Lens replacement surgery complications: What you need to know

Lens replacement is a very commonly performed procedure, but as with any surgery, there are some risks to be aware of. Here at Optegra, we do everything we can to make lens replacement surgery as safe as possible. Our highly trained ophthalmic surgeons create a treatment plan which is tailored to each patient’s individual needs, and our dedicated eye hospitals and clinics feature the latest technology and equipment. This, combined with our exceptional aftercare, means that risks are kept to an absolute minimum.
Although complications are rare, it’s always best to understand the full facts before going ahead with any kind of surgery. Possible risks of lens replacement surgery are listed below.

Vision may not meet your expectations

At Optegra, we make sure our patients are fully informed about the likely success rates of surgery, and we won’t make any false promises about what you can expect. While we are confident that if we recommend you for surgery your vision will be significantly improved, you may still require glasses for some activities, such as reading and driving. The aim of surgery is usually to reduce dependence on glasses, rather than remove the need for them altogether. In some cases, a ‘top-up’ laser eye procedure can also be carried out to further improve results.


Glaring and halos after surgery

In the days and weeks after surgery, you might experience some visual glaring or halo effects in your eyes. In most cases this is only a short-term side effect that will reduce significantly in the first month, and will continue to improve over the first three months. Intraocular lenses (IOLs) can cause some glare, but this is rarely a problem in the long term. 


Red, sore or irritable eyes

Immediately after surgery, your eyes may feel sore, and in some cases they can appear very red, which is a sign that a blood vessel was disturbed during surgery. Like other side effects, this will usually disappear during the first weeks after surgery. You might also feel a ‘gritty’ sensation which irritates your eyes. This can be treated with eye drops, which will moisten the area and decrease discomfort. You should find things settle back down within 6-8 weeks.


Posterior Capsule Opacification

In some rare cases, the lens capsule in the eye can become cloudy after surgery. If this occurs, the next stage is for surgeons to use a tool called a YAG laser to clear away the cloudy section. After this secondary treatment, some patients find they have floaters in their vision, but these will usually settle down in time and cause no long-term problems.



Infection is rare, occurring in less than 0.05% of cases, and patients are given antibiotic eye drops to help guard against infection taking place. If you do notice anything unusual, such as pain or loss of vision, it’s important to report it to us as quickly as possible.


Retinal detachment

In some rare cases, the retina can become detached following surgery. This can be repaired by carrying out a further surgical procedure, but quality of vision is not always quite the same as before the retinal detachment.


Cystoid macula oedema

The macula is the part of the retina that provides detailed central vision. Occasionally after surgery this can swell, causing a disruption to vision. This can be treated with eye drops in most cases, with swelling usually subsiding and vision returning to normal.


The importance of aftercare

The above side effects demonstrate why aftercare is so important. Once you have had lens replacement surgery with Optegra, your surgeon will see you the following day to assess how things are going. They can address any early indicators of side effects and answer any questions you might have. They can also provide more information about what to look out for. Over the following months, you will then have more follow-up appointments to check on progress.
In most cases lens replacement surgery is very successful, with few adverse side effects. But in the rare cases when there are complications, we’re here to deal with them as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you feel any pain or experience loss of vision at any point, please get in touch with us immediately. There is also an out of hours contact number should you have any urgent queries.
To find out more about what to expect and ask any questions you may have about lens replacement surgery, come along to an open evening at your nearest hospital, or book a free consultation to find out if the treatment could be right for you.

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