When it comes to surgical procedures involving the eye, it’s normal to feel anxious and uneasy.
However, cataract surgery is extremely successful, boasting success rates of around 98 percent. So, in healthy eyes without other problems apart from cataracts, it’s safe and serious complications are uncommon.
Nevertheless, you might still need some reassurance - which is precisely what this blog is for.
Here’s an honest explanation as to the safety of cataract surgery from a trusted surgeon.
What are the Common Complication Misconceptions?
Let’s start by discussing some of the most common questions about cataract surgery complications.
“Is there a high risk of the operation going wrong?”
As with any surgery, there’s some degree of risk.
Fortunately, cataract surgery is well-known for its very high success rates. At approximately 98 percent, there’s far more chance of a successful procedure than an unsuccessful one.
In an uncomplicated eye, the risk of adverse events is low.
As long as you’re in good health and aren’t experiencing any other major eye problems, your procedure and recovery should be smooth.
That’s why an ophthalmologist should carry out an initial assessment of your eyes before the surgery. It’s to check the condition of your eyes.
- Whether you’re long sighted, near sighted or have astigmatism and if so, to what degree.
- The pros and cons of your surgery for your condition.
- Whether you’ll need glasses after the surgery.
- How long it’ll take you to fully recover.
If complications do happen, most can be treated with medicines or follow-up treatments.
“What if I’m given the wrong anaesthetic dose?”
Local anaesthetic is applied so, although you’re awake, you shouldn’t feel any pain. Many people worry that they won’t be given enough anaesthetic.
Anaesthetists and surgeons are highly qualified and highly trained.
In short, they know what they’re doing and how much dosage to give you. And before the procedure begins, your surgeon will check to make sure you truly can’t feel anything.
If you are still aware of sensation, more anesthetic will be given before the procedure begins.
“What if my eyes are permanently damaged?”
Obviously, this is a huge worry for many patients. But again, there’s no need to worry. Your surgeon will not only be qualified but they’ll also be highly trained and experienced. Like the anaesthetist, they know what they’re doing.
However, one thing you can do to ensure that this risk is significantly minimal is to choose the right cataract surgeon. Make sure you do your research. Look for reviews, success rates, referrals and qualifications.
The better all of these are, the better your surgeon is likely to be and the more likely your operation is going to run without a bump.
“Is there a high risk of infection?”
The outcome is very favourable for cataract surgery. So, the risk of infection is very low.
However, I know this is what practically every website and blog about cataract surgery will say so I’ll be more transparent.
With modern cataract surgery, infection inside the eye occurs in less than 1 in 1000 cases.
Although slim, there is still some potential for complications developing. As we should expect from any type of surgery.
These complications include
- Retinal detachment.
- Eye inflammation and swelling.
- Cataract fragments still being inside the eye.
- Worsening of particular eye conditions e.g. diabetic retinopathy.
- If other eye conditions are present (e.g. macular degeneration), vision potentially not improving.
As scary as these complications sound, keep in mind that they are very infrequently seen. And they can be corrected or improved in most cases with medication or further surgery.
In addition, your surgeon should have performed an initial assessment of your eyes in order to evaluate how suitable for the surgery you are and how likely complications are to occur.
Is Cataract Surgery Worth it?
The lens of our eyes should be clear if we’re to see properly.
However, as we age, they can start to develop cloudy or frosted patches - rather like a bathroom window. This prevents us from being able to see properly.
Some people may only have mild cataracts and in these cases, they may still be able to live normally.
However, even some types of mild cataracts can be very symptomatic.
Glasses will not help. The only thing that can cure cataracts is surgery.
If you’re wondering whether cataracts can be left untreated, the answer is yes, you can wait, but it’s not advised.
Because cataracts generally worsen over time, meaning that your vision will continue to deteriorate.
You won’t be able to drive (at least, not safely!) and night driving especially can be very difficult due to glare. Studies confirm that that your overall quality of life will be affected.
Research shows a greater risk of falling and suffering a fractured hip or other injuries in those patients who have cataracts.
Research has also shown that there is a 40 percent lower long-term mortality risk in those who had cataract surgery!
Some people can even become legally blind if their cataracts are left untreated for a long period of time.
It’s impossible to predict how quickly this condition will worsen as it depends on the individual.
But the general consensus is that as soon as you notice your vision beginning to deteriorate, don’t wait. See your eye doctor as soon as possible and have your vision checked.
The longer you wait, the more your cataracts may develop.
If the cataracts becomes advanced, it means the harder it can be to remove them and the more likely complications may occur.
Make Sure You Find the Right Cataract Surgeon and Provider
Cataract surgery is a very safe operation that can help to correct and restore vision.
The procedure is very quick and relatively straightforward, lasting around 10-15 minutes.
Recovering from the surgery is typically smooth, but in order to ensure there are definitely no bumps, you should choose the right cataract surgeon and clinic.
For example, look for surgeons who aren’t just qualified but are highly experienced and have great success rates.
At Focus Clinic, our two surgeons have over 45 years of experience between them which shows just how skilled they are in the field of ophthalmology.
Then, you should look at the clinic.
Our centre is the only clinic in the UK with a 100 percent success rate for laser vision correction. This speaks to the quality of care we provide.
We’re also ranked #1 on independent review site Trustpilot as the leading private hospital, with a remarkable 9.9 out of 10 rating.
In addition, we offer a unique range of aftercare services that most other clinics don’t.
If you need a top-up laser correction to fine tune the vision, this is included free of charge.
Here’s Where to Read More About Cataract Surgery
This blog discusses a fraction of what cataract surgery is all about. If you’re interested in reading more about the procedure, benefits, risks or even just about cataracts in general, check out this page here.
Alternatively, if you want to learn everything you possibly can about cataract surgery, download our complete guide below.