What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is a medical procedure which includes removal of the lens of the eye. In some patients artificial lens is implanted instead of the old one. The surgery is rather effective and it is only performed in the people in whom the clouding of the lens affects eye sight. This type of surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. It is frequently done and is considered as safe and highly successful surgical procedure. Up to 98% of all patients have amazingly good outcomes and the restoration of vision is excellent. However, as in any other surgery even cataract surgery carries several risks. Fortunately, complications after cataract surgery are not so common and even if they occur the treatment is rather easy.
What are the Risks of Cataract Surgery
The first potential complication of cataract surgery is endophthalmitis. This is an inflammation of the intraocular coats of the eye. This complication can be successfully prevented by postoperative application of topical antibiotic eye drops. The operated area is supposed to be cleaned with specific sterilizing solutions and it is then covered with sterile dressing. After the surgery the patient continues taking antibiotics but even with all the previous measures of precaution enophthalmitis still may occur. Endophthalmitis typically develops a few days after the surgery and features with pain and redness of the eye, hypersensitivity to light and loss of vision. This complication of cataract surgery is treated with antibiotics which are injected directly into the eye. In extreme cases the inflammation is treated surgically with vitrectomy.
Another complication of cataract surgery is cystoid macular edema. The macula is the central part of the retina. In certain number of cases this part of the retina may get inflamed and edematous. The doctor estimates the extent of the swelling with a fluorescein angiogram or ocular coherence tomography. Cystoid macular edema is treated with anti-inflammatory eye drops.
Retinal detachment is one more potential complication after cataract surgery. Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina detaches from its underlying layer of supportive tissue. The symptoms of retinal detachment are flashes of light and dark spots which look as if they were floating in the visual field.
Choroidal hemorrhage is bleeding from the choroid, the source which supplies the retina with blood. This complication of cataract surgery predominantly affects elderly people, particularly those suffering from glaucoma or elevated blood pressure. Permanent loss of vision is potential consequence of choroidal hemorrhage but it only occurs in cases of severe bleeding.
And finally, there are two more complications after cataract surgery and they include glaucoma and secondary cataract.