September 26, 2019

Is It True That Cataracts Come Back?

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Read the full NZ Herald article here

Dealing with cataract symptoms can be debilitating for some. Not to mention the idea of needing surgery to overcome them can be intimidating! Here at Re:Vision, we understand what it’s like looking down the barrel of getting eye surgery. After all, we see it all the time. For many, it’s the first surgery they’ve ever had, and likely ever will.

One concern that’s raised fairly frequently is the worry that cataracts may grow back after surgery. This probably arises from general anxiety around medical procedures, and an aversion to the idea of going through it twice.

But do cataracts come back once dealt with? Read on to find out.

Can cataracts develop a second time?

The short answer is no, they can’t. But there is a little more to it than that. 

To start with, cataracts can’t grow back, because thye don’t really ‘grow’ in the first place. A lot of people think that cataracts are a film that grows over your eye, as this is what it can appear like from the patient’s point of view. In truth, cataracts are a natural clouding of the existing lens in your eye. Cataract surgery removes this lens and replaces it with a manufactured one—virtually the same procedure as a refractive lens exchange—so the new lens is actually incapable of developing cataracts again.

But something similar to a cataract can happen. Many people call these after-cataracts, but in the medical world we usually call it a Posterior Capsular Opacity.

How is Posterior Capsular Opacity different to cataracts?

To explain what a Posterior Capsular Opacity is, we have to explain a little about how the human eye works. The lens that clouds over as you age is located behind the pupil and iris, which is inside of a thin membrane that we call a capsule.

This capsule exists to keep the lens in place. When we replace the lens that has clouded, the front of the capsule is removed, but the back of the capsule is left in place to secure the new lens. 

Occasionally, the back of this capsule can fog over after cataract surgery. So, an entirely different part of the eye is being affected, but the symptoms are very similar.

What can I do about it?

The foggy capsule can actually be polished clean with a laser. This is called a YAG Laser Posterior Capsulotomy, and it’s a quick, easy and non-invasive procedure. 

Overall, your chances of developing Posterior Capsular Opacity are fairly low, and most people who undergo cataract treatment don’t experience similar vision issues again.


See clearly today!


Are you dealing with cataracts? Talk to our doctors today, and book your consultation! Don’t wait any longer, talk to us and we’ll help you see how bright the future really is.

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Mt Wellington
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