The ‘choice’ conversation and cataracts – what you need to know

Optometrists play a vital role in choice conversations, but what do patients want to know about their potential surgery providers?


Providing the best possible care and outcomes for patients is at the heart of everything optometrists do as eye care professionals.

An often inevitable part of the care optometrists provide will be diagnosing conditions like cataracts and making the recommendation of surgery. Along with other consultant-led treatments, patients have a legal right to choose, firstly, whether they would like to receive surgery and, secondly, where they would like to receive their care.1

Recent patient insights gathered by SpaMedica highlight the critical role optometrists play in guiding patients during this decision, what patients want to know during this referral conversation, and the need for more support with conversations around ‘choice.’ 

Supporting you to offer informed choice

SpaMedica, the UK’s leading NHS cataract surgery provider, is a trusted partner for many optometrists and is proud to be offered as a choice to patients nationwide.

A recent survey found that 93% of patients stated they would like more information about ‘choice.’2

To support community optometrists with this important conversation, wherever a patient chooses to go, SpaMedica has launched a guide Cataract surgery – the choice is yours.

This new leaflet aims to help patients easily find information about their local providers to aid in their decision-making – including links to view CQC ratings, waiting times and patients reviews of their local NHS services. Practitioners can order their copy through their local service promotions executive.

So, what do patients want to know about cataract surgery providers?

According to a recent patient insight survey conducted by SpaMedica, patients rated the advice and recommendations of their optometrist as the most important factor whilst choosing their treatment provider. This underscores the vital role optometrists play in patient decision-making and the need to understand the treatment providers available in your local area.

What are the other key factors patients are keen to understand during this referral conversation? And how can optometrists guide them to the right information to support their decision?

1. Waiting times for treatment: Did you know that NHS patients have the right to request a transfer to another hospital if they have been waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment? Surprisingly, 80% of patients were unaware of this option.2 This finding is particularly significant given that waiting times are the second most important factor for patients when choosing a cataract surgery provider. SpaMedica is renowned for its efficient service – streamlined processes mean that patients typically wait no longer than four to eight weeks for surgery from referral.

Patients can find waiting time information for NHS Ophthalmology providers by looking at local providers on the NHS My Planned Care website,3 with instructions on finding this within SpaMedica’s patient choice guide.

2. Favourable patient reviews: Patients rated the experience and feedback of other patients as the next most important factor when considering their treatment provider. You can share the feedback you have received from patients, or direct patients to NHS reviews or independent patient review websites.

With a commitment to excellence in care and outcomes, SpaMedica consistently receives positive feedback from patients, now exceeding 18,000 five-star NHS reviews. Patients can feel confident knowing they are choosing a highly recommended, trusted provider.

3. Proximity to home: When patients choose a cataract surgery provider, location in relation to their home scores lower in importance compared to advice from their optometrist, waiting times, and patient reviews. This highlights that while convenience is important, the quality and timeliness of care, along with trusted recommendations, take precedence. To address concerns about accessibility, some providers, including SpaMedica, offer free transport services for patients who struggle with travel arrangements. This ensures that all patients, regardless of their proximity to the clinic, can access the high-quality cataract surgery they need without the stress or inconvenience of organising transportation.

Partner with SpaMedica for outstanding patient outcomes

As an eye care professional, your advice carries significant weight in your patients’ decision-making process. By choosing to refer your patients to SpaMedica, you are ensuring they receive exceptional care, short referral to treatment times, and excellent clinical outcomes.

For more information about SpaMedica’s services or information on how to refer a patient visit the how to refer page online.


  1. Anonymous Patient Survey – SpaMedica, April 2024 (8456 respondants)
  2. Your choices in the NHS, May 2023
  3. My Planned Care NHS.
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