Can You Get Cataracts After Cataract Surgery?

Becoming aware of a cataract in your eye (or eyes) is understandably not a very pleasant revelation. Your vision has likely already become impaired and you may find that you have difficulty performing everyday tasks such as reading and driving. Yet, the prospect of having surgery on your eyes can also be just as daunting. So, you would like to be certain that you’ll only need treatment once, right?

No one wants to have a cataract removed from their eye just to find that a few years later, it has come back! But is this even possible? Can you get cataracts after Cataract Surgery?

What are Cataracts?

The first thing you should know is that cataracts are a completely normal part of the ageing process. They begin to develop as the proteins in the lenses of our eyes break down and clump together. This clumping eventually forms the cloudy obstructions that we all know as cataracts. While they can take years to develop, cataracts can eventually cause significant vision impairment and even blindness.

For this reason, it is important that treatment is carried out in a timely manner. While surgery is not a pleasant prospect in any situation – particularly when it comes to something as precious and sensitive as our eyes – Cataract Surgery is the only solution to cataracts. So how does it work?

How Does Cataract Surgery Work?

During Cataract Surgery, your surgeon will create a small incision on the surface of the eye. Through this incision, an ultrasound probe is inserted to break down the cataract which can then be removed. The natural cataract-affected lens is then replaced with a clear artificial one, known as an intraocular lens (IOL).

While it might sound a little gory, Cataract Surgery is actually a minimally invasive minor procedure that doesn’t require any recovery time in the hospital. In fact, treatment typically takes under an hour and patients are usually able to return home in just a matter of hours. It can take a few weeks to a few months for your vision to reach optimum quality, but the vast majority of patients are extremely satisfied with the results.

But perhaps the biggest benefit of Cataract Surgery is that cataracts cannot come back.

That’s right. Once you have had a cataract removed, a new cataract cannot form in the treated eye again. As Cataract Surgery involves completely removing the eye’s natural lens, it is not possible for a cataract to re-form; proteins simply cannot clump together inside the new artificial lens.

However, some patients may experience some clouding in their treated eye after the procedure. The good news is that this is not a cataract. The bad news, however, is that treatment may be needed to resolve the problem. But what causes this cloudiness?

What is Posterior Capsule Opacification and how is it treated?

Posterior Capsule Opacification (POC) – also often called a “secondary cataract” – occurs when cells remain after your Cataract Surgery. This can cause the lens capsule (which holds the lens) to become cloudy. This can occur months or even years after your cataract treatment and is estimated to affect around 25% of cataract patients.

Despite its nickname, it’s important to remember that this cloudiness is not a cataract and, thankfully, it is easily treated. The solution to POC is a simple laser procedure called YAG Capsulotomy.

This low-risk, minimally invasive procedure involves creating a small hole in the back of the lens capsule using a high-precision laser. This small hole allows light to be effectively refracted into the eye once again, restoring your vision.

Like Cataract Surgery and Laser Eye Surgery, YAG Capsulotomy is an outpatient procedure. It is usually completed in a matter of minutes and recovery is exceptionally speedy. Furthermore, complications are rare, so the vast majority of patients are back to enjoying better vision in just a few hours!

If you’d like to learn more about Cataract Surgery at London Vision Clinic, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators today. Alternatively, Book a Consultation to start your journey to clear, cataract-free vision.