What is a cataract?

Cataracts is an eye condition that causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy and hard, affecting the vision. Over time, cataracts can blur or dim the vision and can increase the glare from lights. In this case, your eye doctor might recommend undergoing cataract surgery.

What are the risks of cataract surgery?

Complications after cataract surgery are uncommon, and most can be treated successfully.

However, some cataract surgery risks can include:

  • Inflammation
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Dislocation of artificial lens
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Secondary cataract
  • Loss of vision

The risk of complications is far greater if you have another eye disease or a serious medical condition. Occasionally, cataract surgery fails to improve vision because of underlying eye damage from other conditions, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.

What happens during the procedure?

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure and takes about an hour or less to perform. Your doctor will first place eyedrops in your eye to dilate your pupil. You'll receive local anaesthetics to numb the area, and you may be given a sedative to help you relax. If you're given a sedative, you may remain awake, but groggy, during surgery.

During cataract surgery, the clouded lens is removed, and a clear artificial lens is usually implanted. In some cases, however, a cataract may be removed without implanting an artificial lens. After cataract surgery, expect your vision to begin improving within a few days. Your vision may be blurry at first as your eye heals and adjusts.

Cataract surgery successfully restores vision in the majority of people who have the procedure.