Is Cataract Surgery with Vision-Correcting IOLs Safe?

Cataract surgery is a very safe procedure, with nearly 98 percent being performed without serious complications. In fact, a recent study of more than 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries who underwent cataract surgery between 1994 and 2006 found that 99.5 percent of patients had no severe postoperative complications. Advances in surgical tools and techniques are helping to further reduce the already rare risk of serious complications from cataract surgery. All cataract surgeries involve the implantation of an artificial lens – called an intraocular lens, or IOL. Therefore, cataract surgery with vision-correcting intraocular lens technology carries a similar low risk profile of all cataract surgery. That said, all surgery comes with a degree of risk – even a very small one – and you and your eye surgeon should discuss your procedure in detail so you can make the best decision for you and your vision.

While complications after cataract surgery are uncommon, the good news is that most can be treated successfully. Your personal medical history and eye health may contribute significantly to your risk of complications from cataract surgery. Some of the risks of cataract surgery include:

  • Inflammation and/or infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Posterior capsule opacity
  • Loss of vision

A potential complication of cataract surgery with vision-correcting IOLs is residual halos, glare and blurry vision specifically from the placement of the lens or the lens itself. It is important to discuss all of your medical history and, specifically, any eye problems you may have before making the decision to have cataract surgery.

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Answers to questions about LASIK, PRK and vision-correcting cataract surgery.

Glossary

ARSC’s vocabulary of vision

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