to wait at least 3 months after your cataract surgery and usually your vision will be same as before the secondary cataract occurred.

Please contact us if

  • You feel a sharp pain in the eye
  • Your eye becomes very red
  • Your vision suddenly gets blurry after having been clear
  • You feel nauseated.

The Department of Ophthalmology
Team Cataract