Cataract Surgery Complications and Risks

Cataract Surgery Complications and Risks

When it comes to cataract surgery complications, these are very uncommon and especially occur when you have some other eye disease or any other serious medical condition.  It might happen sometimes that cataract surgery fails to give results and improve vision.  But this happens only then the patient is having underline eye damage because of some other conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.

In worst cases even if cataract surgery leads to any complication,  it can be fixed and treated successfully.

Risks Factors of Cataract 

There is a list of risk factors in a cataract such as old age. It is a fact that cataract occurs in people who are aged, but cataract can also occur in people of young age, due to radiation or any other factors that cause cataract. Consumption of excessive alcohol and smoking increases the risk of cataracts. An increase in blood pressure and the obese structure of the patients can also cause a cataract.

People who have previous eye injuries and previous family history of cataract patients have increased chances of getting cataracts. Increased exposure to sun and radiation from chemotherapy (used in cancer treatments) or X- rays causes cataracts in young people as well. Diabetic patients also come in a similar category.

Early Cataract Surgery Complications 

If the success rate of cataract surgery is quite high,  some patients might face some of the symptoms during the first week of their operation.

Cataract surgery complications can occur during the surgery,  immediately after the surgery,  and some of the complications are the delayed ones as well. Some of the immediate complications of cataract surgery happen as a result of surgical procedures.   Such cataract surgery complications include:

  • discomfort 
  • bruising
  •  swelling of the eyelid
  •  increase in intraocular pressure
  •  allergic reactions to the steroid

Some other cataract surgery complications are:

 Infection: Most Common Cataract Surgery Complications

 Infection: Most Common Cataract Surgery Complications


 It might happen that during the process of surgery some germs enter your eye causing an infection.  The symptoms can be sensitivity to light or pain, redness, and a few vision problems.  So if this is the case with you seek medical help immediately.  However, after cataract surgery infections are quite rare.  But in case you get any the doctor will recommend you to get a shot of antibiotics into your eye. 

In few cases, a doctor might be required to remove the vitreous that is a clear gel in the center of the earth. And this is done to stop the spreading of the infection.



 It is very normal to have swelling or a bit of redness after surgery but if you are experiencing it more than usual we need to get some eye drops or some other medication to take care of it.

Retinal Detachment

The retina resides way back in the eye and is used for sensing light and sending messages to the brain.  Sometimes it so happens that after surgery the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye because of which the ability of the eye to sense light and send messages to the brain is heavily affected.  And this condition is called retinal detachment, which is a serious condition that could also lead to vision loss.  Seek help from your eye doctor immediately if you feel something like floating spots in your vision or see flashes of light.

Lens Fragments

Lens Fragments

During cataract surgery, the doctor needs to remove the natural lens that has been affected by cataracts.  While removing, it might happen that some pieces of the natural lens fall into the eye and are left behind.  However, the smaller ones are not a problem but the bigger pieces are.

The doctor might suggest going for another surgery to remove the vitreous to prevent swelling and other complications.

Fluid Buildup in Retina 

In some cases, blood vessels start leaking in the retina and due to the collection of fluid in the end experiences blurred vision.  The doctor will prescribe some medicine for eye drops and it might take weeks or months to heal. 

These are some of the common complications that usually occur or may not occur immediately after the surgery.  But if these conditions are progressed towards pain,  or discharge from the eye,  or decrease in vision,  the patient must look for medical attention. 

Late Cataract Surgery Complications 

 A long-term complication of cataract surgery can be PCO that is Posterior Capsular Opacification.  It is one of the most common cataract surgery complications.  It is said that this application can begin after any point in the surgery.  In modern techniques of cataract surgery, the surgeons create a capsular bag that has a part of the anterior and the entire part of the posterior capsule and also has the implanted intraocular lens. PCO can easily be treated with laser capsulotomy that helps in immediate vision improvement. 

Here are some surgery complications that Might occur immediately but are more serious than those mentioned above. 

Posterior Capsular Rupture/  Vitreous Loss

There is something in the nature of cataract surgery that posterior capsule tears might occur at any point during the surgery. One step of cataract surgery is very crucial or you can say it is one of the most crucial steps of the surgery and capsulotomy.  Because it creates an opening to reach out to the nucleus of the lens. There is also a risk to the performance of the surgeon. In any case, the loss of vitreous happens due to capsular rupture that leads to certain and severe visual disabilities, And also some of the previously mentioned complications such as rate in a detachment.  some of these factors that might aid  the occurrence of vitreous loss can include:

  • Deep-set Eyes
  • Narrow palpebral fissures
  • High myopia glaucoma.

Cystoid Macular Edema (CME)

Cystoid Macular Edema (CME)

This is a cataract surgery complication that mostly occurs in about six to eight weeks after the operation. The standard method of diagnosing and monitoring CME is optical coherence tomography (oct). However, fluorescein angiography is considered the gold standard. Earlier, The experts used to Face a lot many problems related to this.  The advancements of phacoemulsification Techniques cystoid macular edema occurs only in about 1 to 2 percent After cataract surgery cases.



It is a serious condition that occurs due to surgery when some microorganisms get entry into the eyes. Here are the risk factors that contribute to the development of endophthalmitis:

  • Rupture of the posterior capsule
  •  Need for anterior vitrectomy during the procedure.
  • Age (greater than 85 years)
  • Sex (male sex are at higher risk)

Vitreous/Suprachoroidal Hemorrhage

Vitreous or Suprachoroidal Hemorrhage

This is something that is always associated with any kind of incisional in ocular surgery. The following are the risk factors for hemorrhage:


  •  Myopia
  •  Glaucoma
  •  Hypertension
  •  Diabetes
  • Atherosclerotic vascular disease. 

Cataract Surgery Complication for Diabetes

Diabetic patients are already known to be at higher risk of certain diseases. in addition they are at an increased rate of cataract development. And when it comes to cataract surgery the surgical process is normal but cataract extraction (CE)  in a diabetic eye is not as simple as compared to 2 in a normal eye.  There are several cataract surgery complications such as macular edema (me), diabetic retinopathy, Capsular contraction, and opacification.

How to Avoid Cataract Surgery Complications?

You can avoid risks and complications of cataract surgery if you take some precautions. Your eyes need some time to heal after the surgery. And taking precautions after surgery is as important as precautions doctors take during surgery. Your eyes are vulnerable for some time so you need to be aware of the problems you may face. One of the most common issues you will face is itchy-ness in your eyes. Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes at all costs. Don’t panic, and follow these steps after surgery to protect your eyes from any complications.

Some important precautions you can take post-operation:

Avoid Housework

Avoid any kind of housework that includes bending. Bending puts pressure on your eyes and can cause complications. You are advised to keep your house clean and dirt-free in the initial weeks of the surgery but avoid cleaning it yourself. Ask your family members or a maid for it.

Wear Eye Shields While Sleeping

One of the precautions after a cataract operation is to wear eye patches while you’re sleeping for some days to protect your eyes from any infection. Apart from wearing this shield, avoid sleeping on the side of the eye operated.

Eat Healthily To Avoid Cataract Surgery Complications

As your eyes are adjusting to a new vision, provide them with all the required nutrients to heal faster and naturally. Avoid any processed food and junk food. Include protein and fiber-rich food on your plate. For example- green vegetables, eggs, and fruits. You need to keep a look at your blood sugar level, by avoiding food that is high in sugar like pasta; snacks like chips; bread, and any junk food. Increased blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in your eyes and further delay your healing process.

 Avoid Heavy Exercises

Avoid any activity that can put extra pressure on your eyes like lifting heavyweights. Your eyes need at least a full month’s recovery and sometimes even more.

 Don’t Miss Postoperative Appointments

This is one important step in your recovery. It’s important to schedule a post-operation appointment with your doctor. After the surgery, your doctor will prescribe you some eye drops and medicines, your doctor will analyze your recovery rate and tell you what you should do and avoid. 

So, you need to be patient when you get back home after surgery. Take care of yourself. Follow the instructions given by your doctors. And don’t delay if there is something serious. Rush to your doctor immediately.

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