Is There Such a Thing as Secondary Cataracts?

  • Posted on: Mar 15 2020
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Cataracts are a condition that describes the progressive clouding of the natural lens of the eye. Globally, millions of people have cataracts. Fortunately, it is a condition that can be reversed with proper care; cataracts do not cause blindness like other eye diseases might. However, vision can become so clouded that it becomes difficult to see well enough to perform normal tasks. At any time that vision is too obscured, a person may choose to have cataract removal surgery.

Cataract removal surgery replaces the clouded natural lens of the eye with an intraocular lens. This artificial lens is made with a biocompatible material and can have features that not only clear clouded vision but also correct certain refractive errors. People who undergo the cataract removal procedure generally expect to see very well for many years after their procedure. In instances where this doesn’t happen, people often think they have what is called a secondary cataract.

The Confusion of Secondary Cataracts

To call clouding vision after cataract removal a “secondary cataract” could be somewhat confusing. Years ago, this term began being used because it is a simpler way of describing posterior capsular opacification (PCO). We want to clarify it here.

During cataract removal surgery, the entire lens of the affected eye is removed. New cataracts do not grow on the artificial lens. The term secondary cataracts does not mean that new protein growth on the intraocular lens has occurred. What happens with posterior capsular opacification is that the membrane of tissue that holds the new lens has accumulated a layer of proteins. It is not the lens that has become cloudy, it is the membrane around it. This is good news because the condition can be easily treated.

Treatment for Posterior Capsular Opacification

Posterior capsular opacification can occur any time after cataract removal surgery. More than half of patients who have cataracts removed never develop secondary cloudiness. Should this situation arise, the eye doctor may use a laser or special instrument to create a small opening at the center of the membrane in front of the new lens. This enables the membrane to continue holding the lens in place but not to obstruct crisp, clear vision.

Roholt Vision Institute proudly serves patients in Alliance, Canfield, North Canton, and surrounding areas. If you are interested in cataract removal surgery, contact an office near you for information about the innovative technologies we use to achieve optimal results from this procedure.

Posted in: Cataract Surgery

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