Results vs risksof surgery

Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the world.


Cataract surgery is usually very effective. Most people notice improved vision soon after surgery, although it may stay blurry for several days.

After cataract surgery, you may have to wear glasses or contact lenses for near or distance vision, depending on the lens implant you and your surgeon decide on. After 1 – 2 weeks, and the go-ahead from your doctor, your vision should be good enough for driving.


Cataract surgery is one of the safest surgical procedures and has high success rates. Rarely, complications can cause vision loss or blindness. The rate of complications is low unless you have another disease in your eye, in which case it might be higher.

Complications include:

  • infection or haemorrhage risk is approximately 1 in 5,000 
  • persistent swelling of the front of your eye (the cornea)
  • damage to the delicate bag (the lens capsule) that holds your lens (risk is 1 in 100) 
  • part of the cataract can drop into the back part of your eye (risk is 1 in 200) 
  • movement or displacement of the lens implant 
  • increased eye pressure (glaucoma)
  • persistent inflammation of the eye
  • swelling of the retina at the back of your eye may occur 2 weeks after surgery (risk is 1 in 200 and is higher in patients who have diabetes or other eye conditions) 
  • detachment of your retina
  • worsening of a pre-existing eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy.

All these complications are rare but some may require further surgery, straight away or at a later date. For this reason, your ophthalmologist will want to follow you up closely after surgery.

If you experience any of the following symptoms in the hours or days after your cataract surgery contact your ophthalmologist:

  • increasing pain and/or sensitivity to bright lights
  • increasing redness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • worsening vision
  • objects floating past your vision or flashing lights in your field of vision.

Choosing a specialist

How to find an ophthalmologist who specialises in your surgery.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.