What Are the Signs of an Eye Infection After Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a common and safe procedure, but it's important to be aware of the potential risks. Infections after cataract surgery are rare, but if you experience any symptoms such as severe pain, reduced quick-onset vision, progressive swelling or redness of the eye, or smelly discharge from the eye after surgery, you should urgently see your eye doctor. In some cases, the doctor may need to inject antibiotics into your eye or remove the vitreous, the clear gel found in the center of the eye, to prevent the infection from spreading. Blurred vision that doesn't go away after a week is another sign that you should see your eye doctor.

Other causes of continuous blurred vision include residual refractive error (the eyes still need additional correction with glasses), dry eyes, or opacity of the back capsule (PCO). Many people complain that they feel like they have sand in their eye or that their eye itches after surgery. This is a normal sensation caused by the small incision in the eye and should heal in about a week. If you have dry eyes, the discomfort may last longer, up to three months.Some patients with cataracts require a stitch or a suture in the eye during surgery.

This shouldn't bother you, but sometimes the suture needs to be removed after surgery. PCO is a fairly common complication that can occur weeks, months, or (more often) years after cataract surgery. It occurs when the lens capsule, the membrane that holds the new intraocular lens in place, becomes blurry or wrinkled and begins to blur your vision. PCO is the result of cells growing in the membrane over time, similar to scar tissue.Ongoing dry eyes and blepharitis can also cause continued sensitivity to light.

Endophthalmitis is an infection of the tissues or fluids inside the eyesight and is an urgent medical emergency. If you experience extreme sensitivity to light, call your eye doctor immediately. Suprachoroidal hemorrhage can occur in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or other existing conditions after cataract surgery.Up to half of people who have cataract surgery will experience some increase in eye pressure after the procedure, but pressure levels usually return to normal within 24 hours. Intracameral injection of antibiotics at the end of cataract surgery has led to a reduction in cases of endophthalmitis.

Correcting or treating these risk factors before cataract surgery is desirable to reduce the risk of infection.If you experience any symptoms after cataract surgery that don't go away within a week, it's important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible. Recovery from cataract surgery usually lasts a short time and you can resume many of your normal daily activities. Over-the-counter pain relievers generally help with any discomfort caused by cataract surgery.

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