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Eye Twitching After Cataract Surgery

written by: AngelicaMD • edited by: dianahardin • updated: 5/24/2011

Cataract surgery is a common surgical procedure performed on over 1.5 million Americans annually. Although it is a simple eye operation done under minimal anesthesia and lasts for a less than an hour, a few temporary complications do occur. Learn more about cataract surgery and eye twitching.

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    Cataract Surgery Complications

    Clouding of the lens of the eyes (cataracts) is a common consequence of aging. Many people by the age of 60 have cataracts beginning to form and, by the age of 80, have one or both eyes already affected with decreased vision. There are also causes of cataracts aside from aging, such as trauma and disease, but they are uncommon.

    Cataract surgery is performed in over 1.5 Americans annually, usually as an out-patient or ambulatory procedure, under minimal anesthesia. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the cloudy lens through a small slit in the cornea, after which an artificial or intraocular lens (IOL) may be inserted to take its place. Some people may have a condition wherein an IOL cannot be inserted, and they may be advised to wear soft contact lenses or high magnification eye glasses.

    Complications from cataract surgery are rare, but they include eye infection, inflammation, bleeding and retinal detachment. More commonly, itching and mild irritation of the eyes occur following surgery. Sensitivity to light and touch may also be experienced. These are often accompanied by tearing and eye twitching.

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    Eye Twitching

    After cataract surgery, eye drops and medications are typically prescribed to prevent infection and decrease eye pain and inflammation. The eye is usually covered with an eye shield, to prevent rubbing or pressing the eye. Eye drops must be applied properly and kept sterile, to prevent eye infection. Complete healing is expected, after about eight weeks.

    Eye twitch is an involuntary movement of the eyelid in reaction to the eye’s exposure to light, infection or anything that causes irritation to the cornea, the outer front surface of the eyeball.

    Rapid blinking or twitching of one or both eyes may occur after cataract surgery, because of dry eyes, inflammation or eye pain. Medications to relieve these symptoms will often decrease excessive blinking; however, eye drops themselves may cause a temporary stinging sensation on the eye surface.

    The eye is also more sensitive to light (photophobia) after surgery. Because of this, eyelid spasms or constant blinking may occur. Photophobia may be relieved by wearing dark glasses, to protect the eye from bright light.

    The patient may see floaters after cataract surgery. These are black worm-like specks or spider webs that float in the patient’s vision whenever he looks to the left or right. These can be very disturbing and may bring about blinking tendencies. The occurance of floaters is normal and they may disappear in time; however, if they persists or become greater in number and size, accompanied by light flashes, the patient must seek the help of an ophthalmologist, because this is a symptom of a severe eye condition called retinal detachment.

    Eye twitching may also be a manifestation of anxiety, stress or fatigue after surgery. This is often a temporary condition and may be relieved by rest.

    Eye twitching after cataract surgery is often annoying but temporary. Treatment must be directed towards the source of irritation causing the eye muscle spasm, and if persistent, clinical consultation with an ophthalmologist must be made.

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    References

    MedicineNet. “Cataracts,” http://www.medicinenet.com/cataracts/page3.htm#treatment.

    Eye Doctor Guide. “After Cataract Surgery,” http://www.eyedoctorguide.com/cataracts/after_cataract_surgery.html.