Frequently Asked Questions

General

Do I need to have someone with me at my appointments?

At each appointment and surgery day we will be dilating your pupils; this causes blurred vision and sensitivity to light, so you won’t be able to drive; so it’s important to make sure you organise a lift or arrange transport to/from the hospital. The person accompanying you can wait in the reception area of the hospital or they can drop you off and we’ll give them a call when you’re ready for picking up.

Do I need to bring anything to my appointments?

You’ll need to bring your current glasses, a list of your current medications, record book (if you’re diabetic or taking Warfarin) and a contact number of a relative/friend. If you wear contact lenses these should not be worn at least 48 hours before your appointment.

How do I get referred to SpaMedica?

You need to let your optician or GP know which healthcare provider and hospital you would like to go to and they will then send a referral to your chosen provider. You should hear back from your provider within two to three weeks following your referral. If you have not heard anything then you can contact the person who referred you, this will be your optician or GP.

Have you received my referral?

Our SpaMedica Referrals team calls each of our patients within two to three days of us receiving your referral. We talk through the next steps with you, answer any questions you may have and you choose an appointment date to suit you.

I wear contact lenses when do I need to take these out for each appointment?

For your pre-op assessment appointment - soft contact lenses should be removed at least 48 hours before your appointment and hard lenses should not be worn for two weeks before your appointment.

For surgery/treatment day and post-op appointment - both soft and hard contact lenses should be removed at least 24 hours before your appointment.

What are your waiting times for cataract surgery?

Our average waiting times are two weeks for pre-op appointment and then two weeks after that for surgery; so about four weeks from when we receive your referral.

Do you have a drug formulary for SpaMedica hospitals?

Yes - please click here to view the SpaMedica medicines formulary

Pre-operative assessment for cataract surgery

What happens at my pre-operative assessment appointment?

We have put a detailed guide together on each stage of your patient journey – Click here and scroll down to the section called 'Your pre-operative assessment appointment' to find out all the details.

How long will my pre-operative assessment appointment take?

The average time spent at the hospital for pre-operative assessments is 1.5 hours.

Can I drive after my pre assessment?

Part of your assessment will consist of us giving you eye drops to dilate your pupils; this causes blurred vision and sensitivity to light, so you won’t be able to drive for about four hours; so it’s important to make sure you organise a lift or arrange transport to/from the hospital. SpaMedica provides free transport for some patients, based on your location and other criteria – if you’re struggling to find transport please speak to a member of our Referrals team to see if you qualify for free transport.

Before cataract surgery

Can I still have surgery if I have a cough or cold?

You must inform the operating surgeon if you have a cough.  If you can control the cough, surgery can proceed but you must let the staff know so that the surgery can be paused to allow you to cough.  If you cannot control your cough your GP may be able to prescribe something that will supress it. If you have a cold or are unwell, you should not proceed with surgery, please inform us as soon as possible and rebook your theatre slot.

I’m taking antibiotics can I still have surgery?

Please inform us if you are taking antibiotics, in some cases long term antibiotics will not stop you from having surgery.  However, if you have an active infection, your surgery should be rebooked until resolved.

Can I have a general anaesthetic?

We do not perform cataract surgery under general anaesthetic. The majority of cataract surgery is performed using a local anaesthetic, which is administered by eye drops, which numb the eye. SpaMedica does not use needles/injections for the anaesthetic.

I take warfarin; do you need to know my reading?

Please inform staff at your pre assessment appointment if you are on warfarin.  You must continue your warfarin, inform your anticoagulation clinic, and obtain an INR result within a week of surgery.

My warfarin INR is out of range can I still have surgery?

If your INR is out of range, please inform your anticoagulation clinic, and contact us so that we can rebook your cataract surgery for a later date.

My blood pressure is high can I still have surgery?

If your blood pressure is too high you will be advised to see your GP for further management prior to proceeding with cataract surgery.

After surgery

What do I do if I run out of eye drops?

Your drops should last for the prescribed course. If you do run out, you will need to get some more from your own GP. A letter will be posted to your GP to let them know your details of your eye surgery, so please allow one week before contacting them. You will need to take your drop bottle and eye drop booklet when meeting with them.

Can I use lubricating drops?

If you experience overly dry or gritty eyes it’s OK to use lubricating eye drops, which you can get from your optician or local chemist. Leave at least 5 minutes between using the two different types of drops.

How long do I have to wear my eye shield for?

The eye shield should stay on for the full day and night following surgery and it is designed for you to be able to sleep with it on. This can be removed in the morning, the day after surgery, but should be put back on before you go to sleep for the next seven nights, using micropore tape. Remember to wash your hands every time you remove and replace your shield.

When can I drive?

It takes a few days for your eyesight to adjust, so you should wait at least 48 hours after surgery before driving or operating machinery. Please note that you cannot drive until your eyesight meets the legal driving requirement ie be able to read a car registration plate at 20 metres with glasses or contact lenses, if required.

When can I exercise?

You should aim to keep any sport activities or exercise to a minimum for the two weeks following surgery – it’s OK to resume these after this time

When can I wear makeup?

You should not wear any eye make-up for 3 weeks

When can I go on holiday / fly?

It’s OK to fly one week following surgery, but we would recommend you wait if you can until after your post-operative appointment.

When can I read / watch television?

It’s OK for you to read and watch television following surgery – your vision may be a little blurred for the first few days.

When can I go back to work?

If your workplace is dust free with no physical activity then you can return to work one week after surgery. If this is not the case then you should wait two weeks before returning to work. Please let us know if you require a doctor’s ‘fit’ note to give to your employer if you need to be off work longer than one week.

When can I cook?

If you’re feeling OK it’s fine for you to do everyday activities, like cooking, pretty much straightaway when you get home. Just be cautious if your vision is blurry with handling hot objects and liquids etc.

When can I shower/ wash hair?

It’s OK to have showers and/or baths, keep your eyes closed when washing your face and remember not to rub your eye. It’s OK to wash your hair after 24 hours of surgery, use a mild or baby shampoo, avoid getting soap in your eye and don’t rub the eye

Post-operative assessment appointment for cataract surgery

When will I have my follow up appointment?

Your post-op assessment will be booked at either your optician’s practice or a SpaMedica clinic. This will be scheduled two weeks after your first eye surgery, if you are having surgery on both eyes. Your post-op assessment will be scheduled for four weeks after surgery if you are having surgery on one eye only or after your second eye surgery.

Can I drive to and from my follow up appointment?

Part of your assessment will consist of us giving you eye drops to dilate your pupils; this causes blurred vision and sensitivity to light, so you won’t be able to drive for about four hours; so it’s important to make sure you organise a lift or arrange transport to/from the hospital. SpaMedica provides free transport for some patients, based on your location and other criteria – if you’re struggling to find transport please speak to a member of our Referrals team to see if you qualify for free transport.

Optometrist

How do I get accredited?

Accreditation events take place regularly across our locations – check our SpaMedica Events page for dates and locations. The accreditation event is usually scheduled early evening and consists of a tour of our hospital facility and then two presentations, delivered by one of our Ophthalmologists. You take a short multiple choice test following the educational presentation. Your accreditation will be confirmed within 48 hours, and one CET point is awarded. You will be advised prior to the night of the paperwork you are required to bring with you. Please email steven.taylor@spamedica.co.uk to enquire about booking a place at a SpaMedica Accreditation event.

How do I refer a patient to you?

You can refer to our service using the referral pathway/process you usually use to refer, set up by your CCG. This will be one of the following:

  • Via Choose and Book (please note ‘SpaMedica’ will be on the secondary provider listing under Ophthalmology / Cataract. You may have to widen your search area depending how far your practice lies from the Hospital location of choice)
  • Direct cataract referral (secure) Fax: 0161 835 1704 or 0161 839 1423
  • Direct cataract referral (secure) Email: spamedica.referrals@nhs.net
  • By post - SpaMedica, SpaMedica, Churchgate, Bolton, BL1 1HU

Can I refer a patient for YAG treatment?

We accept referrals for YAG laser, at any timescale from their cataract surgery, and it does not matters where they had their prior cataract surgery. Again referrals can be made via any of the routes above.

Can I refer a patient for AMD treatment?

We can only accept AMD referrals within CCGs to which our AMD service is contracted, these are currently:

  • Salford CCG
  • Oldham CCG
  • Wigan Borough CCG
  • Tameside and Glossop CCG

I can’t log onto the Medisoft portal / I have not received a log in

Please contact Steven Taylor on 0161 838 0870 or email steven.taylor@spamedica.co.uk for any Medisoft portal issues.

I haven’t received a letter with the patients unique code to complete the post op (DC number)

Patients are due a post-operative appointment 2 weeks following surgery for the 1st eye, and 4 weeks for the ‘last’ eye after cataract treatment (please note our post-cataract scheme is ONLY for cataract surgery). If you have not received a letter from SpaMedica with the DC number on to complete the post-op report/outcomes in the MediSoft portal, please contact Steven Taylor on 0161 838 0870 or email steven.taylor@spamedica.co.uk

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