Side Effects of Cataract Surgery

By Francis Clark M.D. on November 02, 2017

Applying eye drops for a patientCataracts are a common eye condition that develop as a person ages. By the time a person reaches his or her 60s, there is about a 50 percent chance of having a cataract in one or both eyes. Cataracts blur the vision, make it more difficult to see at night, and diminish the vibrancy of colors. While cataracts can be controlled in their beginning stages, so that vision can be preserved, most patients will eventually need cataract surgery.

During cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is replaced with an intraocular lens that functions as a permanent contact lens. The results of cataract surgery are highly successful, but it will take some time to recover from the procedure. Our experienced eye doctors discuss cataract surgery side effects that our Philadelphia, PA patients should expect after treatment at Ophthalmology Physicians and Surgeons, PC.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a collection of broken proteins that collect on the lens of the eye. As proteins group together, they gradually block the lens of the eye, creating a cloudy formation. For the eye to process images properly, light needs to pass through the lens of the eyes where it can reach the retina (the thin layer of nerves at the back of the eye). If a cataract blocks the lens, the light cannot reach the retina, and the vision will suffer. The side effects of cataracts will only worsen as the cataract grows larger. Without treatment, cataracts could eventually cause blindness.

The only effective way to treat cataracts for good is through cataract surgery. During this procedure, the natural lens of the eye is removed. Our doctors will place an artificial lens, or an intraocular lens, over the eye. The intraocular lens is a prescription lens that sits permanently over the eye and allows the patient to enjoy clear, crisp vision.

Cataract Surgery Side Effects

Just like with any other surgical procedure, cataract surgery will result in some side effects. These side effects are usually mild and should not last more than a week or two. Still, it is a good idea for patients to be prepared for the symptoms they may experience in the days following cataract surgery. The most common side effects of cataract surgery include:

  • Discomfort: Discomfort is common after cataract surgery. Although most patients don’t report any significant pain, it is normal for the eyes to feel dry, itchy, and irritated. Artificial tears should be used frequently in the weeks after surgery to keep the eyes moist, which should minimize discomfort.
  • Blurry vision: Cataract surgery is meant to improve vision, but patients shouldn’t expect immediate results. Although most patients do notice a slight clarity of vision within just a few hours after surgery, it often takes several days for vision to completely clear. Even then, it is common for vision to fluctuate in the first couple of weeks after surgery, as the eye adjusts to the intraocular lens that was placed.
  • Redness and bruising: In the days after cataract surgery, the eyes may appear red or bloodshot, and the skin beneath the eyes may be slightly bruised. These conditions should clear up within just a few days.

Each of these side effects should resolve with time. However, if side effects persist, or if any unusual symptoms develop, it should be reported to our doctors as soon as possible so that any potential complications, such as an infection, can be ruled out.

Contact Us

If you have noticed a change in your vision, it is important to schedule an eye exam so that any eye condition can be diagnosed and treated. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the comprehensive range of eye care services available at Ophthalmology Physicians and Surgeons, PC.

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