What Are the Abnormal Symptoms After Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a common and safe procedure, but it can come with some side effects. If you've recently had cataract surgery, it's important to be aware of the symptoms that could indicate a complication. Blurred vision that doesn't go away after a week is one of the most common signs of a problem. Other symptoms include feeling like you have sand in your eye, dry eyes, extreme sensitivity to light, bleeding, swelling, and ocular hypertension.

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor immediately. If the blurred vision doesn't go away after a week, 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. Sometimes blurred vision is caused by PCO, 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, fogs up or wrinkles 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. Sometimes there are other causes that need to be addressed. Extreme sensitivity to light can be a sign of infection. If you experience this, call your eye doctor immediately. It can also cause more serious problems, such as bleeding and swelling.

You may need surgery to put it back in place or to place a new one. It's rare, but during surgery, the blood vessels that supply the retina may start to bleed for no reason. A little blood isn't a problem, but larger amounts can cause vision loss. Swelling, bleeding, or leftover fragments of the lens can cause increased pressure on the eye, which can cause glaucoma. Suprachoroidal hemorrhage can occur in people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or other existing conditions after cataract surgery. This complication is rare, but requires immediate attention to avoid loss of vision.

Sometimes, the eye tissue surrounding the intraocular lens (IOL) becomes cloudy and can cause blurred vision. This condition is called a posterior cataract. A subsequent cataract can develop months or even years after cataract surgery. It can be successfully treated with a YAG laser capsulotomy. Ocular hypertension, an increase in pressure in the eye, is one of the most common risks of cataract surgery.

Recovery from cataract surgery usually lasts a short time, and you can resume many of your normal daily activities. Because cataract surgery only involves the surface layers of the eye, over-the-counter pain relievers generally help. The most common complication of cataract surgery is swelling of the cornea or the outer window of the eye. 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. This is the most common complication of most cataract surgeries and appears up to 8 weeks after the procedure. Some of the complications of cataract surgery aren't as complicated as the expected side effects.

Doctors can take certain steps during cataract surgery to reduce a person's chance of experiencing dry eyes after surgery, including complete eye irrigation. Dry eyes after cataract surgery is usually temporary, and people can find relief with artificial tears or medications, such as cyclosporine. Because the symptoms of normal side effects and serious complications are so similar, you might be wondering when it's worth calling your doctor after cataract surgery. Talk to your eye doctor about possible risks to make sure that cataract surgery is right for you. This is rare, but it's more common in people who had other eye conditions besides cataracts, even before surgery. Infections after cataract surgery are rare, but if you have one, you'll get an injection of antibiotics in your eye.

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