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Cataract Surgery: Effectiveness, Risks, Considerations



This surgery is a procedure which involves replacing a part of the lens in your eye, specifically where a cataract is present. A cataract is a cloudy region in the lens, where you feel no pain, but is capable of blocking vision. There are two different methods of replacing this lens:

  1. Artificial lens will be placed in the eye, the most common method of this surgery. However, there are some cases where glasses or contact lens will still be necessary after the procedure.
  2. There are some rare cases where the lens can’t be replaced, in which cases special glasses or contact lens will need to be worn.
Cataract Surgery Illustration

Cataract Surgery Illustration


The effectiveness of cataract surgery is recorded to be quite good, especially if no other eye problem is present in the patient, such as glaucoma or retina problems. However, as mentioned earlier, while most patients see better after the surgery, some still need prescription glasses afterwards for near and far vision.

In fact, patients who had nearsightedness or farsightedness may not even require any type of prescription lens after the surgery because these problems can be solved with replacing the lens, as per cataract surgery. Note that this surgery is not specifically performed to address these problems.


Post-cataract surgery problems are typically uncommon. Sometimes, the vision in the eye becomes blurry for 2-3 days, but this is not abnormal and will disappear as the eye adapts to the new lens. Another common problem is that the cloudiness will slowly return months or years after the surgery, due to a part of the lens becoming cloudy. However, this problem can be corrected with laser surgery.

If you are concerned over serious risks that can occur, its recorded that less than 5 out of every 100 patients will get these. These can include:

  1. Infection in the eye (endophthalmitis): Can lead to blindness, a very rare condition that occurs in less than 1 out of every 100 patients
  2. New astigmatism: Can be treated with prescription lens
  3. Retina swelling: Condition that will disappear after a few weeks
  4. Bits of the cataract remaining in the eye: This can lead to problems such as retinal detachment, Uveitis, cornea inflammation, or other eye problems. However, a procedure called vitrectomy can be performed to remove these bits.
  5. Retinal Detachment: The chance of this occurring is higher after cataract surgery

The problems that can occur after cataract surgery can indeed be treated with other procedures, but these may actually cause further problems or potentially more severe problems in the eye, such as blindness or poor vision.

Considering Cataract Surgery

A cataract that is left alone will gradually get worse and cause worse eyesight and vision problems. In such cases, you will no longer be able to perform daily tasks by yourself, drive safely, and will lose balance and cause self injuries more often.

From a doctor’s perspective, a cataract also makes it harder to diagnose other eye problems, including damage caused by diabetes in the eye. As well, the longer you wait to perform cataract surgery, the more severe it becomes, and the higher the likelihood of problems occurring after surgery.

Cataract surgery is also become more and more advanced in countries such as Canada and the United States, so it rarely causes blindness or severe problems in most cases.

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