The eye has a natural lens that has the ability to focus at near and far and is held in place by a network of fine, thread-like muscles that also aid the eye in its focus. As blue light passes through the eye over many years, parts of the lens begins to grey and, left to continue, becomes more dense as time passes. This greying or clouding of the lens is called cataract. Exactly when it is decided to call this maturing lens a cataract is often subject to opinion by various clinicians. I prefer to call a naturally greying lens a cataract when it begins to spoil the quality of vision in the observer. In that case, it needs to be removed and replaced by a clear intra-ocular lens. This process is easily done in twenty minutes, or so, and often results in vision that only needs you to wear glasses for reading. Although conducted under the NHS, current local guidelines state that certain minimal conditions have to be met before surgery can be considered. Recent announcements by the Health Secretary have sought to minimise these minimal conditions.
For those with time-pressing needs or wishing more convenient choices, there are several local eye surgeons who can remove troublesome cataracts privately and without delay. Without private medical insurance, you should expect to pay between £2000-£2500 per eye for the removal of a cataract and the implantation of a new lens.