What Are The Side Effects Of Cataract Surgery?

What Are The Side Effects Of Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed medical procedures in the United States. It’s also one of the safest procedures is since it’s performed frequently. But any surgery carries its share of risks and side effects.

It’s important to make a distinction between side effects and potential risks. Side effects are normal and affect most people who have the surgery.

Risks denote rare complications. When it comes to procedures like cataract surgery, it’s important to know what to expect! Keep reading to learn some of the common side effects and potential complications!


After surgery, your eyes will be swollen and red for a while. This is normal and should go away after the first day or so. Your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory drops.

These need to be taken before and after the procedure to reduce inflammation. They also help prevent infection. If you care for your eyes, discomfort due to inflammation should be minimal.


Some patients report irritated and itchy eyes and the feeling of having grit in their eye. This is normal, but it’s important to not rub your eyes! Even if they are itchy and irritated, rubbing them can cause complications.

To relieve itching, you can use artificial tears if your doctor allows you to. The itching should go away after a day or two. If it lasts longer and is particularly intense, you should call your doctor.

Light Sensitivity

For the first few days after surgery, your eye may be sensitive to light. To combat this, rest and recover in rooms with low light. If you go out, you should wear sunglasses both to see and to protect your eyes from UV damage.

Impaired Vision

During the cataract surgery recovery period, many patients have blurry vision or see halos. This can continue for several weeks after surgery. It’s nothing to worry about as long your vision isn’t completely impeded.

If you find you have trouble seeing even after you’ve healed, you should consult your doctor. You may need a new prescription to see well again.

Rare Complications

Complications with cataract surgery are rare but they do occur. Two of the more common complications are infections and retinal detachment.

You can tell if you have an infection since your eye will still be inflamed several days after surgery. It also won’t show any signs of getting better. If you think you have an infection, call your doctor.

If your retina detaches, you may see flashes of light and floaters in your vision. These flashes and floaters make it difficult to see at all. If you think you have a retinal detachment, you should go to the hospital immediately! Retinal detachment is a medical emergency and needs immediate surgical intervention.

The chances of a retinal detachment due to cataract surgery are very low. Retinal detachment only occurs in about 1 in 3,000 patients. However, your risk can be higher depending on your medical history. Be sure to discuss all potential risks with your doctor well before surgery.

Have cataracts? Think it’s time to do something about them? Contact New England Eye Center today to schedule a cataract screening!

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