About three million cataract surgeries are performed in the United States every year, making cataract surgery the most frequently performed surgery in the country. Cataract surgery is also a highly successful procedure—at least 98 percent of cataract patients regain very good vision post-surgery—with few complications.
Most complications from cataract surgery are minor and treatable. Posterior Capsule Opacity (PCO) is one common, yet treatable complication following cataract surgery. The condition is commonly referred to as “secondary cataract,” because it causes clouding of the elastic-like capsular bag that holds the lens of the eye in place. PCO is not a cataract, but the symptoms do mimic cataracts.
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 or difficulty driving because of glare of the sun 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 that causes blurred or hazy vision.
Treating Posterior Capsular Haze
The most effective treatment for PCO is YAG Capsulotomy. During this quick procedure, the pupils are mildly dilated and the YAG laser creates a clear opening in the back of the capsular bag holding the lens implant. This often restores vision back to what it was soon after the original cataract procedure.
It can be understandably frustrating to experience cloudy vision after cataract surgery, but it is a common occurrence and can be treated with a quick, painless YAG laser procedure in your eye doctor’s office.