Four Potential Complications To Watch For After Cataract Replacement Surgery

Thanks to modern medicine, cataracts are no longer the serious disability they once were. But even the most skilled surgeon can not account for every detail, and complications do sometimes occur after cataract replacement surgery. Many potential side-effects are mild and easily treated, but others can lead to permanent damage to your vision if ignored. In the days, weeks and months following your surgery, watch for these four symptoms that indicate a complication has developed. 

Swelling and Infection

All surgeries run the risk of exposing your body to harmful bacteria, and cataract surgery is no exception. Call your surgeon if you experience swelling, redness, tenderness to the touch, discharge, itching or other classic signs of an infection in your eye. This condition is called endophthalmitis, and it can lead to permanent vision loss without prompt antibiotic injections. You are most at risk for endophthalmitis within the first week of your surgery, but it can occur for several weeks afterward. 

Doubled or Misaligned Vision

The lens replaced in cataract surgery rests within a flimsy, natural bag called the lens capsule. Although rare, it is possible for this capsule to be broken or dislocated during surgery, knocking the lens out of alignment. If you suffer from a dislocated intraocular lens, you may experience strange halos or patterns in your vision. In severe cases, you may even see double. This issue usually requires a second surgery to be remedied, but the procedure should restore your vision fully. 

Hazy or Clouded Vision

The lens capsule may also cause trouble if it is nicked during surgery. Leftover epithelial cells from the cornea migrating and then growing within the capsule bag can lead to hazy, cloudy or blurred vision similar to cataracts themselves, a condition known as posterior capsule opacification. Thankfully, the extra debris can often be removed through laser surgery, which is much less invasive, risky and time-consuming than a traditional operation. Like many other cataract replacement complications, the longer you wait to report the problem, the more severe the long-term side-effects, so don't hesitate to have any irregularities in your vision examined. 

Detached Retinas

Rarely, trauma to your retina as a result of surgery may be enough to cause a retinal detachment. Gel in your eye can squeeze through any holes or tears in the retina, putting pressure on the delicate tissue from the wrong direction. Over time, the pressure builds until the retina is torn from its surrounding tissue. If you experience flashing lights or floaters after cataract surgery, even years later, contact your eye doctor or surgeon immediately. If the retina detaches completely, portions of your field of view may be dark or completely black. Detached retinas must be treated as soon as possible to prevent a significant loss of your vision. Fortunately, complications like these are still quite rare, and cataract surgery is overall very safe. By staying vigilant, you can progress through your recovery secure in the knowledge that you can recognize trouble should it pop up. To learn more, visit a wensite like