A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural crystalline lens. When left untreated, this extremely common visual condition will eventually lead to a complete loss of vision. The only way to treat cataracts is to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial one. Known as intraocular lenses or IOLs, these lenses are immune to future cataracts. However, a complication that mimics the symptoms of cataracts, known as posterior capsular opacification, can occur after cataract surgery. Expert treatment is required to attain clear vision.

If you are experiencing symptoms similar to cataracts following the placement of an IOL and believe it could be posterior capsular opacification, San Diego trusts the team at California Retina Associates to treat it. Please contact California Retina Associates today and request an appointment by calling (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755.

What Causes a “Secondary Cataract?”

Posterior capsular opacification is often called “secondary cataract,” although it is not a clouding of the eye’s lens. Instead, this condition occurs when the thin, clear membrane that previously held the natural lens in place and now houses the artificial lens becomes thick, which means that les light is able to travel through the retina in the back of the eye. This membrane is left behind in cataract surgery to hold the IOL in place, and can become cloudy over time.

Secondary cataract occurs in approximately 35 percent of cataract surgery patients. It can happen within weeks of cataract surgery or years later.

Symptoms of Posterior Capsular Opacification

Symptoms of posterior capsular opacification are similar to those of a cataract, and can include the following:

  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Increased glare around lights
  • Gradual decrease of vision

These symptoms may make it difficult to read, drive or see near objects that were clear after cataract surgery.

If you have undergone cataract surgery and are experiencing any of these symptoms, our experienced eye doctors can determine if posterior capsular opacification is the cause and provide you with swift and effective treatment.

Treating Posterior Capsular Opacification

Secondary cataracts can be easily treated with a laser procedure called a YAG posterior capsulotomy. During this laser eye surgery, a small opening is made in the center of the lens capsule, allowing light to enter unobstructed and eliminating vision difficulties. YAG treatment is both painless and incredibly fast (less than 15 minutes), and can be performed in an outpatient setting. It provides almost instant restoration of vision. Some patients experience floaters after YAG laser surgery, but the floaters eventually are absorbed or settle at the bottom of the eye. Normally patients that have YAG treatment do not experience long-term problems with vision.

Because there is no incision, complications following YAG treatment are very rare. The risks can be discussed with you in greater detail during your secondary cataract treatment at one of our San Diego-area offices.

Discuss Secondary Cataracts with Our Team

To schedule a consultation to discuss secondary cataract or posterior capsular opacification treatment in San Diego with one of our eye surgeons, please call or email California Retina Associates today.