Cataract Surgery Side Effects

What Are The Side Effects Of Cataract Surgery

An understanding of the potential side effects of cataract surgery is always good to know ahead of time, although your ophthalmologist or eye surgeon will almost always tell you what the possible side effects may be.

Eye cataracts are not uncommon. As we get older, many of us will develop cataracts, but only a small percentage of them will actually require surgery. Cataracts for the most part can go unnoticed. If they become large enough, they may begin to affect the quality of vision, but surgery is still often not a necessity. At some point however they become severe enough that surgery is definitely called for, and at that point many will begin to wonder what the chances of success are, what risks are involved, and whether there will be any unpleasant side effects of cataract surgery.

Generally speaking, the chances of success are very high, and as far as risk is involved, cataract surgery is one of the safest types of surgery you can have. Depending upon the nature and progression of a cataract, a person undergoing cataract surgery may suffer some vision impairment as a side effect, but such an occurrence is really not very common. Most people who have cataract surgery report that their vision is better than it has been in years, and in most cases perfectly normal. Other side effects which may occur include double vision, inflammation, or changes in eye pressure, all of which are easily treated. If one does suffer side effects from cataract surgery it most often has to do with another eye disorder, condition, or disease that was present at the time the surgery was being done.

Protein Clumps - Just what causes cataracts anyway? Cataracts are for the most part age related. The lens in our eye is filled with a substance which consists mainly of water and some protein. As long as the protein remains in suspension, which is the case for most people, a cataract will not form. Sometimes however, the protein begins to clump up, clouding the lens and reducing the intensity of light that strikes the retina. As the cloudiness becomes more severe, vision begins to be impaired and often becomes blurred.

Cataracts Develop Slowly - We often are unaware that we have cataracts for a long time as the clumps of protein are very small at first and grow very slowly, so it's not as if one day someone suddenly turns the lights off. One day however we may come to the realization that we haven't been seeing quite as well as we used to, and eyeglasses don't seem to be a part of the problem. An eye exam will quickly disclose if a cataract is present or not. A cataract can also take the form of discoloration in the lens rather than a clumping effect. Vision is not so much impaired as it is altered, especially in the perception of colors.

Contributing Factors - While the type of lifestyle we live will usually not be a cause of cataracts, certain things we do can increase the risk or likelihood we may develop one. Spending too much time in the sun without eye protection can increase the risk of a cataract forming, as can smoking and alcohol. Smoking affects a great deal more than our lungs when it comes to health. Steroid use is another contributing factor. Diabetics are at a higher risk of having cataracts, and certain other systemic diseases can place one at a higher risk as well.


If you have a cataract it may exist in one eye only although many are treated for cataracts in both eyes. A cataract is not a disorder that spreads from one eye to another, not is it a contagious disease. If you have a cataract in one eye, the chances of your developing one in the other are probably higher than normal, but that is by no means a sure thing.

In Summary, Side Effects Of Cataract Surgery Are Quite Rare - If you do elect to have cataract surgery, remember that in more than 90% of all cases, any side effects of cataract surgery other than temporary and easily treated disorders are quite rare. More than 90% of those having the surgery done experience better vision than they have had for quite some time.