Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cornea Swelling and Cataract Surgery

Question: I had cataract surgery 4 days ago. The surgeon said I had cornea edema. My vision is still awfully blurry (has improved). I have the toric lens implant. Is the blurry vision normal and about how long does it take for the vision to be "better than before?"

Answer: A mild amount of corneal edema after Cataract Surgery is not terribly uncommon. A great deal of corneal edema that takes more than a few days or perhaps up to a week to clear is unusual and may suggest that there is a weakening of the "pumping" function of the cornea whereby it clears itself of fluid. The term for this is "pseudophakic corneal edema". Some Cataract Surgeons will attempt to "clear" the corneal edema by prescribing hypertonic saline eye drops to draw the water out of the cornea whereas others will simply wait to see if it gets better on its own. An important point is that you state it is improving and not getting worse. This is significant and favorable. If you are not already scheduled to do so and if you do not experience a considerable improvement with a week you should return to your Cataract Surgeon for follow up.

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 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 Cataracts, Cataract Surgery of Lens Implants. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask Cataract Surgeons section of is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.


  1. I have the same issue. My cornea is swollen and the vision is blurry after five fays. I am wondering if the original person ever got normal improved vision.

  2. I have the same issue as anonymous 1/12/12. One day after surgery my vision is very poor 20/200 or worse. The doctor said it was due to corneal swelling. How common is this? Is it a result of a poor incision by the doctor? Someone please respond.

  3. Some degree of corneal swelling after cataract surgery is not uncommon and can occur due to the overall health of the cornea as well as the surgical procedure. In the vast majority of instances it self limits in a short period of time as the cornea is quite capable of "deswelling" itself if it is otherwise healthy.

    1. I am having the same issue. I had the cataract surgery 36 hrs ago and my vision is still very blurry. I am trying not to over-worry but I had already had an ICL procedure 4 months in the same eye and then seem to have developed the cataract. So they had to take the ICL out as well as my lens and I think that may have required a larger opening. Going back to the dr tomorrow but I am getting concerned.