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What are potential complications of cataract surgery?
While cataract surgery is one of the safest procedures available with a high rate of success, rare complications can arise. Your ophthalmologist will discuss the specific potential complications of the procedure that are unique to your eye prior to having you sign a consent form. The most common difficulties arising after surgery are persistent inflammation, changes in eye pressure, infection, or swelling of the retina at the back of the eye, and retinal detachment. If the delicate bag the lens sits in is injured, then the artificial lens may need to be placed in a different location. In very rare cases, the intraocular lens moves or does not function properly and may need to be repositioned, exchanged, or removed. All of these complications are extremely rare but can lead to significant visual loss if left untreated; thus, close follow-up is required after surgery.
In some cases, within months to years after surgery the thin lens capsule may become cloudy, and you may have the sensation that the cataract is returning because your vision is becoming blurry again. This process is termed posterior capsule opacification, or a "secondary cataract." To restore vision, a laser is used in the office to painlessly create a hole in the cloudy bag. This procedure takes only a few minutes in the office, and vision usually improves rapidly.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2016
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