Retained Lens Fragments
When cataract pieces (or lens fragments) remain in the eye after surgery, a severe inflammatory reaction can occur that may cause high pressure in the eye, swelling in the center of the retina and cornea, and even potentially permanent visual loss. In these cases, additional surgery is performed by a vitreoretinal surgeon who can safely retrieve the cataract fragments from the back of the eye.
Proper timing of either medical or surgical follow-up care is crucial in providing the best possible outcome from this complication of cataract surgery.
There is no consensus as to when a vitrectomy should be performed, but in general, vitrectomy is performed within 1 to 2 weeks after deciding that medical therapy with eye drops alone is not sufficient to solve the problem. Sometimes, an emergency vitrectomy has to be performed if the pressure in the eye remains very high despite medical therapy.
A vitrectomy is outpatient surgery where the eye’s vitreous gel and remaining lens material are safely removed. The eye is filled at the end of surgery with saline (salt water) solution or a gas bubble, and the operation is typically very successful.
The surgery causes only mild pain and only a small percentage of patients require over-the-counter pain relievers after the procedure. The vision is cloudy following vitrectomy surgery while the eye heals, but gradually improves.
Complications are relatively uncommon after vitrectomy surgery, and include retinal tears or retinal detachment (1 in 100 patients). Infection and bleeding can also occur (about 1 in 2000 patients).
Patients who have vitrectomy surgery are monitored carefully afterward to watch for these potential complications. Most patients who require vitrectomy for retained lens fragments after cataract surgery achieve excellent vision.
Lasik Eye Surgery
7695 Cardinal Court, Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92123
Office: (858) 609-7100
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Office: (760) 631-6144
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