Can Cataracts Return after Surgery?
Submitted by Dr. Vincent Basilice on July 31, 2018
Each year, approximately 3 million individuals undergo cataract surgery to restore crisp, clear vision and reduce their dependency on eyeglasses. Understandably, many Long Island patients are concerned about whether cataracts, the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, can return after surgery. In this blog post, the experienced team of board certified ophthalmologists at TOC Eye discuss the topic in detail.
Understanding the Cataract Removal Process
Cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s natural lens that has become clouded with a cataract. To do this, the clouded lens is broken up into pieces and then gently suctioned out from the lens capsule. The capsule is a clear membrane that houses the lens. In order to gain full access to the clouded lens, the surgeon will remove a significant amount of the front portion of the capsule. The posterior portion of the capsule is left intact. Once removed, the clouded lens is replaced with a state-of-the-art artificial intraocular lens (IOL), restoring crisp, clear vision. Since artificial IOLs cannot form cataracts, cataracts cannot return.
What Is Capsular Opacification?
This said, it is possible for patients to develop capsular opacification, which is often referred to as a “secondary cataract.” Capsular opacification occurs when the posterior portion of the lens capsule remaining after cataract surgery becomes cloudy, causing blurry vision. Other symptoms include glare, light sensitivity, and halos around lights. Capsular opacification occurs in a small percentage of cataract patients and can occur months or years after cataract surgery.
Capsular opacification can be corrected in a quick and simple in-office procedure, called YAG laser capsulotomy. During the procedure, the surgeon uses a YAG laser to create an opening in the center of the capsule to allow light to enter the eye properly and restore vision. YAG laser capsulotomy is virtually painless and most patients are able to return to their normal activities almost immediately after the procedure.
For more information about cataract surgery or capsular opacification please visit our cataract FAQ section, or schedule an informational consultation with the trusted TOC Eye team. Our board certified eye doctors will be happy to speak with new patients and go into more detail about the symptoms of capsular opacification and treatment. To contact one of our Long Island offices, please call 631-751-2020 today.