Questions foryour doctor

Before going ahead with cataract surgery, there are certain questions you should ask. If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.

Make sure you fully understand the surgery; don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your doctor should explain the common risks and benefits of the surgery, as well as those particular to your circumstances. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.


  • Are there alternatives to this surgery that would improve my vision?
  • What type of artificial lens do you recommend, and what are your reasons for this recommendation?
  • What are the pros and cons of having this type of lens?
  • What level of improvement can I expect in my vision? 
  • Will I need glasses for distance or reading after the surgery?


  • Is this surgery really needed at this time or can it wait?
  • What are the likely consequences if I delay surgery?
  • How soon after the first eye is operated on can my second eye be done?


  • What are the likely out-of-pocket medical expenses? (Your doctor should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you’ll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’) Learn about the costs
  • Will there be an additional fee for an assistant or the anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?


  • How should I prepare for the surgery?


  • What type of anaesthetic might I have – eye drops alone, an injection around the eye or general anaesthetic?

On the day

  • What happens during and after the surgery?

Your ophthalmologist’s skills

  • How many cataract surgeries do you perform each year?
  • What percentage of your patients are satisfied with the results of the cataract surgeries you perform?
  • What’s your complication rate for this surgery?


  • How soon can I read, drive or travel?
  • Considering my job, how long should I take off work?
  • Are there restrictions on what activities I can do, such as swimming, going to the gym, air travel, straining or heavy lifting?
  • Follow-up appointments (write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your ophthalmologist).

Tell your doctor if you have any eye discharge, skin lesions, sores or ill health as these may need to be treated before your surgery.

Most medication should be taken as usual, but some may interfere with the surgery. Your ophthalmologist will let you know which medication (if any) you should stop, and when to stop taking it.

Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can have interactions and side effects too.

Print out this page to take to your appointment with your ophthalmologist

Preparing for surgery

What you need to do before surgery.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.