Question: I recently had cataract surgery in both eyes, have no astigmatism and only use glasses for reading. I had intraocular lenses (IOL) implanted to replace the cloudy lenses in each eye. At my two week visit after the second eye cataract operation the cataract surgeon informed me that I might need some minor surgery because sometimes with these lenses within one to ten years scar tissue may appear. It hasn't yet obviously but it may and it is a simple procedure to take care of it. He never made mention of it earlier and I am just curious about it. It wouldn't have made a difference as I needed the cataract surgery but is this true?
Answer: Cataract Surgery is quite technically complex and really pretty amazing. Most likely what your Cataract Surgeon is referring to is a Cataract Surgery complication called "posterior capsular opacification." This condition is sometimes referred to as a "secondary cataract" or "after cataract" and affects some 30% of patients who have Cataract Surgery. A Cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. Although it might sound funny, the structure of the crystalline lens is like an M&M candy-it has a soft center and is surrounded by a "capsule" or membrane. During a Cataract operation the eye surgeon removes the cloudy soft center and leaves the "capsule" behind often placing the intraocular lens implant (IOL) inside the "capsule" to stabilize and secure it. Over time some patients experience a clouding of the capsule that almost makes it seem as if the Cataract is returning-which isn't possible. The treatment for this condition, "posterior capsular opacification," uses a laser to painlessly create an opening in the capsule to restore vision. This procedure is called a YAG Laser Capsulotomy and is quick, painless, requires only eye drops to numb the eye and instantly improves the vision.
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