Benefits and Risks of Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the world. Like any type of surgery, complications can occur during cataract surgery but are very rare. The rate of complications is the least with a very experienced and specialist cataract surgeon like Mr Maurino.

  • In the absence of other eye problems that may limit vision, around 95% of patients having cataract surgery will be able to achieve driving standard of vision or better without glasses after treatment.In patients with other eye disease associated with cataract, around 78% will achieve driving standards. This results are greatly improved by combining state of the art surgical and lens impact technology with great experience and expertise thus significantly increasing the safety and the outcomes of surgery.
  • Reading glasses are normally required after surgery, but dependence on spectacles for near vision can be reduced  by using premium multifocal or toric lenses.
  • Implants do not deteriorate after implantation and, in the absence of any new problems in the eye, clear vision should be permanent once recovery from the cataract surgery is complete. The most common reason for visual deterioration after cataract surgery is a frosting-over of the tissue surrounding the IOL, known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO or  Secondary Cataract). This is treated by YAG laser capsulotomy. This is relatively rare with modern IOL technology and can be sorted by a quick in office laser procedure lasting 2 minutes.
  • Although very rare, cataract surgery can result in visual loss. Complications that can cause serious visual loss after cataract surgery include infection, spontaneous rupture of sub-retinal blood vessels during surgery (choroidal haemorrhage), or untreatable retinal detachment. Such complications are extremely rare; but it is important to be aware that cataract surgery may result in loss of sight, and that you should immediately attend our Casualty Department at Moorfields (open 24/7) for an emergency eye examination if you experience either a progressive increase in pain or sudden loss of sight after cataract surgery. Sight-threatening complications such as retinal detachment or infection can often be treated successfully if they are caught at an early stage.
  • Approximately 1 in 300 patients will require a second operation to correct problems resulting from cataract surgery. In the vast majority of these patients, the final visual outcome is good, but visual recovery may be delayed.
  • Approximately 1 in 100 patients will require a laser procedure to further reduce spectacle dependence (such as for instance LASIK or LASEK).
  • Approximately 1 in 50 patients can experience sudden onset of floaters after cataract surgery. This can happen naturally with age and more commonly in patients with short sight. Floaters are usually well tolerated and the brain is able to ignore them, but you must be aware of this possibility. Also, if you experience sudden onset of flashing lights, floaters or any similar symptoms, you should be examined immediately to exclude a retinal involvement, which could cause a detached retina.

Other eye problems associated with cataracts

Other eye problems are also more common with age. 1 in 3 patients undergoing cataract surgery will have some other problem with eye health that may influence vision after surgery. A common example would be age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), where the central part of the retina (the macula) deteriorates causing problems with reading and overall visual clarity. Although unrelated problems such as ARMD may limit the visual improvement that can be obtained from cataract surgery, treating the cataract will still normally result in a worthwhile visual gain.

Read our customer testimonials