Retinal detachment – Can cataract surgery cause retinal detachment?

Retinal detachment occurs when fluid in your eye starts to leak through small tears in your retina. This causes the retina to detach from its usual position at the back of your eye. If you experience retinal detachment, it may seem like a curtain has fallen across your affected eye, making your vision go black. Retinal detachment can occur in people who have never had eye surgery before – particularly people who are extremely short-sighted. 

Studies have found that retinal detachment is twice as likely to occur in people who have had cataract surgery. Approximately 1.5% of people who have cataract surgery suffer from retinal detachment following their surgery*. 

Patients who are male, younger, or patients whose eyeballs have longer axial lengths are more at risk. 

Surgical complications (which are exceedingly rare during cataract surgery) can also increase the risk of a patient suffering retinal detachment*. 

If you have had cataract surgery and experience a ‘curtain’ blocking your vision, new floating spots in your vision, or flashes of light across your vision, this could indicate that you have suffered retinal detachment and you should contact your optician immediately. 

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