Complications of Cataract Surgery

While not common, some complications of cataract surgery can be very serious.  Prompt assessment and management by a retina specialist, experienced in handling such events, is important.

Complications of Cataract Surgery

One of the most common problems after cataract surgery is swelling, or edema, in the retina; this is referred to as cystoid macular edema (CME).  This condition usually results from inflammation after surgery.  Most cases can be readily diagnosed by a retina specialist, and treated with anti-inflammatory eye drops. More severe cases of CME may benefit from injection of steroids around, or sometimes inside, your eye.

Sometimes, a piece of the cataract can fall into the back of the eye.  If the piece is small, it can sometimes be observed, and it may go away by itself.  If the piece is big, then surgery by a  retina specialist can perform surgery and remove it.

In most cases, an intraocular lens (IOL) is placed in the eye at the time of cataract surgery.  Sometimes right away, or years later, the IOL can fall into the back of the eye.  In most cases, removal and replacement by an experienced retina specialist is required.

If the cataract surgery is complicated, a retinal tear and/or retinal detachment may arise.  A retina specialist trained with handling these complex detachments can usually fix this problem with surgery. Usually, a scleral buckle and/or vitrectomy is required.

Sometimes during, or soon after cataract surgery, a patient can develop bleeding in the eye, referred to as a choroidal hemorrhage.  An experienced retina specialist can determine if the choroidal hemorrhage can be observed, or if surgery is needed.

If a bacteria gets into the eye at the time of surgery, or soon afterwards, an infection can arise.  An infection in this setting is called endophthalmitis, and can be very serious.  Prompt referral to a retina specialist is mandatory.  Depending on different factors, an experienced retina specialist can determine if immediate office treatment, or surgery, is required.

Nader Moinfar, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.
Retina Specialist
Lakeland | Winter Haven
Zephyrhills | Lake Mary