As people age, cataracts may form and impact vision to the point of needing surgery to remove them. A common concern is whether the cataract will simply come back after the surgery. Fortunately, there is no way for the cataract to return, but vision may be slightly blurry following the surgery still.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract is clouding or opacification of the crystalline lens in the eye. In a young, healthy individual, the crystalline lens is completely clear and has no color or tint to the lens.
With age, the crystalline lens can accumulate debris which makes the lens cloudy or tinted yellow or brown.
This clouding of the lens is a cataract. There is nothing that has caused the cataract to form, and there is nothing that will truly prevent the formation of the cataract.
Treating a Cataract
The only option for treating a cataract is to have the crystalline lens surgically removed and replaced with an artificial lens.
This surgery is a very common procedure and can allow for vision to return to as clear as before the cataract formed.
Since the entire crystalline lens is replaced, the cataract is removed entirely and will not remain following the surgery.
Blurry Vision After Cataract Surgery
There are cases of vision that is not as clear following cataract surgery. This does not mean that the surgery was not successful or that the cataract has returned.
Instead, it is likely that the blurry vision is from the growth of epithelial cells onto the new artificial lens called posterior capsular opacification (PCO).
If the blurry vision resembles the level of blur associated with the cataract, it may be significant enough to require an additional procedure to remove these cells.
What is Posterior Capsular Opacification?
Posterior capsular opacification is a term for the growth of cells and tissue on the back of an artificial lens implant following cataract surgery.
This condition is common and may develop in the weeks, months, or years after cataract surgery.
Usually, posterior capsular opacification is fairly slow to develop and will take a few weeks to get to a noticeable level of blurred vision.
Once the blurred vision is noticed, the term “secondary cataract” is sometimes used as the vision is similar to that of what it was prior to the cataract surgery.
Treating a Posterior Capsular Opacification
The treatment for a posterior capsular opacification is an in-office procedure which uses a specific laser that is designed to break apart the fibrotic tissue holding the cells onto the artificial lens.
This procedure is called a YAG capsulotomy and will not have much, if any, true recovery time.
Following the YAG capsulotomy, there is no risk of recurrence of either the cataract or the posterior capsular opacification.
When to Have a YAG Procedure
Having a YAG capsulotomy is a very painless, easy procedure and it is recommended any time the vision after cataract surgery is not at the goal level of vision.
While any procedure has some associated risks, a YAG capsulotomy has very few risks and very few contraindications when needed.