Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cataract Surgery Complications

Question: My mom-in-law had cataract sx two days ago. Today on a p/o visit, she was told she has a "major eye bleed". I worked in an Ophthamology Surgicenter for more than 15 years and absolutely do not remember this complication, ever. She's in surgery now to repair the stitch that never closed the incision. We were told she has a 1 in 30 chance of having vision in the eye when it is healed. How common is this complication? Are there any stats that show better odds? Thanks.

Answer: Cataract Surgery complications are generally pretty rare and typically less than 5% in otherwise healthy patients. Certain health conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma and other blood and healing problems can increase the complication rate but are still considered somewhat rare. Bleeding is a very unusual short term complication of Cataract Surgery. Bleeding inside the back of the eye is quite rare. A chorodial hemorrhage can infrequently and unpredictably occur during Cataract Surgery and for no apparent reason. Acute bleeding can occur in the choroid, which is the delicate pattern of blood vessels underlying and nourishing the retina. Although this complication, called "choroidal hemorrhage" is more common among elderly patients, it is truly unpredictable. In some cases of choroidal hemorrhage, the bleeding is localized, and patients do well. In more severe cases of choroidal hemorrhage, visual loss can be substantial.

While bleeding can occur inside the front of the eye where the actually surgery is being performed, this too is rare-especially since the tiny incision is made in the clear portion of the cornea where there are no blood vessels. If bleeding does occur it is usually limited to the surface of the eye where your surgeon can easily cauterize it and stop it immediately.

Important Note: The information presented on the About Cataract Surgery Blog or provided in response to a request for information in the Ask Cataract Surgeons section on www.aboutcataractsurgery.com is not intended to diagnose or treat eye problems, eye conditions or eye diseases including appropriateness of treatment, risks, complications or side effects as related to LASIK. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask Cataract Surgeons section of www.aboutcataractsurgery.com is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.

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