Cataracts can only be treated with surgery. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from inside the eye and then replaced with a clear, plastic lens. This is usually performed under local anaesthetic, and patients can go home an hour or so later.
Although problems can happen during and after cataract surgery, for the vast majority of people it is a quick, safe, and successful procedure. In most cases, the implanted artificial lens is chosen with the aim of providing good distance vision afterwards (e.g. for driving, watching television). Glasses are often required for fine-tuning your distance vision, and almost all patients will need glasses for near (reading small print, using smartphone) and intermediate vision (dashboard, dinner-plate, compute). For patients who wish to have more freedom from glasses after surgery, other types of implantable lens are available in the private sector.