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Complications of Cataract Surgery

While one of the safest surgeries performed, cataract surgery can sometimes result in serious complications. During cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist removes the cataract and replaces it with an intraocular lens. Rare, but possible complications include:

Rupture of a weak lens capsule

This results in a small part of the cataract falling into the vitreous cavity or onto the surface of the retina. Vitreous is a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain a round shape. It has tiny fibers within it that connect to the retina. If a rupture occurs, vitreous surgery is the safest way to remove the cataract fragment. This procedure typically occurs after the eye is no longer inflamed. If necessary, it may be performed sooner because of risk factors like increased intraocular pressure.


Intraocular lens implant dislocation

It is very rare, but an intraocular lens can become dislocated and enter the vitreous cavity. This also can be repaired with vitreous surgery by a vitreoretinal surgeon.

Cystoid macular edema

About three percent of all cataract surgery patients will have some decrease in vision from cystoid macular edema, a swelling in the central part of the retina. This can be managed with medications, including anti-inflammatory eye drops as well as acetazolamide and steroid injections. Occasionally, vitreous surgery is needed.