Can a Cataract Come Back after Surgery?

About secondary cataractsAs a top cataract surgeon in Charleston and the nation, Dr. Kerry Solomon fields many questions from potential cataract patients. Among the most commonly asked questions he receives is, “Will my cataract come back after surgery?” The short answer is no, a cataract cannot return after surgery. However, some patients do experience a secondary clouding, which can be easily treated with a simple laser procedure.  

Why Cataracts Cannot Return After Surgery

Cataract eye surgery involves removing the eye’s natural lens that has become clouded with a cataract. The cataract-clouded lens is broken up into pieces and removed with gentle suction from the eye’s clear membrane, known as the lens capsule. In order to access the natural lens, the front portion of the lens capsule must also be removed. The clouded lens is replaced with an artificial IOL, which is precisely positioned into place to restore clear vision. Artificial lenses cannot form cataracts, which means a cataract cannot grow back.

What Is a “Secondary Cataract ”?

With that said, some people who have cataract surgery experience posterior capsule opacification (PCO), which is commonly referred to as a “secondary cataract”.  This occurs when the remaining back portion of the lens capsule becomes clouded, creating hazy vision. Other symptoms  include sensitivity to light, glare and decreased visual acuity. PCO can occur months or years after cataract surgery.

How Is PCO  Treated?

The good news is that PCO  can be corrected during a quick, outpatient procedure known as posterior capsulotomy, or YAG. During the procedure, Dr. Solomon will use a laser to create a tiny opening in the center of the lens capsule. This allows light to enter the eye, improving cloudy vision. Posterior capsulotomy is a safe and virtually painless procedure; Dr. Solomon will numb the eyes using anesthetic eye drops to ensure your comfort. Downtime is minimal. Most patients are able to resume normal activities almost immediately and notice an improvement in vision within one to two days after the procedure.

To learn more about cataract surgery or  posterior capsulotomy, please schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Solomon, where he can go into further detail and answer any questions you may have . To schedule your consultation, please call (843) 881-3937 or fill out our contact form online.

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