Cataract Surgery Complications blog

Cataract Surgery Complications

Cataracts are the leading cause of reversible blindness worldwide. The surgery to remove them has an excellent success rate with only 5% experiencing complications after having their procedure done. In patients with other eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or uveitis, complications from cataract surgery are slightly more common. While these events can be serious in many cases they will usually only cause discomfort for the patient and do not often result in long term effects on their vision

Posterior capsular opacification

Posterior capsular opacification (PCO) is a condition in which the clear membrane that covers the back of the eye becomes cloudy. It is also known as a secondary cataract. This can happen after cataract surgery, when the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial implant. PCO is a common side effect of cataract surgery, and usually occurs within two years of the procedure. In most cases, PCO does not cause any symptoms and does not affect vision. However, in some cases, PCO can lead to blurred or dimmed vision. Treatment for PCO usually involves a laser procedure to improve clarity. In most cases, this procedure is safe and effective.

Potential complications in removing a cataract

  • Eye infection
  • Droopy eyelid (ptosis)
  • Clouding of the cornea (Corneal oedema)
  • Bleeding
  • Double vision
  • Open wounds (perforation)
  • Retained cataract fragments in the eye
  • Retinal detachment or swelling of the retina
  • Eye pain
  • Raised eye pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Intraocular lens implant instability

Potential complications of the IOL implant

  • Glare
  • Halo
  • Starburst
  • Posterior capsular opacification host images
  • Double vision
  • Iris thinning
  • Dislocated intrauouclar lens
  • Change in pupil shape or size
  • Errors in refraction or implant strength calculation
  • Needing glasses

Expectations of vision after cataract surgery

Cataracts are an age-related condition that usually develop as we get older. The goal of cataract surgery with IOL implant is to help provide the best possible vision, even though many people still require glasses for some or all activities after their operation has been performed In certain cases however calculations made during this process may end up producing strong prescriptions which aren’t tolerated by patients; in these circumstances another surgical procedure will likely be required before they can see clearly again. People with other eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes or other eye conditions may have a limited improvement in vision from cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery and quality of life

Many studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve quality of life, reduce the risks of falls and increase life expectancy. Studies have shown that cataract surgery reduces the risks of falls and bone fracture (Victoria et al 2012), improves quality of life (Brown 2013) and improve your chance of living longer (Fong et al 2013).

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