Cataract surgery is a common procedure with a success rate of 98 percent or higher
and few complications. According to the American Society of Cataract and
Refractive Surgery, 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery every
year. Most of these patients will experience no severe medical fallout
from the procedure, and the majority of cataract complications are minor
Posterior Capsule Opacity (PCO) is one potential condition following cataract
surgery. It is commonly referred to as a “secondary cataract,”
though this is a misnomer. Once your eye doctor removes your cataracts,
they cannot return. PCO is a clouding of the elastic-like capsular bag
that holds the lens of the eye in place.
During cataract surgery, the surgeon carefully opens the front portion
of the capsule to remove the natural lens and replace it with the intraocular
lens. The capsule holds the intraocular lens and serves as a protective
barrier for the back of the eye.
It is not uncommon for cataract patients to have normal vision after healing
from cataract surgery and then experience some blurring, haziness and
difficulty driving because of glare or oncoming headlights in the weeks,
months or even years after surgery. Following cataract surgery, the capsule
that holds the lens of the eye may develop cloudiness causing blurred
or hazy vision. This condition is known as posterior capsular haze and
about 20 percent of cataract patients experience it.
Treatment for Posterior Capsular Haze
YAG Capsulotomy can be used to treat post capsular opacity safely, painlessly
and effectively. The YAG laser looks like an instrument used to examine
your eyes in the doctor’s office. The procedure dilates the eyes
and takes just two to three minutes. The YAG laser makes a new opening
in the back of the capsular bag holding the implant and often restores
vision back to what it was after the original cataract procedure.
Following the YAG procedure, you should experience no pain and will not
have to wear an eye patch or use eye drops, though you may notice some
floaters over the next few days. The floaters should subside with time.
You may resume your normal routine immediately after surgery. Most YAG
Capsulotomy patients notice an instant improvement in their vision, while
others experience a gradual improvement over several days.
If you underwent cataract surgery at least two to three weeks ago and are
experiencing cloudy or hazy vision making it difficult to perform daily tasks,
contact Key-Whitman today for an exam and to discuss the possibility of YAG laser treatment.