Cataract Surgery and the Higher Risk for Complications

November 29, 2016 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Cataract Surgery Eye Care

A man undergoing a glaucoma screeningModern cataract treatment is not only extremely safe, but it is a blessing in disguise for many patients. Often, patients who have their clouded natural lenses removed and replaced with premium, multi-focal intraocular lenses (IOLs) emerge from cataract surgery with superior unaided vision than they’ve had in years, if not decades. At Byrd Eye Clinic, we use the most advanced techniques and technologies to diagnose cataracts, perform cataract surgery, and place IOLs, which helps to ensure the best possible results for our valued patients.

Although cataract surgery has an exceptional safety profile, especially when performed by an experienced eye surgeon such as Dr. Thomas J. Byrd, there are risks associated with the surgery, as there are with any surgery. Likewise, there are factors that put certain patients at higher risk for complications from cataract surgery. Dr. Byrd discusses the issue of cataract surgery and the higher risk for complications during consultations at his Detroit, MI eye care clinic while screening patients for candidacy. Since the surgical removal of cataracts is the only permanent method of treating them - and when left untreated, cataracts will eventually lead to blindness - this is a case in which the potential benefit certainly outweighs the risk.

What Are the Risk Factors for Cataract Surgery Complications?

When meeting with patients prior to cataract surgery, Dr. Byrd takes full medical histories to assess their risk for undergoing the procedure. He then advises them of their risk and takes their risk factors into careful consideration when planning their surgeries.

The most common risk factors for cataract surgery complications include:

  • Previous eye trauma: Trauma to the eye is one of the leading causes of non-age-related cataracts. These cataracts can form immediately after the trauma or years later. The effects of the trauma may create issues during the surgical treatment of an age-related cataract, particularly when the time comes to calculate the power of the IOL.
  • Extreme nearsightedness: There was a time when people who were extremely myopic - or nearsighted - were at significantly higher risk of retinal detachment after undergoing cataract surgery. With modern cataract surgery techniques, however, this risk has decreased to the point that the statistical likelihood of extremely nearsighted patients suffering retinal detachment is essentially the same whether they undergo cataract surgery or not.
  • Previous eye surgeries: Patients who have undergone previous retinal or macular surgery are at higher risk of post-operative complications. This risk can be reduced through the application of anti-inflammatory medications for an extended period, as well as regular post-operative check-up appointments.
  • Diabetes: Diabetic patients are at higher risk of such complications as inaccurate IOL prescriptions due to increased intraocular pressure at the time calculations are made.
  • Glaucoma: Although glaucoma patients are at higher risk of complications by virtue of the fact that they have a serious eye disease that damages the optic nerve, there are some cases in which cataract surgery contributes to a decrease in intraocular pressure.

Learn More about Cataract Surgery and the Higher Risk for Complications

To learn more about the risk factors for complications during cataract surgery, please contact Byrd Eye Clinic today.

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