Complications of cataract surgery

Cataract surgery, which typically involves cataract extraction and intraocular lens implantation, has been reported to be one the safest operation performed on any part of the human body. However, serious complications occur occasionally.

The techniques of vitreous surgery that were first developed to repair damage caused by severe diabetes can be used to repair unusual complications of cataract surgery. One example of an unusual complication would be the rupture of a weak lens capsule, which allows a fragment of the cataract to fall back into the vitreous cavity or onto the surface of the retina.

If this type of rupture occurs, the safest means of removing the intravitreal cataract fragment is with vitreous surgery. This surgery generally takes place only after the eye is no longer inflamed—although some factors, such as increased intraocular pressure, make it necessary for surgery to take place sooner.

In rare instances, an intraocular lens implant can become dislocated and enter the vitreous cavity. This dislocation can be repaired by vitreous surgery techniques. Other complications include cystoid macular edema, which can be managed with the medications acetazolamide and sub-Tenons’ steroids or sometimes with vitreous surgery. In a patient with a choroidal/expulsive hemorrhage, the physician will need to wait for the patient’s blood to liquify before performing vitreous surgery.