Possible Risks & Complications

As with any surgery, there are risks that should be considered when having cataract surgery. The good news is that these risks are very low.

For any eye surgery, including cataract surgery, risks can be considered in two ways. Firstly, there are those risks that are serious and may permanently affect the vision. Secondly, there are less serious problems that may result in delayed onset of vision improvement or only partial improvement.

Approximately 98-99% of eyes will have no complications following the surgery.

However, there does remain a small risk of serious visual loss, including the possibility that the eye may be left blind. This risk is less than 1 in every 5000 operations. There are only a few potential causes, the most serious of which are infection and retinal detachment.

Other serious problems include uncontrolled eye pressure and failure of the cornea. (In less than 1 in every million cases of cataract surgery there may be bilateral blindness from a complication in the operated eye resulting in uncontrolled inflammation in the other eye). One in 500 eyes will have a prolonged recovery sometimes requiring further surgery but then should recover well. Occasionally only partial improvement in vision may occur. Less serious complications occur in approximately 1 in every 100 cases and may include excessive inflammation, corneal or retinal swelling and medication side effects. Generally these problems resolve rapidly without any permanent effects.

Despite these risks, 98 – 99% of operations produce excellent results very quickly. The surgeon will inform you if there are any additional or specific risks for your eye(s) at your consultation.

After Cataract Surgery

  • The rate of recovery varies for each person but as a general rule, vision improves over a 24 to 72 hour period.
  • Vision should be significantly improved after cataract surgery. However, thin spectacles may be needed to correct any astigmatism or residual vision error.
  • Each intraocular lens is carefully calculated for the individual with an emphasis on quality distance vision. Reading spectacles are generally needed after surgery.

In some cases, a laser capsulotomy (YAG) may be needed some months to years after cataract surgery. This is a minor laser treatment that may be performed if the capsule encasing the artificial lens becomes cloudy and affects your vision. A small laser hole can be made in the capsule to restore the sight back to that seen soon after the initial surgery.  This is a fast, painless and permanent procedure.

Book an appointment

Our staff are always available to discuss any further questions you may have or to arrange a pre-operative assessment for you to see the clinical optometrist and surgeon.

Are you suitable for eye laser surgery?

Not all people are suitable for laser surgery and a thorough examination with an Ophthalmologist is necessary to determine suitability, however, there are some general guidelines and questions which can provide an initial indication of suitability. Take the suitability test and take your first step to a clearer brighter future.

Your questions answered here

We understand that having eye laser surgery is an important decision and that you may have questions about the procedure, your immediate recovery and what you can expect in the days, weeks and months after surgery. We have answered as many as we can here.