Cataract surgery has evolved recently along with the development of intraocular lenses. With this evolution of intraocular lenses from anterior chamber and iris-fixated lenses to more modern foldable posterior intraocular lenses has come an evolution in the complications that necessitate removal of the intraocular lens. Early generations of anterior chamber and iris-fixated intraocular lenses often had severe complications associated with them, such as pseudophakic bullous keratopathy, uveitis-glaucoma-hyphema syndrome, and chronic cystoid macular edema. With modern foldable intraocular lenses, decentration-dislocation and incorrect lens power, and glare and optical aberrations are leading indications for explantation. Some complications appear to be unique to particular styles of modern intraocular lenses, with incidence of glare and optical aberrations increasing, especially in acrylic and multifocal intraocular lenses. The clinical outcomes after an intraocular lens explantation or exchange have also improved markedly with the advent of modern foldable intraocular lenses. Postoperative visual acuity results are dependent on the preoperative complications associated with the explanted intraocular lens. Final visual results after exchange of modern foldable intraocular lenses have been uniformly good. This is probably because of fewer severe complications that lead to explantation of the intraocular lens.