How Safe is a Cataract Replacement?

Are cataract replacements safe?

Cataract surgery involves implanting an artificial lens in the eye to replace a cloudy one. Cataracts usually develop in a person’s eye as they age, the lens begins to frost and limit the vision in the affected eye. The surgery itself is a straightforward procedure which should last anywhere between half an hour and forty-five minutes. It’s generally carried out during the day and you will be able to return home on the same day. The process involves the making of a tiny cut in the eye in order to remove the cloudy lens and insert a clear, plastic one in its place. The procedure is a painless one and the only anesthetic required is eye drops that make the eye surface go numb.

As with all operations, a certain level of risk is to be expected. The current estimate for serious complications arising as a result of cataract surgery is around one in every fifty cases. These risks include blurred vision, a varying degree of loss of vision and detached retinas. This last one is where the thin layer at the back of the eye, the retina, becomes loose. These complications can be remedied either through medication or additional surgery. There is an extremely small risk, estimated at around 1 in 1,000 cases, of permanent loss of sight occurring as a result of cataract surgery.

On the other hand, the benefits of undergoing cataract surgery include the ability to see things in focus again, being able to look directly at bright lights and see much less glare and being able to tell the difference between colours. If you are considering undergoing cataract surgery, the medical staff will discuss the procedure with you at length beforehand, including the potential risks and subsequent benefits.

The surgery cannot go ahead without your full consent and you are encouraged to ask as many questions and obtain as much information as you need. Cataract surgery is a common procedure and is a routine one for experienced surgeons who know what they are doing.


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