Can metal debris from hip implants cause cataracts to form?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 26, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

had metal on metal hip implants in 2010..started having vision problems about 6 mths later..went to eye dr and i have cataracts forming in both eyes and atrophy of rt optic nerve..could these problems possibly be coming from the meatl debris from the implants

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Cataracts develop for a number of reasons, including life long exposure to UV light from the sun, radiation exposure, chronic diseases (like high blood pressure), old age, eye trauma, or medications (like steroids). Atropy of the optic nerve is generally caused by trauma, infection, tumors, or blood flow problems to the nerve. I take care of many patients with hip replacements (new and old), and I have never seen any warnings regarding metal hips causing eye problems.

I think that it is much more likely that you developed these eye issues due to older age, your other health conditions, and sun exposure. However, you could always ask your eye doctor for their opinion.