Can Cataracts Come Back After Cataract Surgery? | Shepherd Eye Center

Can Cataracts Come Back After Cataract Surgery?

If you have had your vision restored with cataract surgery, you may find you have a new appreciation for the importance of clear vision! Once you can see clearly again, you may wonder if you will ever experience blurry vision from cataracts again.

Keep reading to learn if cataracts can come back after cataract surgery!

What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is the only completely effective treatment for cataracts. Since everyone will eventually develop cataracts, cataract surgery is one of the most common eye procedures worldwide.

During cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, also known as an IOL. Because it is artificial, the replacement IOL will never develop the protein break down and clumping that causes cataracts, completely preventing your cataracts from ever coming back.

But while cataract surgery completely eliminates cataracts, some people do experience a recurrence of the cloudy, blurry vision that is characteristic of cataracts. Often, these symptoms do not show up until months, or even years, after successful cataract surgery.

However, the cause of these symptoms is not the return of cataracts. Cloudy vision that occurs after cataract surgery is most often caused by a condition called posterior capsular opacification (PCO) which is often known as secondary cataracts.

What is Posterior Capsular Opacification?

During cataract surgery, the replacement IOL is implanted in the eye’s natural lens capsule or posterior capsular. This thin, transparent membrane, which once held the natural lens, is kept intact to hold the new IOL in place.

PCO is caused when a layer of scar-like tissue forms on the back of the lens. When it thickens, it can become cloudy, producing symptoms very similar to cataracts.

The return of cataract-like symptoms is understandably upsetting for a patient who has had the clarity of their vision restored with cataract surgery. Thankfully, there is a fast and effective treatment for PCO.

How is Posterior Capsular Opacification Treated?

Posterior capsulotomy, the treatment procedure for PCO, is relatively quick and comfortable. Most of the time, PCO treatment is done right in your eye doctor’s office, usually in a single appointment.

During PCO treatment, a special laser is used to remove the scar tissue. This allows light previously blocked by the scar tissue on the lens capsule to freely pass onto the retina, restoring normal vision function.

After the treatment, your vision should be fully restored. Most people who undergo PCO treatment are able to return to their regular activities immediately.

Can you Prevent Posterior Capsular Opacification?

The best ways to prevent developing PCO after cataract surgery are by choosing a knowledgeable and skilled cataract surgeon as well as by choosing a high-quality artificial IOL. Studies by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the National Institutes of Health have shown that expertise with the latest surgical techniques and advanced IOLs can lower a patient’s risk of PCO.

While cataracts cannot come back following cataract surgery, developing PCO can compromise the clarity of your vision with cataract-like symptoms. Like cataract surgery, effective treatment of PCO can restore the quality of your vision.

Are you experiencing cataract symptoms? Schedule an appointment at Shepherd Eye Center at one of our 5 locations in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, today!

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