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What are the Risks Associated with Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed eye surgery and has a success rate of 95%. The surgery results in improvements in vision and satisfaction on the part of the patient. However, like all surgeries, this one too is unpredictable. Though the percentage of occurrence of mishaps is rather low, yet, some cataract specialists do experience risks and difficulties during the surgery which lead to complications later on. These can occur even if the surgeon is highly experienced and he exercises utmost caution during the surgery. This is why, it is best to let the patient know about the possibilities before he or she proceeds with it.

The cataract surgeon performing a surgery takes great efforts to prevent the occurrence of intraocular infection, known as endophthalmitis. Complete caution is taken when performing a cataract surgery. Measure include giving topical antibiotic drops to the eye on the day of the surgery, covering the entire face, except the eyes with sterile drapes, sterilising the area where the surgery would be conducted, sterilisation of all equipment and giving topical antibiotic drops after the surgery. In spite of all these, every one out of three thousand cases of cataract surgery experiences the condition of endophthalmitis whose symptoms include pain, redness, sensitivity to light and problems with vision.

A condition called cystoid macular edema sometimes occurs after a cataract surgery. Macula is the central part of the retina and inflammation after a cataract surgery might lead to the retinal blood vessels to leak fluid which then accumulates in the macula and leads to reduced vision. Topical steroid eye drops or anti-inflammatory eye drops are given by cataract specialists to reduce the swelling.

If there is a delicate tear exists in the retina and vitreous fluid enters through it, a retinal detachment occurs from the back of the wall of the eye. This can lead to a blockage in vision (the feeling will be like the presence of a curtain) on all parts and sides and is common among those who are near-sighted or are experiencing an eye surgery for the first time.

If the lens material falls into the back of the eye and particularly in major portions, then the patient might be in need of another surgery. Choroidal haemorrhage is another rare, but prevalent occurrence among cataract patients, particularly elderly ones. This is characterised by excessive bleeding during the surgery and can usually be treated soon but can lead to loss of sight in extreme cases.

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