Why do I see wavy lines after cataract surgery?
Dr Rajeev Raut Eye Clinic Raut Eye Care

The appearance of wavy lines after cataract surgery is a common post-surgery side effect that troubles most eye patients. Though the success ratio of cataract removal surgery is overall satisfactory, the post-operative experiences, such as seeing wavy lines, trigger fear and discomfort among patients and their families. If your dear or near ones are also experiencing such post-surgery visual discomforts, then this article can be your ultimate guide to verified information.

Reviewed by
Dr Bhargav Raut
Updated on Dec 11  •  2 mins read
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Possible causes of seeing wavy lines after cataract surgery

Possible causes of seeing wavy lines after cataract surgery
There are many reasons behind such a usual phenomenon after undergoing a cataract
surgery. These discomforts such as wavy lines, blurry vision, and haziness persist for some
days or even a couple of months after surgery.  

The possible reasons are neural adaptations (brain adjusting with the new lens), presence of
Epiretinal membrane, and reduction in contrast sensitivity, which are common in patients
with multifocal intraocular lens (IOL). All these post-cataract surgery symptoms are termed
as dysphotopsia.

However, 3 major factors contributing to the wavy vision are as follows:

1. Cystoid Macular Edema involves swelling of the centre of the retina known as the
macula. This mostly happens after cataract removal, which is a post-operative
inflammation. This causes the blood vessels in the macula to swell and leak fluid,
making straight lines appear wavy

2. Dislocation of the Intraocular lens that you have surgically placed can lead to such
vision distortion

3. Retinal detachment, as just after the cataract surgery the tissue from the surrounding
sides of the retina pulls away from it. The retinal tissue is responsible for processing
the light.

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Why is cataract surgery done and what is the success ratio?

Cataracts generally develop with ageing. Most ageing lenses suffer this vision discomfort; as
the eye protein starts to break down and clump to form cloudy patches on the lens. This
cloudy formation on the lens weakens the vision of the patient and may even lead to
permanent blindness on delay or mere ignorance.

To relieve the patient from this vision discomfort, ophthalmologists perform cataract surgery,
which hardly takes an hour. In this painless process, an ophthalmologist replaces the cloudy
natural lens with an artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL). While maximum cases
lead to successful outcomes, very less complain about seeing wavy lines after cataract

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Doctor’s perspective on the appearance of wavy lines post cataract removal

According to experienced ophthalmologists, these usual vision distortions are a part of the
recovery process. Before jumping to a conclusion, patients and their family needs to hear
from other patients with similar post-surgical vision discomforts to stay informed and
confident. Besides, patients are also advised of some must-follow precautions and
guidelines to speed up the healing process, which includes changes in diet, medication, and

Remember, eye care is not just a post-surgical ritual for a few days or months. One must
adopt certain precautionary measures, as prescribed by the doctor, and go for regular eye
check-ups to ensure optimal protection and problem-free healing.

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Wrapping up:

Seeing wavy lines after cataract surgery is common which cures with time. Most patients
even gain clear vision within an hour or a day right after the cataract removal procedure. In
case you are experiencing vision distortions along with pain, don’t delay in consulting a
doctor to prevent further deterioration. Hope you found this piece of information insightful.
Stay tuned for more such feeds.

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Article Reviewed by Dr Bhargav Raut

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Khushboo Jain 2022-09-01
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Absolutely love how understanding Dr. Kumud Raut is. The only place where I have not been told about only the process of getting a surgery, but rather they insist on educating about how the eye functions and the importance of having a healthy eye before any surgery.
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