Cataract surgery restores clear vision by replacing your natural lens where the cataract is with an artificial intraocular lens or IOL. Although cataracts can’t grow back on this synthetic lens, you might develop posterior capsular opacification, also called PCO, after cataract removal.
Although PCO can present similar symptoms to cataracts, the procedure to remove PCO is not the same as cataract surgery. Keep reading to learn more about PCO and if you can have cataract surgery twice!
Blurry Vision After Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful procedures and is performed with a low risk of complications. Sometimes, people think their cataract has returned if they notice a decline in their vision after cataract removal.
The vision changes you experience due to PCO can happen in weeks, months, or even years following your cataract procedure. The vision changes are also often accompanied by symptoms similar to cataracts.
What Is Posterior Capsular Opacification?
To better understand PCO, also known as secondary cataract, you should first know what happens inside your eye. Your eye’s natural lens is encapsulated in a thin, transparent membrane called a capsule.
The capsule membrane keeps your natural lens in the proper position. As you age, protein can build up on your lens, which causes cataracts to form.
These protein deposits clump together and can block light from reaching the retina. The lens must be removed and replaced with an artificial lens to restore your vision.
During cataract surgery, your surgeon removes the front part of the capsule to reach the cataract. The back side is left intact to support the new IOL.
For some patients, this back part of their capsule starts to thicken or opacify after the procedure when scar tissue forms on the capsular bag. The scar tissue prevents light from passing through to the retina at the back of your eye, causing blurry vision and other symptoms.
This is known as posterior capsular opacification. Even though the symptoms of PCO are similar to cataract symptoms, it’s not a cataract.
PCO symptoms include:
- Cloudy vision
- Halos and glares
- Poor night vision
- Double vision
- Increased light sensitivity
Posterior Capsular Opacification Treatment
Luckily, a quick laser treatment can remove PCO and reduce your symptoms. The laser treatment is called a YAG laser capsulotomy.
During this procedure, your eye doctor uses a laser to remove the scar tissue. YAG laser capsulotomy is a non-invasive procedure often done in-office.
The treatment takes about five minutes to complete and has zero downtime. Your vision will likely improve almost immediately after the procedure.
However, it can take a couple of days for your eyes to adjust. After YAG laser treatment, it is very rare for PCO to return.
Get Back to Enjoying Crisp, Sharp Vision
If you’ve had cataract surgery and are now experiencing cataract symptoms, you might have PCO. The experienced doctors at VisionFirst Eye Center can accurately determine if you have secondary cataracts and provide effective treatment to ensure you see clearly again in no time.
Are you experiencing symptoms of posterior capsular opacification? Schedule your appointment at VisionFirst Eye Center in Birmingham, AL, today.