Complications of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery complications are few, with cataract surgery being amongst the most common and successful surgical procedures performed in the world. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year, with an overall success rate of 98% or higher.

However, just like any surgery, there are risks involved that can pose difficulties in getting the desired results. When cataract surgery complications do occur, most are minor and can be successfully treated medically or with additional surgery.

Dislocated Intraocular Lens (IOL)

The IOL is the artificial lens that’s placed in your eye during surgery. It can slip out of place, causing blurred or double vision. It can also lead to more serious issues like bleeding and swelling. You may need surgery to get it back in position or to put in a new one.

Fluid Buildup in the Retina

Sometimes after surgery, blood vessels in the retina leak. As fluid collects in your eye, it blurs your vision.

Although eye drops are effective at treating this, it could take weeks or months to heal. Usually this condition does completely disappear with the proper care. In more serious cases, you may need a steroid shot behind the eye or surgery.

Floaters and Flashes of Light

Surgery can cause posterior vitreous detachment, where the vitreous separates from the retina. This makes you see moving spider webs and clouds in your vision, along with flashes of light. Usually, it gets better on its own within a few months. Because the symptoms are similar to retinal detachment, call your doctor right away to get checked out.

High Eye Pressure

For some people, surgery raises pressure in the eye. This is called ocular hypertension and can damage your vision. Like other complications on this list, it can be treated it with eye drops, shots, or pills. Swelling, bleeding, or leftover lens fragments can cause greater pressure in your eye, which can lead to glaucoma.

How this is treated depends on the specific reason it’s happening. If your optic nerve gets damaged, you might also need glaucoma surgery.