What percentage of people have complications after cataract surgery?

After cataract surgery, there is a chance that the intraocular lens that replaces the natural lens may shift or move. This rare complication occurs in approximately 0, 2, or 3 percent of all cataract surgeries, and its frequency has decreased as lens design has improved over the years. Every year, about 4 million cataract procedures are performed in this country and are “overwhelmingly successful,” explains Dr. Christopher Starr.

A study showed that of the 221,000 patients who underwent cataract surgery, 99.5 percent had no serious complications after surgery. However, Starr warns: “It's real surgery, and with any surgery there are always potential risks. The American Council on Refractive Surgery reiterates that 98 percent of cataract surgeries are performed without significant complications. Although any type of surgery carries a nominal risk, patients with pre-existing vision or health problems should tell their doctor before surgery, so that every possible precaution can be taken.

A study with more than 221,000 patients who underwent cataract surgery showed that 99.5% of patients had no serious complications after the procedure. Cataract surgery has high success and safety rates, and Harvard Medical School explained that the treatment is “low-risk, fast and effective.” To top it all off, with the introduction of laser-assisted cataract surgery, surgeons have the tools needed to be more successful, ultimately reducing complications during and after surgery. In most cataract surgeries, the intraocular lens is placed inside the capsular pouch, which contains the eye's natural opaque lens, or cataract. Only laser treatment is required to permanently eliminate vision loss caused by opacification of the posterior capsule after cataract surgery.

The back of the lens capsule becomes blurry sometime during the recovery period from cataract surgery or even months later. These other conditions may need to be treated first before cataracts can be successfully removed by surgery. A very common risk of cataract surgery is the opacity of the back capsule, also known as opacification of the back capsule or PCO. People whose vision doesn't improve after cataract surgery often have underlying eye disorders, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other eye conditions.

While you can undergo two rounds of cataract surgery, operating on both eyes at once can present additional complications. In some cases, PCO can occur because some of the old cells from the cataract are not removed during surgery. Patients who have other eye conditions or serious medical conditions are at greater risk of developing problems after cataract surgery. Statistics suggest that the lifetime risk of retinal detachment as a complication of cataract surgery in the United States is about 1%.

Other possible side effects of cataract surgery range from mild eye swelling to severe vision loss. Another risk of cataract surgery is retinal detachment, which occurs when the retina (the light-sensitive tissue that covers the surface of the eye) develops a hole or tear and detaches (or detaches) from the eye wall. When cataract surgery complications occur, most are minor and can be successfully treated with medications or with additional procedures.

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