What are possible side effects of cataract surgery?
As with any surgery, pain, infection, swelling and bleeding are possible, but very few people experience serious cataract surgery complications. In most cases, complications or side effects from the procedure can be successfully managed with medication or a follow-up procedure.
To reduce your risk for problems after cataract surgery, be sure to follow the instructions your surgeon gives you and report any unusual symptoms immediately.
What is a "secondary cataract"?
In a minority of cases (perhaps 20 to 30 percent), months or years after cataract surgery, the posterior portion of the lens capsule that is left inside the eye during surgery for safety reasons becomes hazy, causing vision to again become blurred.
This "secondary cataract" (also called posterior capsular opacification) usually can be easily treated with a less invasive follow-up procedure called a YAG laser capsulotomy. In most cases, this 15-minute procedure effectively restores clear vision.
How is a cataract removed?
A small incision is made in the front surface of the eye with a scalpel or a laser. A circular hole is then cut in the front of the thin membrane (anterior capsule) that encloses the eye's natural lens. Typically the lens is then broken into smaller pieces with a laser or an ultrasonic device so it can be more easily removed from the eye.
Is cataract surgery serious?
All surgery involves some risk, so yes, it is serious. However, cataract surgery is the most commonly performed type of surgery in the United States. Many cataract surgeons have several thousand procedures under their belt. Choosing a surgeon with this much experience will reduce the risk of something going wrong.
Are cataracts found only in older people?
Most cataracts develop slowly over time and affect people over age 50. About half of the population has a cataract by age 65, and nearly everyone over 75 has at least one. But in rare cases, infants can have congenital cataracts. These usually are related to the mother having German measles, chickenpox, or another infectious disease during pregnancy, but sometimes they are inherited.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a cloudiness of the eye's natural lens, which lies between the front and back areas of the eye, directly behind the pupil.