There is a less than 2 percent risk that a patient could suffer retinal detachment in the 20 years following cataract surgery. However, complications with the vitreous gel during the surgery increase this risk, particularly for older patients, according to MedicineNet.com.
Cataracts create an opacity within the lens of the eye, and phacoemulsification is a procedure that uses a high-speed, ultrasonic instrument to remove the clouded lens material while leaving in place as much of the natural lens capsule as possible. A new intraocular lens is put in place, which works with the natural lens capsule to support the vitreous gel. Vitreous gel movement is a vital factor in the cause of retinal detachments because it can put traction on the retina, leading to a tear or hole that begins the process of detachment, explains MedicineNet.com.
Retinal detachment is an emergency situation that requires immediate medical attention. The condition does not cause pain and can happen without warning. Sufferers commonly experience the appearance of floaters, flashes of light or the darkening of their peripheral vision. Eye doctors conduct eye exams and dilate the eyes to see the retina and whether it has detached from the underlying tissue of the eye. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent vision loss and the requirement for more serious operation, states WebMD.