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.
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