Mr Walker Consultant Ophthalmologist FRCOphth
Welcome to my website dedicated to Eyes and Vision
Standard UK Cataract Surgery Quoted Consent Risks
THE POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS OF CATARACT SURGERY
Overall complications are rare (less than 5%), ranging from mild to severe:
Corneal abrasion - Where the surface of your eye gets scratched during operation. This is easily treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment.
Ecchymosis – Bruising of eye or eyelids (quite common). Bleeding behind eyeball – rarely severe.
Allergy – Causing an itchy swollen eye (1:500). This usually settles.
Posterior capsular opacification – Clouding of the membrane behind the implant (early 1:100; late 20:100). This is treated with laser.
Post operative glaucoma – Raised pressure in the eye. This may require treatment (1:50).
Cystoid macular oedema – Poor vision due to inflammatory fluid in the centre of the retina. This is usually mild and needs no treatment. It can be severe and require prolonged treatment (1:250).
Optical aberrations – Glare and starbursts in bright light conditions.
Iris damage – Leading to an irregular pupil. This is usually optically insignificant.
Ptosis – Droopy eyelid. This can be surgically corrected.
Posterior capsule rupture and / or vitreous prolapse – A split in the thin back wall of the cataract (1:50). Requires a longer than average time to complete the surgery. At a higher risk of inflammation, glaucoma and reduced vision after surgery. May require second operation.
Refractive surprise – Unexpectedly large (or different from expected) need for glasses (1:500). May require second operation.
Double vision - May need prism or rarely surgery (1:1000).
Dropped nucleus – The cataract falls deeper in the eye, needing another operation to remove it (1:1000).
Dislocation of the lens implant – Movement out of position of the new lens. May require further surgery (1:2000).
Suprachorodial haemorrhage – Bleeding inside the eye, which may require further surgery (1:1000). Risk of blindness / loss of eye.
Corneal decompensation – Clouding of the normally clear front window of the eye (1:1000). Can be painful. May need a corneal graft operation to restore vision and / or comfort.
Detached retina – Peeling off of the light sensitive layer within the eye (1:1000). Requires further surgery to repair.
Endophthalmitis – Rare severe (usually painful) infection inside the eye, which can lead to blindness (1:1000). Treated with powerful antibiotics into the eye, but with often poor outcomes, and sometimes loss of eye.
Sympathetic Ophthalmitis – Inflammation occurring in sympathy in the fellow eye (1:17, 000).
Death – Incredibly rare with modern anaesthetic techniques (1:150,000).