Cataract eye surgery side effects

Cataract Eye Surgery Side Effects

A Cataract is a cloudy area on our natural clear lens of the eyes caused by the breakdown of protein in the eyes. This creates obstacles in vision and causes a blurry vision. Cataract surgery is a procedure through which the vision gets corrected by replacing the natural lens with an artificial lens. The cataract surgery helps the patient to achieve better vision however, this has some side effects too. So, we have discussed the cataract eye surgery side effects in this article.

Eye cataract surgery types:

There are mainly 3 types of cataract surgeries:

  1. Phacoemulsification.
  2. Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE).
  3. Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS).

Phacoemulsification and Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery are the modern types of surgeries which can be performed in the developed world.

Phacoemulsification is a common type of cataract surgery. Surgeon performs this by making a small incision into the eye. Then through the incision the surgeon inserts a probe and with the help of ultrasound waves the surgeon breaks and removes the cataract from the eyes.

Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) is a computer-guided laser operation of cataract. The device helps the surgeon by providing some additional support in the steps involved in removal of a cataract.

Extracapsular cataract extraction is performed for the comparatively matured cataract removal operation. This involves an incision on the side of the cornea and removal of the cataract from the eye.

Cataract eye surgery side effects:

Cataract surgery provides the safest way to improve vision. In spite of a successful cataract surgery you may feel some post-operative side effects from the surgery. There are some common complications from cataract surgery that are normal to have.

Foggy vision after cataract surgery (Blurry vision):

This is a common side effect of cataract surgery. Blurriness is a temporary complication which stays for a few days. Usually the blurry vision is caused by the swelling which occurs due to the surgery. Larger and mature cataract surgery may result in a temporary blurriness for some patients. If this persists then you must contact your doctor.

Pain in the eye after cataract surgery:

This is one of the rarest cataract eye surgery side effects. The surgery involves superficial layer of your eye. This may cause you some pain after the surgery. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help or doctor’s prescribed medicine can help in intense discomfort or pain.

Eye redness after cataract surgery:

This side effect is caused by inflammation and or a broken blood vessel into the eyes. This usually occurs in those patients who had laser cataract surgery. The red spot or bloodshot on the eyes looks scary but this is harmless and goes away on its own in a few weeks.

Floaters in eyes after cataract surgery:

Tiny particles of protein or collagen into the eyes are called floaters. The cataract surgery causes posterior vitreous detachment and the vitreous separates from the retina which produces the floaters. The floaters make you see spots, lines, and shadows. You may see some flashing light after cataract surgery and also you may see some flickering in the eye after cataract surgery. Usually these problems go away within a few months.

Watering eyes after cataract surgery:

Tearing eyes after cataract surgery is common. Discharge of clear fluid from the eyes after cataract surgery is normal for many patients. The cataract surgery may affect the patient’s tear-film production and stability. Also the post operation medicine may cause you irritation and tear-film disruption in the eyes. Further, you may feel scratchy, sticky, or discomfort in the eyes after the cataract surgery which may cause you watering eyes. It may take a few days to get back into normal condition.

Dry eye or eye itching after cataract surgery:

Dry eyes are common for many people who are aging 55 or more. The cataract surgery makes them more aware of it. During the incision a small number of nerves get cut to reach to the lens of the eye. This affects the tear production as these nerves stop sending feedback to the eyes on the production of tears for the lubrication and this makes the eyes dry. Also the ocular inflammation which may adversely affect the tear-film production and stability. This may stay for months until they heal. During the healing process you may also feel itching in the eyes. At that time your doctor may suggest some lubricating eye drops.

Eye burns after cataract surgery:

As per a study published in a journal Acta Ophthalmologica, researchers found that upto 52% people experience burning, itchiness, and weeping eyes after cataract surgery. It is common for patients who have recently undergone cataract surgery. Dry eye after a cataract surgery can be one of the causes of eye burn. This may take upto 3 months to heal and slowly the eye burning goes away.

Inflammation in eye after cataract surgery:

Inflammation in the eye is one of the common cataract eye surgery side effects. This usually happens if the patient had a mature or large cataract surgery. The inflammation can cause you to have blurry vision and light sensitivity.

Light sensitivity:

Light sensitivity is common for many people due to the dry eyes after cataract surgery. Extreme light sensitivity can be caused by infection or may be caused by inflammation which is called as iritis. In this situation a doctor may prescribe you some eye drop and wearing sunglasses for a few months in sunlight may help you.

Droopy eyelid:

Droopy eyelid which is known as Ptosis in medical terms. The drooping of the upper eyelid can be a result of cataract surgery as during the cataract surgery few nerves in the eye that control the muscles of the eyelid get damaged. It usually gets instigated due to the usage of speculum for pulling back of your eyelid during the operation to access the eye. There is no need to be afraid about this as this goes away in 4-6 months on its own.

Discomfort feeling in the eyes:

It’s normal to feel discomfort in the eye for a couple of days after the cataract surgery. It feels like something is there in the eye. This happens because of the small incision in your eye during the cataract surgery. This should heal within a week or so. This may last up upto 3 months.

During the cataract surgery some patients require stitches or suture in the eyes. Hence, until the sutures are removed from the eyes this may cause you some discomfort in the eye.

Posterior capsule opacity (PCO):

PCO is one of the side effects of cataract surgery but this does not occur in every patients. This usually happens after cataract surgery in a few patients. This occurs in around 14 to 60 % of patients. In the cataract surgery the surgeon removes the cloudy front part of the lens. However, they leave the back part in place. Here the secondary cataract may occur. Posterior capsule opacity (PCO) can make your vision blurry. This is common for people who have diabetes or have recently undergone cataract surgery.

Glare and halos or unwanted Images:

You may see some glare and halos or unwanted images after the cataract surgery. You may see this in low light or during the night time. This is called Dyphotopsia. Right eyeglasses can fix the problem.

Cataract surgery is a very common procedure to perform for removing cataract from eyes. The techniques have changed and improved over the years but you can still expect some side effects from it. Cataract eye surgery side effects are common for every patient who has recently undergone a cataract surgery. Most of these side effects go away in a few weeks however, if any of these side effects stay for more than 3 months then you should contact your Ophthalmologist.

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