Intraocular Lens (IOL) & Cataract Complications

Back to RASU Services

What is a Complicated Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, varying in degree from slight to complete opacity and obstructing the passage of light. Early in the development of age-related cataract the power of the lens may be increased, causing near-sightedness (myopia), and the gradual yellowing and opacification of the lens may reduce the perception of true color. Cataracts typically progress slowly to cause vision loss and are potentially blinding if untreated. The condition usually affects both eyes, but almost always one eye is affected earlier than the other.
A senile cataract, occurring in the elderly, is characterized by an initial opacity in the lens, subsequent swelling of the lens and final shrinkage with complete loss of transparency.  Moreover, with time the cataract cortex liquefies to form a milky white fluid in a Morgagnian cataract, which can cause severe inflammation if the lens capsule ruptures and leaks. Untreated, the cataract can cause phacomorphic glaucoma. Very advanced cataracts with weak zonules are liable to dislocation anteriorly or posteriorly. Such spontaneous posterior dislocations (akin to the historical surgical procedure of couching) in ancient times were regarded as a blessing from the heavens, because some perception of light was restored in the cataractous patients.
Occasionally, cataracts can develop or occur that are not able to be removed with conventional methods.  Your doctor is in the best position to determine what type of surgery you will need to have your cataracts removed and will refer to the services of RASU when appropriate.  In addition, every ophthalmic surgery has a risk, benefit, alternative, and a complication.  With cataracts, a number of untoward events can occur at the time of surgical removal and even years afterward.  A retina specialist is often required to diagnose and treat complications that can arise from cataracts and cataract surgery.