after-cataract

This is a cloudy membrane that forms on the back surface of an implant lens inside the eye after cataract surgery.  This opacity can form months or years after a successful cataract operation and can cause blur and glare symptoms (similar to the original cataract).  These “after cataracts” are not a complication from cataract surgery, but rather a continued proliferation of tissue inside the eye (similar to scar tissue).  After-cataracts are easy to treat with a laser.  A YAG capsulotomy can be performed to create a hole through the opaque membrane. This is a simple, painless procedure, and once performed the “after cataract” does not typically reoccur.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

1 COMMENT

  1. This condition is also called a “posterior capsular opacification” (PCO) or “opacification of the posterior capsule” (OPC).

    After cataracts are extremely common after surgery. New implant designs have decreased the rate of formation, however. By making the back edge of the implant optic have a sharper edge, this is supposed to theoretically decrease the migration of lens epithelial cells along the posterior capsule.

    During cataract surgery, I typically spend some time “polishing” the inner capsule in an attempt to decrease the number of left-over epithelial cells. I’m not sure how effective this really is, but I do it anyway in case this decreases the need for a future YAG.

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