Surgeries – How many cataract surgeries per year UK?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the UK(1), with very, very high success rates and around 400,000 cataract surgeries performed each year in England. Furthermore, it’s estimated that, in the UK, somewhere in the region of 30% of people over the age of 65 have a cataract that impairs their vision in one or both eyes*.

Around 95% of cataracts are age related, and, around 40% of patients needing surgery for their cataracts will have cataracts in, and resultantly, surgery on, both of their eyes(2).

Phacoemulsification – which is the technique whereby the eye’s lens is broken up and the cataract is removed using ultrasound – is the most common surgical procedure used in NHS cataract surgery. In fact, this method accounts for over 99% of cataract surgeries that are performed on the NHS in the UK.

Cataract surgery has an almost 100% success rate(2), and is quick, painless, and doesn’t necessitate the patient being under general anaesthetic. In fact, around 95% of cataract surgeries are carried out using local anaesthetic and are completed within c.10 minutes(3).

In most cases after cataract surgery, the patient will leave the hospital within 40 minutes or so of their procedure being completed; and, be completely recovered within 2 – 6 weeks from their operation.



  1. SpaMedica: Cataract surgery information & The Royal College of Ophthalmologists: RCOphth follow up survey finds continued cataract rationing imposed by CCGs despite NICE Guidance
  2. Laser Eye Surgery Hub: Cataract Statistics & Resources
  3. SpaMedica: Cataract surgery information & Laser Eye Surgery Hub: Cataract Statistics & Resources

Other related questions

  • Glasses – Why do I need glasses after cataract surgery?

  • Surgery – What does an eye look like after cataract surgery?

  • Surgery – How is a cataract operation performed?

  • Near-sighted – Does cataract surgery correct near-sightedness?

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