Cataract surgery involves removing the eye’s natural lens that has clouded and blurred vision. Once the natural lens is removed, it is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens that restores clear eyesight. After surgery, a cataract cannot return.

That being said, some cataract patients do experience cloudy, blurry vision after surgery. This condition is called posterior capsule opacity but is often referred to as secondary cataracts. The good news is that this condition is highly treatable.

What Causes Posterior Capsule Opacity?

Cataracts form in the lens of the eye, which is removed during cataract surgery. Posterior capsule opacity forms in the posterior portion of the lens capsule, which holds the natural lens in place. The posterior portion of the lens capsule is not removed during surgery. Instead, it is left intact so it can hold the replacement artificial IOL in place. Posterior capsule opacity occurs when lingering epithelial cells from the extracted natural lens attach to the lens capsule, causing it to become hazy or cloudy. Symptoms of posterior capsule opacity include blurry vision, difficulty reading fine print, glare and sensitivity to bright lights.

Some cataract patients confuse the visual symptoms of posterior capsule opacity with those of primary cataracts, so they believe that their cataracts have returned. However, once removed, cataracts cannot “grow back” or redevelop.

Posterior capsule opacity can occur weeks, months or even years after cataract surgery.

Treating Posterior Capsule Opacity

Posterior capsule opacity can be effectively treated through a quick and painless outpatient procedure called laser capsulotomy. During the procedure, the eye doctor dilates the eye with eye drops. He or she then uses a special YAG laser to create tiny holes in the clouded lens capsule to break apart the hazy areas. Laser capsulotomy takes about five minutes to complete. Unlike cataract surgery, it does not require incisions or direct contact with the eye. The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops. Most patients are able to resume all normal activities immediately after treatment. Improvement in vision is usually seen within a day after treatment.

Contact Us Today

To learn more about cataract surgery or laser capsulotomy, please schedule a personal consultation with Clarity Eye Group today.