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Associated Risks of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a very common procedure with low risks […]

By Published On: 18 December 20122.4 min read

Cataract surgery is a very common procedure with low risks involved. Less than a single percent of patients will suffer from any serious complications that will necessitate further surgeries. If complications do arise, these are, more often than not, successfully treated through additional procedures.

While it is possible that your vision may get worse or that permanent damage may occur after the cataract surgery, these cases are extremely rare. Still, a comprehensive consultation with your eye doctor should be done so that you will be fully informed of all the possible risks.

Posterior Capsule Opacification

The most common risk that a cataract patient may encounter after surgery is the development of a condition called posterior capsule opacification, or PCO. In this condition, a portion of the capsule of your lens may thicken and lead to a cloudy vision. While some may mistake this as a sign of the cataract returning, it is actually cells growing at the back of the artificial lens.

This is not a serious complication and can be easily remedied by laser eye surgery. As a matter of fact, up to 30 percent of all cataract surgery patients will develop this condition. PCO usually occurs from six months up to five years after the surgery.

The additional laser eye surgery will only last around 15 minutes. Normal activities may be resumed almost immediately after.

Clinical Cystoid Macular Edema

A more serious complication of cataract surgery that can eventually lead to the loss of a patient’s vision is a condition called clinical cystoid macular edema.  In this condition, there is a fluid build up that occurs between the layers of the retina.

Clinical cystoid macular edema may lead to loss of vision. This condition is rare, however, and makes up only about 0.1 percent of all cases.

A similar condition is called angiographic cystoid macular edema. This is a very common condition, however, and does not lead to a patient’s blindness or visual impairment.

Other Possible Complications

There are other possible risks of cataract surgery. Again, these complications are extremely rare.  Among these risks are:

•    Bleeding in the eye
•    Cataract dropping into the back of the eye
•    Damage to the cornea
•    Detachment of the retina
•    Incomplete removal of all of the cataract
•    Infection in the eye
•    Redness of the eye
•    Swelling of the eye
•    Tearing of the lens capsule

Children who undergo this procedure may also face some complications. Among the possible risks include the following:

•    Abnormalities that may affect the pupil
•    Cloudy vision brought about by PCO
•    Detachment of the retina
•    Glaucoma, where there is an increase in pressure inside the child’s eye that would affect the vision
•    Infection of the eye, like endophthalmitis, which is a rare bacterial infection
•    Strabismus, or squinting, in which one of the eyes may turn inside, outside, upwards or downwards while the other eye is focused forward

Medical help must be sought if any of the conditions are felt.


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