Cataract Surgery – What How and Possible Complications

September 19, 2010
By marqpdx

Cataract Surgery – What, How, and Possible Complications


Cataracts are a clouding that can gradually develop over or within the crystalline lens of the eye as we age; they usually develop slowly, affecting both eyes, and can lead to full blindness if left untreated. As cataracts progress, vision tends to dim, because the clouding blocks light from passing through the eye’s lens and reaching the retina. Cataracts can be grouped into the following four types: age-related, congenital, secondary, and traumatic cataracts.

There are many different symptoms associated with cataracts; however, not all patients will have all of these symptoms. Below is a list of the most common symptoms.

* Double vision in just one eye

* Halos or glowing around lights

* Yellowing or fading of colors

* Dimmed, clouded, and / or blurred vision

* High sensitivity or pain to sunlight, bright lights, or glare

* Difficulty seeing at night or in dark areas

* Worsening vision necessitating frequent changes in corrective lenses.

If you are experiencing one, some, or all of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with eye care professional for an examination.

Surgical Treatment for Cataracts

Currently, the only treatment for cataracts is to surgically replace the affected lens. This is usually performed as an out-patient procedure and is done under a local anesthetic. During the surgery, the affected lens is removed and is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL),. Recovery time is usually a day, but antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops need to be used for about two weeks following the procedure.

During the initial weeks following the cataract surgery, it is usually recommend that the following activities be avoided: bending or exercising, anything that might expose the eye to grime or dust, heavy lifting, splashing water into the eye.

Complications Following Surgery

Complications following cataract surgery are very rare but may include the following: glaucoma (the build-up of pressure inside the eye), a detached retina, or a severe eye infection, called endophthalmitis. If, following surgery, there is any pain, inflammation, or redness, the surgeon should be contacted immediately as these are symptoms that need to be evaluated and treated.

Ninety-five percent of all cataract surgeries result in improved vision in the patient, but it is important to know about these possible complications. Nonetheless, the rate of complications is very low and the vast majority of individuals who undergo cataract surgery have no issues during or following the procedure.


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