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Complications in Cataract Surgery Due to Medical Negligence

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a medical condition wherein the eye lens loses its transparency due to protein clouding. Cataracts are usually detected by ophthalmologist once a person crosses 50 years of age. During the surgery, the natural lens inside the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens also known as intraocular lens or IOL.

This process restores vision lost due to cataract clouding. The entire procedure takes not more than 15 minutes and is an outpatient procedure requiring no admission.

Cataract incidence is expected to grow in the US in the years to come. According to the National Eye Institute, the number of cataract 50.2 million Americans are likely to have cataract by 2050. The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery [ASCRS] reports that every year around 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery.

Risks and complications

Even though cataract surgery is considered to be highly successful today, there are risks and complications that accompany the surgery. Risks include:

  • Intraocular lens detachment leading to substantial decrease in visual acuity
  • Swelling and redness
  • Retinal detachment
  • Retinal swelling
  • Increased ocular pressure
  • Cornea swelling
  • Loss of vision
  • Posterior Capsule Opacity
  • Glaucoma
  • Secondary cataract
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Ptosis - droopy eyelids
  • Infections due to poor hygiene
  • Internal bleeding leading to emergency surgeries

Complications due to cataract are more if there are pre-existing eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and myopia.

The following patients may be at risk of cataract surgery complications:

  • Patients with breathing problems
  • Patients on medication for prostate conditions
  • Patients with problems lying flat


The team of doctors that reviews the patient's history and recommend cataract surgery should be able to assist and support such patients with other medical conditions. Your ophthalmologist should be able to explain the possible risks attached to cataract surgeries. Seek medical attention if you suffer pain, vision loss, redness after a cataract surgery.

Complications due to IOL displacement or misalignment

Complications arise when the IOL is misaligned post-surgery. This could lead to double vision in the concerned eye. Visual acuity decreases as the displacement increases. The protocol involves placing the intraocular lens inside a capsular bag which hitherto contains the natural lens that is clouded by the cataract. The IOL is precisely placed inside the capsular bag.

The bag may sometimes break due to its inherent fragile nature. The bag may also splay due to weak holding fibers. This could lead to dislocation of IOL on the whole. This situation could lead to another procedure wherein the IOL is re-positioned. The lens is sewn or a new kind of lens needs to be implanted.


Medical negligence

The medical technology today is highly advanced and the success rate of cataract surgery is very high. However, human errors, surgical errors, negligence and inadequate medical care, secondary infections due to poor hygiene, could affect vision in the operated eye. If you think your cataract surgery has resulted in loss of vision, contact your attorney to know your legal rights. You have the right to see properly. You should not have sight problems after a routine operation.

If you do not do something about it, someone else could be hurt.

Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff have offices located in Astoria, Queens, New York City, and two locations in Brooklyn. We have all the legal insights and expertise you need. Let us help you win a fantastic settlement for you. Call now for a free consultation: 212 697 9280.

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