complications of cataract surgery

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These include:

  • thickening of the posterior capsule (8%) - the posterior capsule may become opaque and cause a gradual blurring of vision (incidence of approximately 43% at 5 years following extracapsular extraction). This can be treated via making a hole in the capsule with a YAG laser (capsulotomy)
  • rupture of the posterior capsule (4%) - is the most common adverse surgical event (1)
  • protruding or broken sutures (4%)
  • cystoid macular oedema (1%)
  • increased intraocular pressure (2)
  • refractive surprise - patients who did not require glasses for distance vision become extremely disappointed when they require them after surgery (3)
  • in less than 1% of cases:
    • endophthalmitis - postoperative intraocular infection develops after about 1 in 750 operations (1). This condition may result in loss of an eye if there is not appropriate management and early referral
    • rubeotic glaucoma
    • vitreous haemorrhage
    • retinal detachment - there is a lifetime risk after cataract surgery of about 1 in 150 operations - there is an increased risk if the eye is myopic pre - operatively
    • section requiring re-suturing
    • choroidal or suprachoroidal haemorrhage (3)


Last reviewed 01/2018