Eye surgery overview

It is important that people with learning disabilities have access to eye surgery and treatment for eye conditions.

Some eye conditions can benefit from surgery and some will not restore previously lost sight, but will only stop vision becoming worse. Sometimes other treatments such as using eye drops can help. There are eye conditions that cannot benefit from surgical intervention.

This page gives further information about accessing hospital eye clinic services and includes SeeAbility’s Eye Surgery Support Plan, which is endorsed by Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Some of the most common eye conditions and diseases requiring surgery are:

  • Cataracts
  • Corneal problems, such as Keratoconus
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma


Eye Surgery Support Plan

People with learning disabilities may have an eye condition which requires surgery and with the right support this can be successful. 

We have created an easy read document for people with learning disabilities:

  Eye Surgery Support Plan

SeeAbility's Eye Surgery Support Plan is clear, helpful, and informative and will help patients, their families and carers to better understand and anticipate what undergoing eye surgery involves. It will underpin the advice given by hospital staff and be a useful reference throughout the patient’s journey,

        Moorfields Eye Hospital


Attending an appointment at the eye clinic

If you have problems with your eyes you may need to go to a Hospital Eye Clinic. There you may need to have tests or eye examinations, have treatment, or be assessed for surgery. You will usually be referred by your optometrist or GP. Once the hospital has received the referral, you should be seen within 18 weeks.

When you attend we advise that you go with someone who knows you well or who supports you. You may need this person to take notes about what you may be told at your appointment. The person may need to talk with you if you are worried and they may need to escort you home if you have had treatment.

SeeAbility has an easy read document to fill out at the eye clinic:

  Eye clinic feedback



It is important that people with learning disabilities can be supported to make decisions about their treatment. Sometimes there are big choices to make like whether to have an operation.

SeeAbility has two factsheets on consenting:

 Consent to medical treatment for eye health

  Consent and capacity


Cataract surgery

You can read more about cataracts on our eye conditions page. But if you have cataracts you may be able to have eye surgery.

SeeAbility's easy read factsheet tells you more about cataract surgery and the support you may need:

  Having a cataract operation

Watch our film about Leanne’s cataract surgery.


Eye drops

Many people need to use eye drops, often before or after eye surgery.

Our easy read factsheet explains how people can be helped and how to administer eye drops safely:

  How to use eye drops