Stephen A Vernon
There are always risks involved in any surgery. Fortunately the rate of complications with modern cataract surgery performed by a skilled surgeon is very low. Complications can be divided into problems that occur during the operation and those that occur after surgery to an eye that has had a perfectly good operation.
In the former we are talking about technical problems. Most of these are minor and can be easily dealt with at the time and, although the operation may take a little longer, the outcome is usually not affected. However on rare occasions surgery has to be cut short and the patient must return to theatre after a few days/weeks for further surgery to be carried out. In between the two operations the vision may be very blurred.
The most serious post operative complication is infection. This is very rare when all the known preventative measures are taken in modern surgery (about 1 in 2000 cases) but can be devastating to vision with the possibility of losing vision altogether in the operated eye. Other complications can usually be successfully managed without a detrimental outcome but it is always possible that further surgery may be required at a later date.
The main risks with cataract surgery include bleeding or infection inside the eye, both of which occur in less than 1 per 1000 cases. Further surgery after a complicated cataract operation is required in 1 in 200 cases. As with any intraocular operation, there is a very small risk of complete blindness in the operated eye.