Do cataracts grow back again after cataract surgery?
You have been diagnosed with a cataract. You may encounter a distorted or blurred vision, or the colors may appear less vivid. Some people have described it as looking through a foggy or dirty car windshield. This is because a cataract is essentially a clouding of the lens of the eye.
Luckily, cataract surgery is successful in fixing this problem. During surgery, the eye lens that has become cloudy is removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or an IOL lens.
Cataracts are not growing back. Maybe you’re curious, will the cataract grow back after surgery? The response to that is no. Cataracts are not growing back. The cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The cloudy lens is removed during cataract surgery. Artificial lenses are not cataracts.
The reason people believe their cataract has returned is that the signs of cataract and a cloudy capsule are somewhat close. They are blurred vision at a distance and close to what usually happens gradually. Often so steadily you don’t even realize it at all. That’s one of the reasons why we still suggest eye exams every year. We want to make sure we’re doing whatever we can to help you keep your vision going.
Cataracts of secondary significance. While cataracts do not grow back, it is not rare for a few months (or years) after cataract surgery to find blurred vision close to what you had with the initial cataract. Luckily, this is not a recurrence of a cataract, and it is a disease that is easily handled. It is called posterior capsular opacification, more generally referred to as “secondary cataract.”
There is a tiny bag called the “capsule” that once enclosed the natural lens and held it in place. The new lens is normally inserted inside the capsule during cataract surgery. Often the back or back of the capsule can become cloudy or “opacified.”
Since vision may become blurred again after cataract surgery, it may feel like the cataract has returned, but that’s not the case.
About 25 % of patients develop a secondary cataract. Luckily, it is easily treated with a simple laser treatment that is normally done in the doctor’s office. Using a laser beam, the doctor will create a small opening in the cloudy capsule to allow light to pass through. This is a painless procedure that typically takes less than five minutes to perform. The procedure to remedy this is called the capsulotomy of the YAG laser. Most patients undergo enhanced vision immediately, while others undergo incremental progress over a few days.