The following  information is intended as guidance for Optometrists and GPs considering referral for possible cataract surgery:
Indications for Referral
  • Is visual acuity 6/12 or worse?


  • Does the patient have significant visual symptoms from their cataract that removing it would improve their quality of life?

    Do they have difficulty:
    Seeing TV
    Recognizing faces
    Reading street signs and bus numbers

    Do they:
    Experience glare in low sun or oncoming headlights
    Not satisfy the DVLA standard of binocular outdoor vision to be able to read the number plate at 21.5m

    NB: Difficulty with near tasks are less likely to be due to cataract and more likely to be macular disease.
Optometry and Primary Care Management Prior to Referral

An Optometry report within the last 6 months must be attached (please note an NHS eye test is not a universal entitlement in England, some patients will have to pay for their eye test privately.  More information on eligibility of NHS-funded sight tests is available here)

An up to date medication list is required
Establish if the patient has existing/suspected other eye pathology
Where to Refer
Refer to the RMS using the NHS Kernow assessment service on Choose and Book.  The RMS will then refer on as appropriate:
  • If optometrist report included and there is no suggestion of significant other pathology:
    • RCHT 1-Stop Assessment Clinic
    • Probus Surgical Centre one-stop see-and-treat service
  • If the patient has significant other eye pathology and/or are under the care of an Ophthalmologist at RCHT they should be sent to the general Ophthalmology clinic RCHT.


NB Cataract surgery carries a 1:1000 risk of loss of vision.

Date reviewed                     07/08/2019

Next review due                  07/08/2020

Sifter name                         Dr Rebecca Harling

Contributor                   Mr William Westlake



Version No. 3.20