Rare Complications from Cataract Surgery

Let’s preview and understand the rare complications from cataract surgery.

Complications are classified as below:

  • Pre operative like local anesthesia side effect or allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Intra operative like posterior capsular tear.
  • Post operative conditions.

Post operative rare complications could occur either immediately after cataract surgery or after a long gap may be months or years after surgery.

Post operative complication indicators:

  • Floaters
  • Elevated eye pressure
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Loss of vision
  • Bleeding
  • Eye watering

Early post operative rare complications:

  • Hyphema
  • Iris Prolapse
  • Flat anterior chamber
  • Post Operative Anterior Uveitis
  • Toxic Anterior Segment Syndrome

Late Post operative complications:

  • PCO (Posterior Capsule Opacity): This is commonly known as secondary cataract occurring within months or years after cataract surgery. After cataract surgery normally after a day the vision improves but in case you notice that you eyes are still hazy and vision is not clear. This could be an indication for PCO due to the thickening of the lens capsule. In such cases do consult and have your eyes checked in order to confirm the issue and get effective treatment. YAG laser capsulotomy is a painless procedure to resolve the same within minutes.

Rare complications include:

  • Retinal detachment: The patient experiences floaters, curtain like loss of vision. Floaters could occur due to posterior vitreous detachment.
  • Dislocated Intraocular lenses: Intraocular lens are placed inside the capsular bag which could rapture or break. It could happen due various reasons like zonular dialysis. Intraocular lenses need to be repositioned back to have clear vision. In such cases you may notice double vision.
  • Cystoid Macular edema: This is caused mainly due to accumulation of fluid in the macula. Anti inflammatory eye drops are prescribed to reduce the swelling of the retina.
  • Endophthalmitis: It is an infection and it presents generally as red eye, pain and loss of vision.

Precautions and points to note:

  • It is advisable to consult early if any symptoms or vision difficulties crop up, so that healing would be faster and treatment would be more effective. In case of delay it could lead to further complications and could also result in loss of vision.
  • An annual checkup is advisable even if there are no symptoms of complication.
  • A proper pre evaluation before surgery and good after surgical care prevents complications.
  • Those patients who already have other eye diseases along with cataract are more prone to the risk of complications after surgery e.g. diabetic retinopathy. Post operative eye trauma can also cause complication. Hence due attention needs to be given.
  • Medication and corrective surgery corrections help to treat complications. E.g. Vitectomy is done in case complications arise due to retained lens material.

Why are complications with phacoemulsification very rare?

  • Modern cataract surgery involves small incision, no stitches- so less infection and faster healing.
  • Use of advanced technology.
  • Use of latest surgical methods.

Modern cataract surgeries are performed by phacoemulsification under local anesthesia (eye drops). This reduces risk and complications and is generally highly successful.


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