Is Cataract Surgery Always Successful?

If you have been told you need Cataract Surgery, you probably have a lot of questions about the procedure. For many people, the first questions that come to mind understandably relate to safety. For example: “Is Cataract Surgery always successful?”

When undergoing any kind of surgical procedure, we all want to know what the chances are of success. In some cases, this information can help us to make the right decision regarding the procedure; however, when it comes to cataracts, surgery is the only effective solution, which makes the success rate even more important.

So, what is the success rate of Cataract Surgery?

Humans have been looking for effective solutions to the formation of cataracts for thousands of years. While early methods of cataract removal and “couching” offered the chance of temporarily improved vision, the risk of complications and even blindness were extremely high.

Thankfully, advancements over the last century mean that Cataract Surgery is now considered an extremely safe procedure. In fact, as one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures worldwide, it is estimated to have a 95-98% success rate.

What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataracts are a completely normal part of the eye’s ageing process. They begin to form as proteins in the lens break down and clump together, causing the lens to become cloudy and vision impaired. While it can take years for cataracts to begin to significantly affect vision, if left untreated for too long, they can ultimately cause blindness.

Cataract surgery is now a routine minor procedure in many countries worldwide. In the UK alone, it is estimated that the NHS performs around 400,000 procedures annually.

During the procedure, the surgeon creates a small incision on the surface of the eye. Through this small opening, the cataract-obstructed lens is removed and an artificial intraocular lens is put in its place.

This may sound a little gory but thanks to the use of local anaesthetic and state-of-the-art technology, most patients don’t experience any pain at all. At London Vision Clinic, all of our patients have full access to their surgeon throughout the whole process – starting with pre-operative consultations where you will be given as much information as possible regarding your treatment.

The Success Rate of Cataract Surgery

As mentioned above, Cataract Surgery is an extremely safe and effective procedure. The vast majority of procedures are considered successful with no significant complications; however, it is important to be aware of the potential risks, as well as any factors that could affect your chance of experiencing complications.

With a success rate of approximately 98%, most patients do not require any further treatment. However, cataracts become more difficult to treat as they mature.

Over time, cataracts become increasingly dense, hard, and cloudy. If left untreated, hyper-mature cataracts become more challenging to remove, increasing the risk of complications. It is therefore important to be aware of the early signs of cataracts and meet regularly with an eye doctor who will be able to spot any changes to your eyes.

Potential Complications of Cataract Surgery

While serious complications as a result of Cataract Surgery are extremely rare, they can occur. Some potential complications include:

  • Infection
  • Retinal detachment
  • Retention of some of the cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Haemorrhage (bleeding)
  • Worsening of certain eye conditions
  • Failure to improve vision

Since the introduction of laser-assisted Cataract Surgery, in which a high-precision laser is used to create the surface incision, the success rate of the procedure is even higher. While traditional Cataract Surgery is still considered safe and effective, recent figures indicate that laser-assisted surgery is slightly more likely to achieve target refractive outcomes.

Having Cataract Surgery done on both eyes at the same time may also affect the risk of complications.

If you do require treatment on both eyes, it is likely that your surgeon will recommend performing the procedures a few days apart. While performing the surgery on both eyes at the same time is still safe, there may be an increased risk of infection which can lead to other serious complications.

Waiting a few days between eyes also allows your surgeon to monitor the first eye’s reaction to the procedure and make any necessary adjustments for the second eye. Giving your first eye time to heal will also ensure that you have some vision when the second eye is recovering.

If you have any questions about the success rate of Cataract Surgery at London Vision Clinic, get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators today. Alternatively, Book a Consultation to start your journey to clear, cataract-free vision.