The Queen hasn't been spotted without her sunglasses during recent official engagements, and now we know the reason why. It has been confirmed that the monarch underwent eye surgery to remove a cataract in May, and has been wearing shades as it can take four to six weeks to recover from the routine operation.
Her Majesty was treated as a day patient at the private King Edward VII hospital in London, the same hospital where her husband Prince Philip underwent a hip replacement in April. A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed the procedure to the Press Association, saying: "I can confirm that the Queen successfully underwent a short planned procedure to treat a cataract last month."
The Queen underwent eye surgery in May to remove a cataract
Following the procedure, the Queen did not cancel or postpone any engagements, and has been seen on good form at events including the Buckingham Palace Garden Party and the Chelsea Flower Show.
Cataracts are when the lens, a small transparent disc inside the eye, develops cloudy patches. These usually become bigger over time, causing blurry, misty vision and eventually blindness, if left untreated. A person can be more at risk of developing them if they have a family history of cataracts. The Queen Mother had an operation to remove a cataract from her left eye when she was 95 in 1995, but after her surgery she spent a night in King Edward VII hospital, unlike her daughter.
Her Majesty didn't cancel or postpone any planned engagements
Cataract surgery is the most common operation performed in the UK, and it has a high success rate in improving eyesight. The procedure typically takes 30 to 45 minutes and usually requires the surgeon to make a tiny cut in the eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic one. It is typically carried out as day surgery under local anaesthetic and patients usually go home on the same day, but it can take four to six weeks to recover.