Pre and Post Cataract Complications

Cataract complications depend on experience of the surgeon and severity of the disease. Cataract is a medical disorder where the normally transparent lens of the eye becomes cloudy and obscures vision. TThe exact cause of cataracts is unknown but is believed to be due to some type of metabolic or biochemical change in the protein structure of the lens.

Cataracts are very common as we age and most people undergo surgery in the 6th or 7th decade of life. There is no medical treatment for cataracts. The best and most successful treatment for cataracts is surgery. Most eye doctors perform cataract surgery and the surgery is not felt to be exceedingly difficult. Nevertheless, cataracts complications from surgery do occur. The majority of complications that occur after cataract removal are mild and resolve with time. However, all individuals who undergo cataract surgery are also encouraged to follow the doctor’s advice after surgery and ensure follow up with all post surgical appointments.

In cataract surgery, the defective natural lens is removed using a variety of techniques and an intra ocular lens is replaced. About 90% of patients who undergo cataract surgery go on to have excellent vision with no complications. About 10 percent of patients develop post cataract complications.
Infectious complications of cataract lens surgery are quite rare but when they occur, the results are devastating. The eyes can become red, teary and tender. Immediate medical assistance should be sought if a patient has these symptoms after cataract surgery.

One of the most common cataract complications after surgery is called posterior capsular opacification. In this complication, the posterior aspect of the lens tends to grow and causes blurring and clouding of the vision. The complication occurs slowly after the initial surgery. The good news is that the complication can be treated by an eye doctor. By making small tiny holes with a laser in the lens, the vision can be partially restored. A rare complication of cataract surgery is tearing or rupture of the lens capsule that often happens during surgery.

Other rare complications of cataract lens surgery include retinal detachment, uveitis (inflammation of the eye) or fluid accumulation in the center of the retina. Retinal detachment is separation of inner wall of the eyes and may occur weeks or months after the surgery, and thus follow up is required with an eye doctor.

When fluid accumulates in the back of the eye, it generally resolves within a few weeks if it is promptly treated.

Other well-known cataracts complications after surgery include displacement of the implanted intra ocular lens, bleeding inside the eye, leak from the incision, glaucoma and infection of the tissues around the lens. Astigmatism is also known to occur if the incision fails to heal properly.

Therefore, ask questions and go to a physician who has experience dealing with cataracts. The best way to avoid cataract complications is to select your eye doctor well.

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