Cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgical procedures and is associated with a very low risk of complications in experienced handsApproximately 98% of patients will experience no complications. Some eyes are more challenging than others, with the most complex cases generally referred to vitreoretinal surgeons. 

Minor complications include but are not limited to:  

  • Minor damage to the iris or cornea  
  • High or low pressure in the eye (usually temporary) 
  • Swelling of the retina or cornea which may require additional drops  
  • Prolonged Inflammation in the eye which would require an extended course of drops 
  • Rupture of the posterior capsule of the lens with or without vitreous loss, which would require further surgery at the time of the procedure. This is an area I lecturein, and regularly teach other trainees and Consultants as to how to treat correctly. 
  • Refractive surprise, resulting in unexpected short- or long-sightedness, or increasedastigmatism. This may require glasses or further surgery 
  • Temporary bruising and swelling around the eyelids 
  • Lid drooping which may very rarely persist 
  • Possible allergy to drops 
  • Double vision which is usually very temporary 
  • Glare, haloes or dysphotopsias with premium IOLs which usually settle over time in most patients.  
  • Thickening of the posterior capsule in the months or years following surgery.

Severe complications include: 

  • Retinal detachment. The risk of this is less than 1% but if it occurs, further surgery will be required to prevent visual loss 
  • Blindness in the affected eye due to post-operative infection or bleeding during the operation. The risk of this is extremely low (< 1 in 1000 cases)  
  • Loss of significant cataract fragments into the back of the eye causing severe inflammation and glaucoma. This can only be corrected with surgery by a vitreoretinal surgeon like myself 
  • Severe post-operative inflammation (usually managed with drops and tablets) 
  • Permanent clouding of the cornea requiring corneal graft surgery 
  • Treatment-resistant swelling of the retina resulting in reduced vision