A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Can Cataracts Come Back After Surgery?

by Damion Wasylow 27 October 2020 00:48 AM

attractive retired couple smiling in the country
To effectively answer whether a patient can develop cataracts again after a successful cataract removal surgery, we must first understand what cataracts are, how they develop and how cataract surgery works.

A cataract is the clouding of the eye due to the breakdown and subsequent clumping together of naturally occurring proteins within the eye lens. The lens becomes hazy, preventing light from being properly focused onto the retina, resulting in cloudy or blurred vision. A patient may also experience double vision, light sensitivity, glare, halos and/or color distortion.

Cataracts most often occur as a natural result of aging. By age 80, 50% of people have some level of cataract development. Injuries, genetics, sunlight, alcohol, smoking and certain medications can also be contributing factors.

During cataract removal surgery, the cataract-damaged lens is completely removed from the eye and replaced with an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens implant. This new artificial lens cannot develop a cataract. That means the patient will never have a cataract in that eye again. If surgery is successfully performed on both eyes, the patient is guaranteed to remain cataract free for life.

Some people confuse “secondary cataracts” for the return of cataracts, but they are not the same. Secondary cataracts, also known as posterior capsule opacification, sometimes develop months or years after cataract surgery, as a side effect of the procedure.

With secondary cataracts, it’s not the eye lens that becomes clouded, rather it’s the thin membrane called the eye capsule that holds the lens in place. Clumping proteins on the back side of the capsule create a thin layer of scar-like tissue, producing symptoms very similar to cataracts. This occurs in up to 20% of patients who undergo cataract removal surgery.

Thankfully, treating secondary cataracts is relatively simple and completely painless, requiring just one in-office appointment. During the appointment, the ophthalmologist uses a specialized laser to make a small opening in the back side of the lens capsule. This allows lights to once again pass uninhibited to the retina, restoring normal vision function. After this correction, secondary cataracts are highly unlikely to ever require additional treatment.

If you’re considering cataract surgery, or believe you may be experiencing secondary cataracts, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300. Our experts can answer any questions you may have and will gladly schedule a consultation to discuss your specific vision needs.



Comments (0)

Blog Links