Q:

What are the potential risks for cataract removal surgery?

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Risks of cataract surgery include endophthalmitis, cystoid macular edema, retinal detachment, posteriorly dislocated lens material and choroidal hemorrhage, reports Dr. Vincent Patalano II for the Digital Journal of Ophthalmology. These complications are rare, as around 95 percent of all cataract surgeries are completely successful.

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Endophthalmitis, or introacular infection, may occur even if doctors and patients follow all presurgery and postsurgery procedures, states Dr. Patalano II. These procedures include application of topical antibiotic eye drops, disinfection of the skin around the eye with antiseptic compounds and covering of the patient's face with sterile sheets before surgery. Even with the proper precautions, endophthalmitis affects about one in 3,000 patients. Eye redness, worsening vision, eye pain and light sensitivity are symptoms of endophthalmitis, which typically requires the injection of introacular antibiotics into the infected eye or even additional surgeries.

Cystoid macular edema occurs when fluid pools into the macula following cataract surgery, explains Dr. Patalano II. This results from postsurgery inflammation and the leaking of fluid from retinal blood vessels. Diminished central vision is the prime symptom of cystoid macular edema. Topical steroid eye drops or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops may reduce inflammation.

The risk of cataract surgery complications increases with the number of eye conditions of the patient, according to WebMD. Prospective cataract surgery patients should reveal all medications and conditions to their doctors, as alpha-blockers and blood thinners may also cause complications.

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