What are the risks of IOL implantation?

Alan J. Margolis, MD
The risks of intraocular lens implantation associated with cataract surgery are quite low in today's era of cataract surgery.  An intraocular lens is typically placed in a patient's eye once the cataract has been removed.  Modern intraocular lenses are made of typically biocompatible materials, such as acrylic, silicone, and Collamer.  Once placed in the eye, the lenses are usually quite stable with respect to their position.  In the short term, the risk of IOL implantation is that the vision will not be perfectly corrected to the targeted level of prescription.  Usually vision is correctable to excellent levels with the help of an eye glass or contact lens prescription after surgery.  Some people choose to have laser vision correction to further decrease their spectacle dependence.  Over time, the position of the intraocular lens can shift within the eye.  This is an exceedingly rare occurrence, but when it does happen, the lenses can usually be repositioned or exchanged with the resulting improvement of functionality.  
Intraocular lens implantation is the current state of the art in cataract surgery and has allowed us to help patients function with excellent independence and quality of vision in the overwhelming majority of cases.  Please do discuss this in detail with your ophthalmologist as you explore the options related to cataract surgery.

The success rate of cataract surgery with an IOL implant is excellent, resulting in improved vision in the majority of patients. A small number of patients may have problems, though they may not be caused by the IOL itself. Complications following cataract surgery may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling of the cornea
  • Detachment of the retina
  • Damage to the iris or pupil

Be sure to discuss potential complications with your ophthalmologist before surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.