After successful cataract surgery, cataracts will not return. There is a condition known as secondary cataracts that is often confused with the return of cataracts after surgery, but they are not the same. To better understand the difference, it is important to know what cataracts are, how they develop and the outcome of cataract surgery.
Cataracts develop slowly, creating a cloudiness over the lens of the eye causing blurry vision. Proteins in the lens break down causing vision problems. When this happens, the clear lens of the eye becomes hazy preventing light from focusing properly on the retina. Cataract symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, sensitivity to light, difficulty seeing at night and bright colors that now appear as faded or yellow. Cataracts are diagnosed by an ophthalmologist with a comprehensive eye exam that includes dilation. Testing options include slit lamp exam, retinal imaging, refraction tests and visual acuity tests. Cataracts develop most often due to age but family history, certain medical conditions, smoking, UV exposure, corticosteroid usage or eye injury or trauma can cause cataracts.
During cataract surgery, the surgeon will remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant. This new artificial lens cannot develop cataracts. With a successful surgery, a patient will never again have a cataract in that eye. With secondary cataracts, also known as posterior capsule opacification, it is not that the lens becomes cloudy but rather proteins clump on to the back side of the thin membrane called the eye capsule that holds the lens in place. This condition produces very similar symptoms to those of cataracts. Secondary cataracts can develop months or even years after cataract surgery but only affect up to about 20% of patients who undergo cataracts removal surgery. Treatment of secondary cataracts is very simple and pain-free wherein the ophthalmologist uses a specialized laser restoring normal vision by creating a small opening in the back side of the lens capsule allowing light to pass through to the retina. Rarely is additional treatment needed again.
If you are interested in cataract surgery or are concerned you may be experiencing secondary cataracts after cataract removal, our experts can help. Contact Eye Institute of South Jersey, P.C. today and we will be happy to answer your questions and concerns by scheduling a consultation to discuss your specific vision needs. Call 856-205-1100 or book your appointment online here WEBSITE.