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What are the risks of cataract surgery?

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Quick Answer

Cataract surgery may result in bleeding, inflammation, vision loss, retinal detachment and infection, according to Mayo Clinic. Other risks of cataract procedures include glaucoma, swelling and secondary cataract. Patients with another eye disease or other serious diseases have high chances of developing complications after cataract surgery. In most cases, however, the procedure is safe, and the complications of cataract surgery are treatable.

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Full Answer

Cataract surgery is an outpatient treatment that involves removing the eye lens and possibly replacing it with an artificial one, notes Mayo Clinic. The procedure lasts for up to one hour. Doctors recommend cataract surgery when cataracts cause poor vision, hindering a person's normal activities. It is also applicable when cataracts make it difficult to treat another eye condition.

Preparation for cataract surgery may involve performing an ultrasound test, which measures the eye size and shape in order to choose appropriate lens implant, explains Mayo Clinic. The patient also avoids medications that may predispose him to bleeding. During the procedure, a doctor first dilates the pupil with eye drops, administers local anesthesia and sedates the patient. The surgeon cuts an incision, removes the damaged lens and implants a healthy artificial lens as needed. Alternatively, the surgeon may remove the damaged lens through phacoemulsification, which involves breaking up and removing the damaged lens with ultrasound waves.

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