Cataract Surgery Complications & Expectations

Feb 10, 2017 @ 01:00 PM — by Francis Clark M.D.
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Cataract surgery is one of the safest surgeries performed in the United States today. It has an excellent success rate of 95-98%.  The rate of complications increases in people who have other eye diseases such as diabetes retinopathy or uveitis. All surgeries have risks, but for cataract surgery, complications are usually not serious.

POSTERIOR CAPSULAR OPACIFICATION (SECONDARY CATARACT)

The most relatively common event following cataract surgery with a lens implant is posterior capsular opacification (PCO) or a secondary cataract.  There is a membrane inside the eye that helps hold the lens implant in place until the eye is healed. Sometimes this membrane gradually becomes cloudy and produces decreased vision or other symptoms similar to those initially caused by the cataract.  The clouding and decreased vision may occur days, weeks months, or years after cataract surgery. If you cannot function due to poor vision produced by the cloudy membrane, an additional, unrelated laser procedure may be indicated to improve your vision again.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS RELATED TO REMOVING OF THE CATARACT INCLUDE:

  • Infection in the eye
  • Drooping of the eyelid
  • Swelling in the corneal
  • Bleeding in or around the eyelid
  • Double vision
  • Perforation of the eye
  • Retained pieces of cataract in the eye
  • Detachment or swelling of the retina
  • Uncomfortable, painful eye
  • Increase  in eye pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Inability to implant the intraocular lens (IOL)

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE IOL IMPLANT:

  • Glare
  • Starburst
  • Halo
  • Ghost images
  • Double vision
  • Shifted or Dislocated intraocular lens
  • Secondary cataract (see above)
  • Iris thinning or discoloration
  • Change in pupil size or shape
  • Inaccuracy or errors in calculation of lens implant strength

EXPECTATIONS FOR VISION AFTER CATARACT SURGERY

The goal of cataract surgery with IOL implant is to help provide the best possible vision WITH GLASSES. Most people still require glasses for some or all activities. Sometimes calculations for the lens implant result in a strong prescription that is not tolerated by the patient. An additional surgical procedure may be required to correct the prescription or to replace the lens implant. Other ocular conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetes, glaucoma and other eye problems may prevent complete recovery of vision after surgery.

STUDIES HAVE SHOWN CATARACT SURGERY HELPS IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE

There are many studies out today that have proven cataract surgery can increase a patient's quality of life, decrease their risk of falling and increase their life expectancy.

  • Decreased risk of falling and fracturing bones.  A 2012 study found patients who had cataract surgery had a lower risk of fracturing their hips within one year after surgery. (Source: Victoria et al 2012)
  • Improved quality of life. A study published in 2013 found that quality of life for patients who had cataract surgery improved by 36 percent. (Source: Brown et al 2013)
  • Improve your chance of living longer. This study found there was a 40 percent lower long-term mortality risk in those who had the surgery. (Source: Fong et al 2013)

We're here for you.

Before cataract surgery, always be sure to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your upcoming surgery. To schedule an appointment please call 267-410-1046 or visit eyeops.com. 

 

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