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Hospital encourages patients to come forward for cataract surgery

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Clinicians at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust are encouraging patients requiring cataract surgery to come forward after a significant decline in referrals over the past year.

Thousands of local patients may be unnecessarily travelling long distances to unfamiliar healthcare providers because they have been told, incorrectly, that waiting times in their local NHS units are very long. This is despite low NHS waiting lists for cataract surgery with most patients receiving treatment less than two months from referral.

Concerns have been raised by clinicians at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust following significant decreases in referrals for cataract surgery. Prior to pandemic, the trust would receive around 500 cataract surgery referrals each month, while has now dropped to around 250 referrals. 

Patients with cataracts can speak to their local optometrist and ask to be referred to Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. You will then receive a specialist outpatient assessment within a month and free cataract surgery shortly after in Reading, Newbury, or Windsor.

Cataracts are when the lens of your eye develops cloud patches. They most commonly affect adults as a result of ageing and will usually get worse over time and limit your vision. Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens and replacing with a clear plastic one – it is the most common surgery in the UK and recovery typically lasts between two and six weeks.

Martin Leyland, Consultant Ophthalmologist, said:

 “When considering cataract surgery, it’s really important patients consider all the options available to them. Local NHS waiting lists are currently very low so it is quick to be seen by experienced teams in Reading, Newbury and Windsor.”