How Cataract Surgery Affects Three Forms Of Existing Eye Conditions

Cataract surgery is performed to remove clouded areas of the natural lens of the eye. An artificial lens is then used to replace the natural one. This form of surgery is successful over 85% of the time. However, it can affect you in different ways if you have other existing eye conditions. Here are three examples of such cases:

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is a condition in which diabetes damages your retinal blood vessels. Symptoms of the disease include blurred vision, floaters, and difficulty with color perception. Diabetic retinopathy may accelerate after cataract surgery. The progression is particularly fast if you undergo two forms of cataract surgical techniques known as:

  • Intracapsular – a very large incision is made to remove the entire natural eye lens (as well as its capsule). This method is seldom used today.
  • Extracapsular – a relatively smaller incision is made in your eyes to remove the cataract.

However, the progression isn't much when the surgery is done via phacoemulsification, a procedure in which a tiny incision is made in your eye. A probe is then inserted through the tiny hole to break up the cataract and remove it via suction.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a deterioration of the macula (central part of the retina) that occurs in old age. Its symptoms include reduced color perception and blurred central vision. It leads to total blindness only in rare cases.

According to Medical News Today, your AMD is likely to improve if you undergo cataract surgery. You would especially benefit from the procedure if your pre-surgical vision was at least 20/40. It also helps to take high doses of the vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene, as well as the mineral zinc.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

This is a common cause of vision loss in which portions of the retinal veins are blocked. The blockage increases the pressure within the vessels, and blood leakage usually ensues. Retinal vein occlusion strikes without warning and is usually painless, with the main symptom being partial or complete loss of vision in one eye.

If you have retinal vein occlusion and undergo cataract surgery, then your risk of developing cystoid macular edema increases. This complication is one of the most common, as far as cataract surgery is concerned. Treatment for this condition is not clear-cut, but anti-inflammatory medications usually seem to help.

The eye conditions discussed above underscore the need for candid consultation before undergoing advanced cataract surgery. Discuss with the doctor all your eye symptoms, existing conditions, and past treatments. Only after that will your surgeon advise you on your chances of benefiting from the surgery and the expected complications.