Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the US. With a high success rate of 98% out of about 3 million surgeries each year, complications are almost unheard of. However, it is possible for things to go wrong during a cataract surgery for a number of reasons and it is best to be aware of them prior to the surgery.
Posterior Capsule Opacity
This is one of the most common complications of cataract surgeries. The condition is also referred to as Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) and results in hazy vision after an intraocular lens (IOL) has been implanted. During the surgery, the cloudy lens will be removed while leaving the clear membrane that surrounds it intact. This membrane is known as the lens capsule and is left intact to implant the IOL within. In some patients, there is a possibility for the posterior portion of the lens capsule to become hazy. PCO occurs as a result of a lens epithelial cell growth after cataract surgery has been performed. In some cases, PCO can progress up to a level that a patient’s vision can get worse than it was before the surgery. Luckily, the condition can be treated with YAG laser with minimal pain. This procedure, referred to as YGA laser capsulotomy, is performed in a doctor’s office.
Dislocated Intraocular Lenses
Dislocation of Intraocular Lenses is another complication resulted by cataract surgery. During a cataract surgery, the IOL is placed within the lens capsule. This is a very thin membrane and prone to breaking apart, rupturing or dislocation in some cases. When an IOL is placed on a dislocated or damaged lens capsule, it may result in dislocation or malpositioning of the implant. This can lead to vision problems such as being able to see the edge of the lens, double vision and focusing problems. Even without a problem with the lens capsule, the IOL may get dislocated due to improper positioning. Should a patient experience a dislocated IOL, they will require a second surgery to have the implant sewn in place or to implant a different lens.
There are other complications that may occur a while after a perfectly successful surgery. For instance, some patients may experience swelling of the retina or cornea, increased ocular hypertension or even a droopy eyelid. You will have to be alert and report any floaters, vision loss or flashes of light, as they may signal retinal detachment.