Cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgical procedures and is associated with a very low risk of complications in experienced hands. Approximately 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